My daughter was born on Good Friday, and Easter Sunday found me in the hospital chapel. The pastor was speaking about change. I sat in the back and bawled. I didn’t know exactly why I was crying, but I was overwhelmed with post-partum hormones and the realization that my life would never be the same. This conversation between characters Claire and Jenny reminded me of that time in my life.
“I’ve thought that perhaps that’s why women are so often sad, once the child’s born,” she said meditatively, as though thinking aloud. “Ye think of them while ye talk and you have a knowledge of them as they are inside ye, the way you think they are. And then they’re born, and they’re different—not the way ye thought of them inside at all. And ye love them, o’ course, and get to know them the way they are.. but still, there’s the thought of the child ye once talked to in your heart, and that child is gone. So I think it’s the grievin’ for the child unborn that ye feel, even as ye hold the born one in your arms.” She dipped her bead and kissed her daughter’s downy skull.
“Yes,” I said. “Before…it’s all possibility. It might be a son, or a daughter. A plain child, a bonny one. And then it’s born, and all the things it might have been are gone, because now it is.”
…”And a daughter is born, and the son that she might have been is dead,” she said quietly. “And the bonny lad at your breast has killed the wee lassie ye thought ye carried. And ye weep for what you didn’t know, that’s gone for good, until you know the child you have, and then at last it’s as thought they could never have been other than they are , and ye feel naught but joy in them. But ‘til then, ye weep easy.”
(Diana Gabaldon in Dragonfly in Amber p. 549)