We went to visit J. and his wife J. last night and their new baby. We have not seen these friends since well before Aidan died. Actually the last time we saw them was when I was 12 weeks pregnant and we thought things "might" work out. They did not know Aidan's birth story or exactly what he died from. I was initially nervous going over there. I knew it would be a little awkward, and it was...but not unbearably so. I realize that it's hard for them to relate to us because, well, their baby is healthy and happy and sleeping in the next room. But I think they realized it's hard for us to relate to them because, well, our baby is dead and his ashes are sitting on the shelf in our living room.
We both had babies...but that's where the similarity ends.
For example, girl J. described to us what it was like being in labour for 20+ hours and then having an unplanned C-section. I was interested to hear her story, in fact I asked her about it, but I just couldn't relate AT all to what she was saying. The differences of course go beyond the fact that I had a vaginal delivery and she had a C-section. Beyond that I had no epidural and she did. Blow past the fact that I had a ridiculously short labour and hers dragged for hours.
Her delivery ended happily and mine did not.
She was happy and excited going into her C-section. I was terrified both for my baby and myself at my delivery, knowing my baby was not going to live and fearing I might not either.
I realized something last night too. Babies do not bother me. I have nothing against them. I don't mind being around other people's babies. Their baby is not my baby. I miss Aidan...and their baby is not Aidan.
Watching other parents interact with their baby does bother me. A LOT. Watching other parents fuss over their baby and coo at him or her makes my insides shrivel up. The inflection in parents voices when they talk about their babies. The way they interrupt everything they are doing, including conversations, or eating, or peeing, to tend to the baby. The way nothing can command their attention more than the barest squeak from their offspring. The way that gravity no longer seems to bond them to the earth, but to their baby.
I want to be a parent. I wanted to be that for Aidan more than I wanted anything else, ever.
So watching them, I realized that although I am a 'mother' and Brian is a 'father', we are not parents. Mother and Father are biological definitions. We had a child, therefore we fit into that category.
Parenting, however, requires a live child. Parents make decisions for their child. Feed their child. Ensure their child's safety. Read stories to their child. Teach their child. Cuddle their child. Aidan does not need any of these things.
One cannot parent a dead child.
I am not a parent.
Truth # 1: I love babies.
Truth # 2: Can't stand parents.
For those of you who have no living children, can you relate to this at all? For those of you that do, what do you make of this? Do you feel like 'less' of a parent since the death of one of your children?