January 28 has come and gone, and for the past twenty years I have silently celebrated this day each year. No one in my family knows the significance of the day for me and the bittersweet memories I feel each year when this day arrives. I have kept it to myself for all of these years for risk of being misunderstood or made fun of.
January 28 was the expected due date in 1990 of my first baby. It was my first pregnancy and with it came the excitement and expectation of a new life and everything that comes along with first time motherhood. I was excited and exhilarated at the thought of becoming a mom. Around the third month of pregnancy, I began having complications, and the baby did not survive. I was devastated and heartbroken and felt like all my dreams had been crushed. Shortly thereafter I became pregnant again. This time I was cautious and worried all of the time. The previous miscarriage had robbed me of my ability to feel optimism about my pregnancy. It should have been a joyous time, but I just kept wondering when it was going to go all wrong again and when I was going to lose this baby. I didn’t allow myself to get emotionally attached until I was six months pregnant and was definitely convinced that I had a baby growing inside of me.
I delivered a healthy and beautiful baby girl, my wonderful daughter Rachel. It was love at first sight. I know that she was meant to be mine, and if I didn’t have the miscarriage, I wouldn’t have her. I went on to have two more healthy babies, Alicia and Colton. Each child is unique and precious. They all have their strong points and their challenges. I love them very much and I believe each one of them was chosen specifically for me. There is no separation between them and me. We are one.
But on January 28 each year, I also celebrate that first baby and what that life would have been. I always wonder if it was a boy or a girl, and what he or she would have been like. I stop and pause for a few moments of silence, think about what might have been, and then I go on with my day. This year would have been his or her 20th birthday. Yes, the years have gone by and the pain has faded, but I will always privately remember that day. Then I smile and hug my kids.