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Reality of an Uncertain 5-Year-Old

My 5-year-old daughter came home from school yesterday, and proudly presented me this picture. She has found that she can express herself in drawings, and has taken to indicating the different people in her drawings by labeling them by first initial.

If we are ready to pay attention, children's pictures really are worth thousands of words.

"Can you tell me about this picture?" I asked her.

She points to the two red figures. "That's me, and that's [twin brother] J. I am holding Ronen, and J is holding the 'Snowflake" [what they've been calling this fetus since they found out we were expecting.] "That's you in the middle." ["I" stands for "Ima," the Hebrew word for "Mommy."] "This is for you to bring to the hospital in case you miss us."

I wonder about this child's inner mind.

I wonder about this child who imagines that when our new baby comes home, she and her brother will be really holding two infants, one real and one imagined. One who will grow and one who never will.

This five-year-old who, when I told her that because of "The Virus" she might not be able to come visit me in the hospital, and that we'd be there for a few days, asked me, "And when you come home, we'll visit this baby on Sundays in the hospital?" (This was our ritual with Ronen.) "No," I reassured her, smiling though wanting to cry, "We hope this baby is coming home and we'll be able to spend time with it always in our house."

Pregnancy after loss is full of its triggering landmines. But we need to be rocks for our living children grappling with their own grief and anxiety, and embrace their optimism.

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