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One Year Later

It was a year ago that I woke up on election day, energized and excited about the future that lay before me. I was 12 weeks pregnant with my first child, a child I had a sinking suspicion was a girl, and we were about to elect our first female President. I left for work that day (stopping to pick up Munchkins from Dunkin Donuts because I felt it was only fair to share my good mood with my co-workers) and said to my husband, “Wouldn’t it be so cool if we found out we were having a girl the same day Hillary was elected?” He agreed, but reminded me that we still had a couple more days before we would get the results of our genetic testing. The fact that something could be wrong with both the baby and the election didn’t even cross my mind.

That night, as the votes were tallied and states were called for Trump, I cried myself to sleep. And my husband was right, we still hadn’t heard back from the doctor about our results, so I couldn’t even find solace in that. I thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse.

I went through the next day in an anxious fog— waiting for results from our genetic test and trying to wrap my head around the new reality of having to raise a baby under the Trump administration. It was unfair Hillary wasn’t elected, and it was really unfair I still didn’t know the sex of my child. Again, I still didn’t suspect anything could be wrong with our results. I was more annoyed at having to live with all this uncertainty.

…And then we got the phone call that would change our lives. The results were in. Our baby was sick. And by the way… we were having a girl. It was the worst day of my life.

That was exactly a year ago. As timing would have it, my husband and I found ourselves in the doctor’s office again this week and marveled how it’s hard to believe it’s been a year. We’re pregnant again and have just entered our third trimester, this time with a healthy baby boy. Our marriage is stronger. I’m more patient. And I’ve learned to taper my expectations. In some ways, it feels like it’s been a lifetime since that phone call. In other ways, I can still recall every agonizing detail like it just happened. The pain has been mainly replaced by joy, but it’s still there. It’ll never go away, but I’ve made peace with that. When you go through heartbreak, you learn how to hold a piece of that heartbreak in a spot only you can access. And I still think about her every day, but I also have this amazing little human growing inside me that fills me with a happiness I can’t quite put into words. Life finds a way to balance itself out, I guess.

And with what happened in Virginia this past week, it seems the tide is turning politically, as well. For me, the election and getting the news about the baby will always be tied to one another. In the simplest of terms: they both really sucked. But, time gives us the tools to adapt to our new realities. The lows won’t always seem so low, and the highs won’t always last. So, enjoy all your victories— big and small, and whether you’re feeling really good or feeling really shitty, just know it won’t always be this way.

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