On parenting and loss

KRH with his older brother and sister.

KRH was supposed to have had two siblings.

Let me back up a bit.

My wife and I lost two children to miscarriage in 2015. We lost both of them early enough that we don’t know anything about who they would have been, but we named them Caden and Aerin. Of course, had either of them made it, we certainly wouldn’t have had KRH, and I like him a rather lot so I think my timeline is pretty good.

For my wife and I, 2015 was a pretty dark year. We’d spent a lot of time imaging our life with children (in fact it’s been not at all like we imagined, but that’s a different story) and so the loss of two pregnancies made us confront, for the first time, that this parenting thing simply wasn’t all the fun we’d imagined it to be. Instead, we had to deal with heartbreak and the feeling of failure, and for a while we wondered if it would even happen for us.

We did our best to move on. We made marker stones for each of the two and  grieved as best we could. And we got lucky, and our third pregnancy became KRH. We went into that pregnancy much more anxious and less optimistic than our first ones, and indeed each week was intensely stressful in different ways. But we survived it.

Last weekend, we took KRH out to where we have the marker stones for the first time. I’ve always found visiting them to be very sorrowful, because they represent the loss of a future, however imagined. So to put our smiling baby next to them was an experience that was very somber. We did, in the end, get what we wanted, and I think we are happier and stronger for the experience. And in many ways, having KRH has healed us from the experience of losing the first two, because now that future is becoming real, and before where we had loss, now we have life.

Still, seeing him next to those stones is to imagine something that could have been.

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