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It’s been a rough week. I don’t really have enough left in me to write a long confessional today; I feel like I’ve been doing that all week long.

So, instead, I offer you two waka from Ōtomo no Sakanoue no Iratsume, an 8th century Japanese woman and poet. In both poems, she speaks of her daughter.

I.
“More than gems in my comb box shaped by the God of the Sea,
I prize you, my daughter.”

II.
“I gaze out
over the fields of Taketa
and see the cranes that cry there
without interval,
without pause:
such is my longing for you.”

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I mentioned on Friday that I had made one quilt previously. I’m very proud of that quilt. It was the first massive amount of sewing I had ever done, and it was beautiful. It had a chili pepper theme, which worked very well for a Christmas present. I started out having no idea what I was doing, and it came out marvelously.

The black fabric in the middle has red and green chili peppers on it. It was beautiful.

Not long ago, I dreamt that I was pregnant again. Not with Lauren; I knew that at once, and it never came into question. I don’t remember much else about the dreams, only that I was large and round with child. And excited about it. Happy. It was a pleasant dream while it was happening, which was a nice change from the dreams I had been having. But when I woke up, I only felt sad – melancholic. I don’t know why.

I’m not one to analyze my dreams, but since Lauren’s death, they’ve been more poignant. More personal. I’ve always been a lucid dreamer, able to recognize I was dreaming and change things around. Now, I feel helpless to stop things, unable to find the power to change events and steer the course of the dream in the direction I want. Often, I still know I’m dreaming, but that is all. Having woken, the vulnerability stayed with me, followed me through the day and weighing me down until I felt I couldn’t move. Those dreams have lessened but not vanished. I dream every night, but recently, I’ve forgotten them upon waking. This, too, is unusual for me. It’s probably for the best.

For Christmas, my best friend’s daughter made us a dreamcatcher. I’ve hung it next to our bed (not over it, as Mom has one of her puzzles there, and we didn’t want to move anything around).

It’s nice having that over us, a small and simple ward that means much to us. It’s hard for me to say which dreams are good ones. I’d like to dream of Lauren – when I close my eyes to sleep at night, my last thought is always of her – but I never have. She is present only by her absence; I miss her even in my dreams.

It felt so odd to me that I would dream of being pregnant with another child. And most definitely a second child: a boy. I knew without a doubt that I was carrying a boy; we only referred to the baby as a “him.” I never heard his name, it was all pronouns.

The odd thing about dreams is that we can exist in them as ourselves but also observe ourselves from a distant. I experienced everything as myself – but I also saw myself experiencing everything. This observer-me felt much more like the real me, the me who woke up and thought, how could I be so happy without Lauren? how could I be happy carrying another child? But I was happy, and I was happy I was happy.

But why shouldn’t I be happy? Don’t I want to have another child? Don’t I want a rainbow baby in my future?

Yes. But.

Maybe it was the fact that I was now carrying a boy that upset me. Which is odd. Before we knew Lucky’s gender (we found out in the 31st week), I leaned more towards wanting a boy. I never told anyone this because I didn’t think it mattered; I had no control over gender, and we were getting what we were going to get. Even so, I liked the idea of being the only female in the family, of not having to compete with another girl for Geordie’s attention. That probably sounds a bit selfish, but it was true. I gave little thought to having a daughter, though I did think it would be nice to have someone to pass my interests to and to share my favorite things with.

And that is the way my thoughts wandered when we learned Lucky was a girl. I could share so much with her: my passion for words, my love of horses, my interest in cooking. I would buy for her books that I had read as a girl, books that had passed from girl to girl throughout the years – the Laura Ingalls Wilder stories or the Anne of Green Gables series or even the many tales of the Black Stallion. Books that I had loved and that had sent me on the path of story-telling. She would inherit the family recipes, learned by watching and helping me in the kitchen. Once I saw how happy Geordie was about having a daughter, my concerns slipped away. We would be his girls, and I knew already that he would do anything for us and that we would be happy and wonderful.

But now, thinking about a rainbow baby, I don’t know what I want to have. Again, I know I don’t have control over that (current popular ideas about “gender diets” notwithstanding), but of course I think about what it would be like for our rainbow baby to be a girl or a boy. On one hand, a second daughter would be so painful to have, a constant reminder of what was lost to us. But how wonderful it would be to have another daughter to dream about and love!

But then I think, would a son be better? Entirely new dreams and new hopes. Or would it hurt more, for something opposite and new and not the girl we had expected last time?

In the end, it doesn’t matter. I’m not one for trying to interpret my dreams, but I do wonder if it was my subconscious way of telling myself that I can be happy no matter what happens, if  find myself carrying a boy the second time around. What’s important is one thing and one thing only: a living, breathing child to make us whole again. Let it be a boy, let it be a girl – I don’t care. Let me carry my rainbow baby to term, let me give birth safely, let me have a child I can take home. That’s what I want. That’s all I ask.

 

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
– Langston Hughes, “Dreams”

Sara

I am a daughter and a sister, a wife and a friend. I am a reader and a writer, a dreamer and a realist, a teacher and a learner. I am the mother of a baby born sleeping. I am on a journey of healing, walking a path paved with tears and grief and hope.

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