Not long after Erin told me she was pregnant, I started writing little pieces about our adventures in impending parenthood. Obviously, I haven’t posted any of them online before, but now that we’ve announced to the world, I’m ready to start sharing. Most of them are silly stories or funny observations. The first one I wrote, however, is somewhat more serious, for reasons that I think will be clear. Most of the time I write something, I tweak and edit it right up until it’s posted, but I wrote this two months ago, and I haven’t changed a word.
When you lose something or somebody important to you, even once the initial stages of grief have passed, there’s a period of flux in your emotions. If you catch yourself laughing or having fun or generally being happy, you feel strange. It’s illogical, of course, there’s no reason to feel bad about it, but part of you does anyway. That strangeness is amplified by how great the loss is and how wonderful the good moment is.
Erin found out she was pregnant ten days after my mother died. Five days after her burial. Two days after I went back to work. I was already a confused mix of emotions, and as incredible as this was, it just threw things into even more of a tizzy. You’re already sad because of what you’ve lost, but now you’re happy for what you’re going to gain. And then you feel guilty for being happy, because you’re supposed to be sad, and you still ARE sad, but now you’re happy and guilty too. And then you feel ridiculous because you know there’s no reason to feel guilty and because you know Mom would have been thrilled about this. Then you feel sad all over again when it hits you that this child is never going to know their grandmother — my mother is going to be stories and pictures to him or her. It’s like you’ve lost Mom all over again and it breaks you, then you remember that you’re going to be a father and you don’t have the luxury of being broken right now, and then you remember that you’re going to be a father and you’re happy all over again, even if you’re nervous that you won’t live up to the wonderful father you have.
This is, of course, in addition to the traditional nervousness and anxiety that a person feels when they discover they’re going to become a parent, compounded with the above-average nervousness and anxiety I feel on a standard basis, which is something I inherited from my mother, which just makes me miss her all over again.
I’ve been in a tornado of emotion, is what I’m getting at.