My friend Steve Hamburg has written a book, I will never read. It’s painful for me to admit that, because two of the things I most appreciate in the world are books and supporting my friends in their worthy endeavors.
But not all books are for all people, and this book is not a book for me. It may be a book for you; you can check it out there and decide for yourself: Expectant Fathers are Pregnant Too.
If you haven’t looked at the link yet, or you weren’t able to get the contents from the title, it’s a book about his experiences with his wife of going through their first pregnancy. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. So did my second. My third pregnancy was a nonstop terror for the life of my child. I was too scared to believe this would be the time I would walk away with a living, breathing child. With my second pregnancy, I pleaded every night for the life of my baby. I can still remember how it felt, night after night; please don’t take my baby. When those prayers were met with a silent emptiness, I turned away from prayer, refusing even to place enough trust in prayer to pray for that third child. Some would say I prayed as Hannah prayed. Voiceless, graceless, with nothing but a silent scream and copious tears. I wouldn’t be able to relate to that experience of someone who’s wife gets pregnant in a due time, without medical intervention, without nosy doctors trying to debate you about the medical ethics of helping you conceive, without nosy friends telling you to “Let go, and let G-d,” or explaining in sad funeral voices that you’re obviously unworthy of the gift of children and you should turn your hand to something you can achieve.
How can I relate to the story that completes itself a pregnancy followed by a healthy child? Without the pain and fear and agony I experienced. A pregnancy of hope, as my first one was one, instead of one of terror and pain and loss.
And I might be doing my friend a disservice. Maybe this wasn’t their first pregnancy. Maybe their journey was as fraught with anxiety and pain as mine was. Maybe, like my husband, his thoughts turned to how to support his disconsolate wife again, should the worst happen, even as he struggled to find the strength to live each day without his baby. I may never know, because I don’t think my heart is strong enough to be put to the test. If you do read it, you can let me know.
*The original title of this post was Books: both unread and unwritten, and I had thought I might put some thoughts on here on miscarriage as the unfinished book. But the post feels done to me, so I will save that for another time.