Friday, September 19, 2003

Infant Therapy.....the Sweetest Path to Healing

My friend and coworker, Mary, has two children. Her eldest, is Jeremiah's favorite playmate, although she is a few months younger than he is. and her youngest is three days younger than Elijah would be.

It is a strange set of circumstances, to say the least. We discovered we were pregnant within three weeks of each other, and our babies were due less than two weeks apart. We learned were both having boys the same week. I shared in her joy, while she understood my muted disappointment. It was to be the last child for us both, and Jim and I had both wanted a girl.

Both little boys were born naturally, and both were large babies.But, while her son's birth was routine, Elijah's involved a team of neonatal medical staff, and, ultimately, forceps and life support.

My baby boy died, and Mary's lives. And comes daily to the daycare where we work.

I thought that would be hard. Maybe impossible. I even asked to be kept away from the smallest children, so I didn't have to deal with him directly.

But, somehow, this baby I dreaded meeting has become my favorite. To feel him nestle into my shoulder, to know that I can burp him better than anyone except his mom, to watch him learning to smile and laugh and move seems to be the very best therapy. I cherish him...I can give to him some of the love I wanted to lavish on my own infant.

And it feels good. I don't want him to keep. But he is a connection, this child who was growing in his mother's womb at the same time Elijah was thriving in mine. He is the hope for a happy baby in my future, and a glimpse of what might have been with our lost child.

I have been asked if this is healthy. I think it is. What better to do with the love and attention I had planned to give to my baby? Nurturing someone else is a wonderful way to find solace in a time of grief.

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