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'I can't have both here, but I can still have both': The truth about parenting after loss

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The last few days have played out like one of those parenting memes come to life.

We've had too much TV, a toddler with boundless energy, a vomit explosion in the car, a poop smearing incident in the crib, an abundance of take out and junk food and a child who has discovered her inner mountain goat.

On top of it all, the insanely hot temperatures have meant moving that same energetic, part-mountain-goat toddler into our room so we can all sleep comfortably in the air conditioning.

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There was a time in my life when I never thought a week like this would be possible. I'm in awe of this week. Yes, because of the chaos but more because it's real. That toddler sleeping in my room, wearing me out, and testing my patience – she is real.

It was exactly two summers ago when we started trying again for a living baby. Two summers ago I felt like I was attempting the impossible. After two miscarriages and the stillbirth of Dorothy, a take home baby did not seem possible.

She was possible.

And still, I have a hard time believing in her possibility. Her realness has a wispy quality, like if I love her too much or hold her too tight, she will slip away. I think it's because I can't explain her. I don't know why she was possible when a living baby is not possible for everyone who wants one.

Her existence defies reason. Why her? Why not her sister? Why not any of the other babies who are so desperately missed? I'm so aware of the lives not being lived that I sometimes struggle to make room for the lives being lived right in front of me. I struggle with feeling like I can't have both.

I can't have both here, but I can still have both. The reality of my living child does not cancel out the reality of the one who's not here. My reality is that one is somewhere else sending me signs of her love, and one is sitting right next to me covering me in sloppy kisses.

I can love them both even if I can't love them both here.

It's possible.

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