I’ve often heard people complaining about having their baby’s due date fall on their birthday, a major holiday or even hunting opener. I’ve even heard of people scheduling inductions just to avoid one of these dates. Call me crazy, but I think it’d be fun to share a birthday with a little one. I mean, can we say matching birthday outfits?! And who wouldn’t want their child to be born on Arbor Day, right? I can see where Christmas could be tough for a kid and no one really wants to go through labor when they could be stuffing their face full of holiday goodness. But babies are rarely born on the date they are “due.” Plus, you have a bundle of joy coming into the world, making any day beautiful.
That’s what I thought, at least, until we found out the due date of our second child.
Amid the excitement of seeing our baby dance across the ultrasound while listening to the beautiful melody of his heartbeat, I was taken aback by the due date. And by taken aback I mean I felt like I got punched in the gut and couldn’t catch my breath.
June 9. The day cancer stole my mother. My baby’s due date is the 5th anniversary of her death. I sat there, speechless.
Anyone that has lost a loved one would likely agree that grief is unpredictable. It pops up when you least expect it, and often in the most inopportune times. While yes time heals some wounds, from my experience, it doesn’t heal grief. It just teaches you how to live with it.
Losing my mother was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I still needed my mom at 28. I still need her today. I’ll still need her tomorrow. And all the tomorrows after that. Losing her left me beaten up and angry.
Some days, I’m still angry.
I’m angry that she didn’t walk through the hospital room doors when Finley was born. And I’m angry that she won’t be there for the birth of our son, either. I’m angry that I’ve had to go through pregnancies and becoming a mother without her to guide me. I wasn’t done learning from her. I still have so much left to learn.
And I’m angry for my children. I’m angry that they will never get to see her transform yards of fabric into brilliant Halloween costumes, that they won’t get to have dance parties in the kitchen with her, camp out in the backyard with her, etc., etc., etc. Being a grandmother was her calling. While I’m so glad I got to witness it, it breaks my heart that my children won’t get to experience it.
I’m angry that not only do they have to miss out on my mom’s contagious laugh, her passion for life and her comforting hugs, but my son may also have to share his birthday with the anniversary of her death. How is that even remotely fair?
For those reasons, I haven’t been able to bring myself to tell more than a select few that my due date is June 9. Even though that date means nothing to most, I can’t find the strength to utter it out loud and hearing it said back makes me cringe. Instead, I’ve “changed” it to June 8, June 10 or sometimes just “June.”
While the likelihood of me landing on my due date is slim, there’s still a chance. So as June quickly approaches, I’m left searching for comfort in the ugliest of days, and I often find myself replaying words of wisdom from a dear friend. Well, I think you can know that baby is handpicked by your mom. Megan, that isn’t even a subtle nudge from her. Words that have left me unable to ask my doctor to officially change my due date.
I don’t have my mom, and that will never be OK. I’ve come to expect these constant reminders that she is no longer here and I’ve come to expect moments of grief hitting me at random times of random days during random weeks. But when I found out I was pregnant, I never expected to hear, “your due date is June 9.” Even knowing that my baby would be due in June, I never thought it would be possible that it would fall on that date. How could it? That day is sacred in its own heartbreaking way.
But thanks to an amazing support group of family and friends, I’m reminded that my mom is still with me, that she will always be a part of me and a part of my children. I’m constantly reminded that she is alive through our stories of her, through our love for her and through the way we live our lives. And maybe what I think are moments of grief are actually reminders that she is still helping me navigate key moments of my life. That she’s not done teaching me either. That she truly did handpick this baby for us.
So what’s in a due date? Sometimes a lot more than one may think.
But even if you “change” it, you can’t fully ignore it. After all, a due date can turn into a birth date and if that’s the case, you have to figure out how to turn the negative into a positive. If June 9 does end up being the date our baby enters the world, I will find comfort in knowing that it was the date chosen for him.
And I have no doubt that our beautiful baby boy will remind us of my mom – whether he has her big brown eyes, her massive smile or her zest for life – and I cannot wait to meet him.