I guess I’m going to take this long-term substitute job that’s come my way.

See how committed I am? “I guess.”

Yesterday, I went in to the school and sat in on a couple of Ms. L’s classes, just to get a chance to talk to her and get a feel for what her kids are like. They’re kids. They’re not terrible kids. She doesn’t let them put any crap over on her, which is good. She has control of the class, not them, which is good. Class dynamic was a major influence on my decision, but I can tell I’ll be coming in to a classroom that’s structured and controlled. So, that makes me more comfortable.

Actually, the hardest part was just being in close proximity to a woman who is heavily pregnant. Ms. L is 38 weeks pregnant. She is at the exact point that I was at when I went to the hospital and learned that Lauren had died. I burst into tears at the sight of her. I had no idea how difficult it would be to not just see a full-term pregnant woman but to come face-to-face with her, to converse with her. Add to it that she’s having a daughter, and that makes it all the worse. I’m planning on going in again next week to spend a whole day with her, which means even more time spent around her. She’s a nice young lady and takes her job seriously – but all I can think about is how pregnant she is and how confident she is in her pregnancy and how so very jealous I am of her.

I’ll admit that straight-up: I’m jealous. I’m not greedy-jealous, but I want what she has. Not just my baby. I want the confidence back, the easy assurance that maternity leave will be just that, not a mourning leave. I can’t stand the idea that she could be sitting there, looking at me, and thinking, It happened to her. But it’s not going to happen to me.

I know better. I thought that way too. Millions have people have thought that way too and still lost their babies. I envy her innocence. It could happen to her.

Horrifying thought. Ms. L is, as I said, a nice young lady. This is her first pregnancy. I don’t want anything to happen to her baby girl. No one deserves that. I may envy her terribly if when her daughter is born alive, but I would never want that taken away from her. Sure, some dark part of me thinks, She’d really understand better if it happens to her. I banish that voice. It has no place in my head. Instead, I think, Let nothing happen to that baby. Let that baby girl be safe and happy, and let this family be untouched by despair.

This is how pregnancy is for me now, for any of the babylost. It’s not a time of joy and enthusiastic expectation. It’s a time of trepidation, of caution, of sheer and unrelentless fear. It’s a time of desperation.

And at the same time, I want to be pregnant. I want to be carrying my rainbow baby, worrying over him, desperate for a healthy, live baby that I can finally bring home. How is it possible for hope and fear to live in such proximity to each other? How can that not drive anyone crazy? I don’t know. I hope someday to find out.

This job is not going to be incredibly easy, but that’s what I expect out of life now. Nothing is easy anymore. But I can look on the bright side. I won’t have to attend any of the staff meetings, endure any of the scrutiny, deal with the daily pressures of school politics. I can just teach. Ms. L has goals for her students, and all I have to do is focus on keeping these kids on track for those goals. For once, I don’t have to worry about anything else but the kids. The way I’ve always wished I could teach.

And it’s short-term. Six to eight weeks. Not long enough to feel trapped but perhaps long enough to help me gain a little confidence in myself, to feel a little better about myself.

It’s a step forward. Perhaps it’s a small step, perhaps it will end up being a big step. I don’t know yet. But I am interested to see where it leads me.