That, or I think about one of those flow charts -- you know, "I want a baby!" If you want it by some of your own genetic material, go HERE, if no, go HERE:
But it quickly looks like this:
The choices seem so big, each of them so hard to tackle individually, how could I possibly sort through the entire process? Do I want to be pregnant again? Could I do it without completely losing my mind and giving myself preeclampsia from the high blood pressure I'm sure to develop? (Good lord, just sitting here writing about it gives me palpitations.) Very good money-down odds that the medical establishment will not have uncovered Maddy's problem by the time I need to get moving on this question. That means no amount of prenatal testing could shield us from another disaster. Ergo, should I consider egg or sperm donation to get one Awful set of genes out of the mix, and if yes, which and why? This is entirely begging the question, could I get pregnant again? Could I handle the heartache of a negative pregnancy test, a run-of-the-mill miscarriage (bwah), finding out at 11 or 16 weeks that there's a problem, finding out after giving birth that this awful thing has happened all over again? Could I even enjoy another child when I have trouble finding joy in the one I currently have? Does this mean that I'd have some serious hangups with adoption? Is adoption the karmic answer: a daughterless mother adopting a motherless daughter? Am I ready for the rejection, setbacks, and possible medical snafus that can happen on the adoption front? Do I really want another child, or do I want Maddy back? Or both?
You see what I mean? I need a drink. Back in a sec. Talk amongst yourselves.
Ok. As much as I'd like to put off this question until I'm in a warm lavender scented bath and the answer just washes over me, I sorta have to think about it. Now. I'm
Just not now.
So I'm trying to figure out where to even begin this discussion with myself (and, well, you) so I don't get overwhelmed and I don't even know where to do that because within seconds my brain is spinning down the path of endless, scary, deadbaby questions.
But what keeps popping into my mind when I try and focus on this for a few seconds (FOCUS PEOPLE!) is that really fucked up and wildly overquoted Tennyson line: "'Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all." Which right now I think is a ton of bullshit. When Mr. ABF stares at Bella in wonder and says, "how could we not have another?" I respond, usually tearing up, "How can I lose another?" I simply don't know if I'm strong enough to endure more heartache. I cannot at the present wrap my head around optimism, joy in numbers, comfort in more love. I can't even imagine it. To me, right now, there is no pre-Maddy or post-Maddy; like a historian, I'm now reexamining the past through the lens of the present. I can't even enjoy photos of Bella as a baby, because instead of reliving the loveliness (or exhaustion as it were) of that time, I now stare at the photographs with the eye of an expert witness and wonder what Maddy would look like at that age. What color would her eyes be? Would she be as solid as her sister? Would her hair also have a slight strawberry tinge to it? Am I cursed to live the rest of my life looking through this lens, constantly re-evaluating everything given Maddy's loss? If so, is it really fair to bring a baby into this? One I'll just stare at and use as a vehicle to wonder about her sister, and not enjoy right in front of me?
It boggles the mind. And it means that I can't really fathom bringing another being into my family, at least not right at this minute. Maybe tomorrow. Or next week. But I'm running out of time, and need to deconstruct some of this onion, stat.
By the way, Tennyson's Memoriam has much better lines, in my opinion. Case in point:
That loss is common would not make
My own less bitter, rather more:
Too common! Never morning wore
To evening, but some heart did break.