As a loss mother, one of the things I struggle with is how much my two sons – the one I lost moments after birth and the one who walks beside me – look alike. One of the first thoughts that popped into my mind as I gazed upon my newborn rainbow Noah was, “He looks just like William”. And he does. If you lay their ultrasound photos side-by-side and strip them of identifying information, you would not be able to tell which photos are of William and which are of Noah. Everything about them was the same – same body postures, same profiles, same general disdain for the poking and prodding of the ultrasound wand (we have photos of both boys – taken at nearly identical gestations – in which they have a hand placed on their forehead as though to say “Enough with the photos already!”).
But they are not the same
But they are not the same person, and that’s an incredibly important thing to recognize.
Similar in so many ways, at least physically, but not the same. William is William, and Noah is Noah. Physical similarities notwithstanding, they are two different people, and it is important to my husband and me that Noah knows that we love and value him for who he is rather than comparing him to who he is not.
While so much about their appearance was the same – same perfect, bow-shaped lips, delicate noses, long toes like mine on long feet like their father’s – there were subtle differences. William had what we affectionately call my “bubble butt”, while Noah inherited his father’s amazingly flat one. Noah has one adorable elf-like ear, while William’s ears were both shaped just like his father’s. Similar, but not the same.
I will always wonder
I will always wonder if William would have liked Finding Dory as much as Noah does, if he would have been terrified of public bathrooms (whose toilets and hand-dryers and paper towel dispensers are so loud), if he would have been as non-stop and fearless as his little brother. When I look into Noah’s eyes, I sometimes cannot help but to think about the little boy, so similar in countenance, who came before him.
Similar, but not the same…