The Wrong Dirty Diaper

August 13, 2018

By Sanda Rathamone

The thing about being an angel parent is that you don't get to change diapers. Diaper changing is a privilege and it changes everything.
Starting my period yesterday wasn't as emotional, like the past two cycles. I wasn't crying about it in a bath and my expectations weren't as high as they once were. Maybe that's why I handled it calmer than usual - I was expecting it.

However, once I started writing about it, tears were flowing from my eyes, but they didn't feel like the same tears that fall from disappointment. The tears were not emotionally painful, but rather partially an acceptance and the other part, a natural response. This is how it's going to be.

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The emotions that I thought would be present weren't there. 

I mean, I could still feel them, but it was like they were foggy and not really there. 

I think it's because I am somewhat "cried out" of tears. Like the days I cried before finally giving birth and then unable to cry after the birth, at least not until the day after Elijah died. On the day Elijah died, I felt like I had to force my tears, but on the day after, I couldn't stop crying. 

It seems that I have cried enough about the same disappointment, which started way before we miraculously got pregnant with Elijah. I started crying about not getting pregnant after the first several boxes of negative pregnancy tests. I don't know how many boxes we've bought over the past several years, but being together for over six years, I would say that we have been buying those boxes of pee sticks for at least four out of those six years. 

I got off the pill when we were together for about a year and a half. My body couldn't regulate my cycles after that because it was so used to the pills. I realized that I was dependent on pills just to have periods, which weren't taken initially for pregnancy prevention or menstrual regulation, but for clearing acne.

That second year we were together, we weren't at all ready or thinking about being parents. That year, I struggled with amenorrhea, which for almost a whole year, I didn't have a period. Not having a period was confusing and I didn't know if I was pregnant or just not going to have a period for another month. It was like my body was going through a withdrawal and literally, the pills are drugs!

We took pregnancy tests just to make sure, in case we were out drinking or if I had gotten pregnant at all, even without the periods. 

I know, how stupid is it to get off the pill and not be prepared at all for a pregnancy. Well, it doesn't matter anyway because we didn't get pregnant until our fourth year, which has now been over two years ago. 

I can't believe that it is now 3 days away from 26 months after Elijah. 

But anyway, after all of this rambling, that is why I wasn't as emotionally hurt about getting my period. I was more emotional about how I have been struggling for so long that the disappointment month after month, year after year, is now becoming a numbing pain. I can feel it cutting me, but it doesn't hurt. It's just... there, but not there. So, tears fall because that's the natural response of... well, everything. 

Everything that has disappointed me, since I realized years ago that I may never be a mom. 

Those tears that fell from writing yesterday's blog were years of negative pregnancy tests, the day Elijah died, the years after Elijah died, the years to come in where Elijah will never be alive again, and most of all, from having to put on a diaper. 

That's how I feel when I'm sitting on the toilet, unwrapping that absorbent thing that sticks to my underwear to soak up all of my dead hopes and dreams and tears. 

I hate it even more when my husband taps my butt when I'm wearing a pad. I don't like it when he touches my diaper; I feel like a big baby who doesn't know how to potty train. 

I shouldn't be wearing a diaper right now. I put the wrong diaper on the wrong person. Right now, I should be changing my twenty-two-month-old son with a clean size 5 diaper. 

I remember those months after Jazmine, Elijah's cousin, was born. Seeing her dirty diapers in the bathroom trash bin was a trigger, yet, it was so new to me because I had never seen a dirty diaper in that bathroom trash bin, since I have moved in with the in laws years ago. For at least a year after Elijah died, those diapers made going to the bathroom terrifying and emotionally draining.

Now that Jazmine is 18 months old, those diapers are easier on the eyes, just not on the nose. I've seen those diapers so many times that it became a norm, although sometimes, on days like today, while on my period, those diapers can be so cruel, crueler than smelling them. 

My husband and I laugh and comment to each other on how smelly her diapers are. It's terrible, so terrible that opening the trash bin is like preparing to hop into a dumpster. Moving the lid just one second allows the smell to jump into the bathroom air; it doesn't even waft, it jumps around as if it were Luna Lovegood's hare patronus from Harry Potter. 

I didn't adjust to or hold Jazmine until she was 7 months old. But ever since then, I've never changed her diaper. I could feed her, hold her, play with her, but not dance with her or change her diaper. Even though changing a niece's diaper should never be too big of a thing to do, changing her diaper is one of those "aunt-mother" things I can't do, like dancing. 

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I've changed so many diapers growing up. I used to baby sit younger cousins and care for my youngest sister when she was a baby. I used to see changing diapers as an easy thing to do. But since Elijah died, I can't see changing diapers in the same way. 

It's because I never had the chance to see or put Elijah in a diaper. I don't even know what brand or what size he would have worn. I never got to smell his diaper either, maybe that's a good thing, but even that makes me sad. 

Every two to three hours, here I am, changing my own dirty diaper. I find it even harder to change myself. 

A few months ago, I remember my husband talking about using cloth diapers. I wasn't all for it because what if someone had to babysit our baby and doesn't know how to change cloth diapers? I wasn't sure I would like changing them either. Yet, I've even wondered about myself and switching to cloth pads. Changing to cloth would save so much money and the landfill from further dumping.

My husband said, "Then we'll teach them!" 

Thinking about Elijah, I would have been excited to clean cloth diapers, especially his cloth diapers. But that's only because he's gone. If he were here today, would that excitement still exist?

With love,

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