This week marks the first anniversary of what would have been my due date.
I have thought a great deal about how to phrase that sentence, but however I try to express it, it sounds awkward. There is no cultural ritual that would enable me to mark an event that never took place. There is no commonly held discourse through which I might explore my feelings about that not-yet-baby who never fully formed either in my body or in my mind.
When I think back to my pregnancy, I cannot think beyond seven weeks. My imagination does not carry me on into the second trimester, to seeing my belly visibly swell, to feeling the baby move for the first time. I cannot imagine myself preparing for the birth, or bringing a baby home from the hospital. I cannot picture myself as mother to a one-year-old child, making plans for a birthday party.
Instead, I am precipitated back to that hot, airless weekend in June when I miscarried. I remember the cramps that first alerted me to the fact that something was desperately wrong. I remember how, after the bleeding started in earnest, I lay in a small patch of sun at the end of the bed, knowing that my body was ridding itself of the baby I had so desperately longed for, and that there was nothing I or anyone else could do to halt the process. I remember being faintly surprised that losing a baby was such a slow and insidious process - my sense of what it might be to miscarry had up to that point been largely gleaned from television dramas, in which actresses collapse suddenly and dramatically, clutching their stomachs.
Everyone, even Dr Abrupt, tells me that the fact that we did once conceive spontaneously is cause for optimism. But I am haunted by the possibility that that could have been my only experience of pregnancy. What if that was my one chance? Would all the subsequent BFNs be easier to handle if I had not had that one positive?