When I lay Gabriel Down

I like talking about being pregnant. In spite of the miserable pregnancy I had, I loved being pregnant. In the midst of the constant vomiting, the forgetfulness, the inability to form complete sentences, I was aware that something quietly spectacular was taking place in my body. And I loved it. For once, especially amoung our friends, we were finally welcome. We finally fit into their nice easy world of pregnancy.

I loved the quiet time I had with Gabriel. Talking to him. I remember with such joy the first time he moved. In yoga class, during relaxation. It was the strangest little flutter. It was that first wave hello. And it meant more than the world to me. It was the true start to a relationship that was cut far too short.

But I wonder, as I talk about my pregnancy, should I? In the natural order of things, a pregnancy leads to a baby, who becomes a child, who becomes an adult. In the natural order of things, I would be telling you about Gabriel sitting up and smiling, and starting on solid food. In the natural order of things, we would be comparing toys and talking about BPA in bottles and wondering about what to do over the summer. In the natural order of things, morning sickness and childbirth memories are replaced by smiles and coo's and first words.

Now I lay him down to sleep

I have no memories of a living, robust baby, who rolls over and smiles and waves. Who has milestones like walking and talking to look forward too. There are no next steps for a dead baby, only anniversaries. Remembering conception. Remembering the first movement. Remembering his birth, and his death. Markers of a thing that is finished, whether I want it to be so or not. Memories of where our path together ended.

And so, I find myself struggling. Afraid if I don't speak about Gabriel, other's will forget. It does not seem enough that only Mr. Spit and I should talk about him. But, I can see the reactions of others, of our friends. "Would she just stop talking about him. Would she just leave him in the past. Would she just get on with her life. Would she just get pregnant again. Would she stop expecting us to care about Gabriel, he's gone, done with. Our lives are busy (so often with living children.) We are busy. And the stories, they are the same. And it's so easy to hurt her. And we are busy. "

And pray the Lord his soul to keep

I understand that I must move on. But I'm not sure what I move on too. Other mothers, they will move on to stories about their here babies. My son is in an urn. He sits there. I dust him occasionally. He's not doing anything new, exciting. You can't have a relationship, you can't create memories with an urn. I can't take him places and show him off to people.

I remember the line from an Amnesty International Report. About mothers in Africa whose babies have died. And they don't know what to do, so they carry these babies for days, afraid to put them down. When I lay Gabriel down, I have to rejoin the world of the living. Stifle my hurt and sorrow, and talk about a future. A future that is uncertain and not easy and without Gabriel. A future that I don't quite understand, a future that I can't see more than a step in. And I have to live in this future.
The Angels watch him through this night

Would somebody tell me, how do I do this? Honestly? Do I just not talk about him? Avoid mentioning being pregnant? Avoid mentioning his birth? Compel myself to suck it up and see children and go to baby showers? Hold new babies and close the part of my mind that protests it wants Gabriel? Smile, whether I want too or not? Give up on expecting care and concern from friends, because it has been six months? Live life with the children of others, like they so want me too, forgetting my own child, ignoring the pain that Gabe's death has caused me? Put the past behind me? How do I do that, exactly?
And keep him safe until the new world's light

The world, it has flown past me, and I'm not sure how to join it again. I'm not sure what my place is. We were never made to feel very welcome in the world of children, and now we are totally lost in the world of dead baby. And I need to rejoin this world.