I’m getting a pedicure today. I’ve been dreading it. I’m not one to get pedicures often, but I usually get a couple a year. It’s a nice treat- make my toes look nice and I get a little pampering. I’m in a wedding, so I need to look nice. But right now I have little blue nail polish left on one of my big toes. The night before I went into labor one of my midwives came to my hospital room. We ate dinner and gave each other pedicures. She brought the blue nail polish.
I’ve had such mixed feelings about returning to normal. I want to lose the baby weight (5lbs to go) but then the pounds I put on for Mabel will be gone. I want my symphasis to stop hurting when I run, but then the hormones that loosened my pelvis for Mabel will be gone. I want my period to come back, but then the lining that supported Mabel will be gone. This remnant of blue nail polish feels like a last vestige of my pregnancy. I remember those days in the hospital so fondly. They were my last days with Mabel. That blue nail polish is from those days. I’m not ready to let go.
I still have several framed photos of Mabel in my foyer and dining room. They are prominent enough that visitors can’t miss them. At some point I will move them. I know where I will put them- I have a couple shelves filled with family photos- our wedding photos, photos of me as a kid, photos of my parents as kids. Mabel will fit right in. But how will that day ever come? When is the right time to move your dead baby’s photos out of the limelight?
When others acknowledge my grief, they are acknowledging my loss. That I was a mother and I lost the most precious thing a mother can have. When people stop acknowledging my grief, I fear they will stop seeing me as a mother. If I’m not a mother, then Mabel never existed. I need to keep those photos up. They remind others and me that Mabel was real. I have a hopefully unfounded worry that people will think this isn’t a big deal. I still am concerned about people seeing me laugh too hard or smile too much because they will think I am done. I realized now that the reason I’m so afraid people will think I’m done grieving is that it takes away my motherhood.