Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Gabriel's Story

I had been ill with chronic pancreatitis for just three years when I discovered I was pregnant. It was such a shock, and at first I wasn’t sure I wanted to have the baby. My body had already been through so much, and I wasn’t sure I could physically carry a child. Not to mention the fact that I wasn’t married, although the baby’s father and I were still best friends. Financially, though, I really wasn’t in an ideal situation to become a mother. But a few weird signs left me with no other desire than to have my child. There was never a day in my life that I didn’t want to be a mother. God had just chosen a set of interesting circumstances for me to experience my first pregnancy.

What kind of mother forgets her child; leaves him behind with all the pain that her hollow womb could hold? I think about him every day, but it’s something cerebral, almost like a dream, as if he never truly had a life. It’s only this time of year that I remember that beating heart within my belly that I wanted with all my heart and soul. I remember saying goodnight to him every night, and good morning to him every day, and speaking to him every moment in between almost like a lullaby, to keep him company and never let him feel alone. He was just a little man; a little man that wanted a chance that I ultimately couldn’t provide.

I heard his heartbeat just days before. My brother and I stuffed ourselves into the tiny exam room, and the doctor used her magic wand to find his life deep within me. It’s a sound I miss, a sound I wish I had recorded because now it’s hard to recall. I’ve never wanted anything more than to hold his warm life in my arms, to feel his heart in sync with mine.

Even in the most inadequate circumstances, I believed my love would give us everything we needed. It was my maternal currency, the lira of motherhood. And while it seemed so natural at the time, I now see all the flaws in the past that somehow made it all “for the best”. It’s a bittersweet reality to acknowledge that, with my medical ups and downs, especially with my chronic pain, I would not have made a very good mother.

Perhaps the cruelest part of my post-partum experience was when my milk came in. There I was with all this milk and no child to feed. My eyes blew up with tears as my breasts became engorged with milk, and my hormones took my thoughts all the way to the notion of wanting to go and find homeless babies to feed. My body was doing exactly what it was supposed to do under circumstances that were a nightmare.

I make myself believe that everything happens for a reason, because the contrary would break my already broken heart. Even though almost a decade has passed, I still hear him calling me, and I’d be lying to say that on many days I don’t long to join him. But my journey here is not finished, and I believe God had a greater plan to this whole design. 
Every challenge I meet, I now have a special guardian angel to accompany and protect me. Eventually, I will be with him. As I walk this path, he speaks to me in whispers, telling me it will all be okay. He gives me hope when I have none. He is my light in the dark; my son, Gabriel.

Live and love with hope in your heart and mind! With gratitude, Jessica