Three little weeks.
A precious baby girl who feeds and sleeps and grows. She is a gorgeous little thing, rarely deviating from the newborn script. She is an (exhausting) joy.
I look at these photos and it occurs to me how lucky we are.
I prayed and prayed for a daughter. Would make jokes about how God didn't love me because I had two sons and wouldn't it be just my luck to end up with a third!
I couldn't fathom a world without a daughter. And as it turned out, I didn't have to. I see now that everything is exactly as it should be. Two incredible sons who have taught me what it is to be a mother. Two beautiful, healthy boys. And now, a daughter. A perfect little girl.
Some people argue the gender of your baby is a trivial concern – "As long as they're healthy, that's all that matters" – and I certainly don't disagree. But despite this, my heart still longed for a daughter. I have shared my feelings about that here on several occasions because I know I am not alone in feeling them. Yes, a healthy baby is what we ALL want but still I couldn't help but feel the way I did about wanting a daughter. Those feelings were real and acknowledging them was important for me.
But perhaps that is because I never had to deal with the reality of a baby whose health was seriously in question.
In the face of giving birth to a child who wasn't healthy, a third son would have been the very least of my worries.
A woman I know was expecting her third child not long after me. She also has two other children. Unlike me, she did not find out the sex. She never made jokes about what gender she would prefer. She seemed content with the idea of either. I loved that about her. Envied it. And was a little ashamed of my own attitude.
Her beautiful baby has arrived but not in the perfect health they were expecting. The road ahead is unknown.
Then I met a family at a cafe. They had two sons similar in age to Luca and Ziggy. They ooohed and ahhhed at Harlow. The woman expressed her desire to have a daughter. I asked if they were thinking of a third baby.
"Oh, no," she said quietly, "It's too risky for us. Both our boys have autism".
The prevalance of autism is lower in girls so when this woman dreamed of a daughter during her second pregnancy, it wasn't to fulfill some longing for a real life dolly. She dreamed of maximising the chances of having a healthy child who wasn't on the spectrum.
Life is not fair.
Not everyone gets to take home the baby they dreamed of. Why?
I ran my mouth off about how if I didn't have a daughter, it wasn't fair, blah, blah, blah and then, I got EVERYTHING I wanted. Why?
Why? Why? Why?
Of course, these questions, borne out of anger, grief…guilt, are futile. There are no answers. Only the anguished, echoing cries of a mother who would do anything for her child but must stand aside and trust a medical team instead; and the guilty whispers of the woman who wonders if she really deserves her own good fortune.
A friend remarked wisely that she firmly believed we are never given more than we can handle. And I think of both families whose stories have impacted so profoundly on me of late and think, yes, that seems about right. These children have been blessed with loving and strong families who will protect and advocate for them always.
But somewhere inside me, a tiny voice whispers, "Thank you, God, for deeming me not worthy to carry that heavy load."