Gone for good.
There's no way to prepare. You don't get to say goodbye.
You only realize it long after the baby is born, when you are reborn as mother, your spouse as father.
Then you must mourn. You must reflect and grieve and reminisce of the days before you were parents. The easy freedom, late nights. Laughing. So much love, that topped out with each other. The days when your world didn't expand so wide, your heart was still on the inside, and your priorities were simpler.
When the baby comes Earth-side, your heart flips outside, and a new love fills you, entire. So much so you almost forget there are others to love, they way you did in your previous life.
Then one day you have a vacation, all three together, nearly 7 months in, and you start to remember. A fever-dream of they way you were. You can start to make sense of it all now that the baby is a little older. The anxiety is less.
This is where your heart starts re-adjusting.
Time has become liquid gold, since you spun into mother. You'd swear it was tangible. You know how to cherish every minute and every moment. You've never been more present, because you understand nothing lasts in a new way.
And the night after you're back at home and the little love of your lives is asleep in the next room, you and your husband entwine in each other's arms. You hold him close. You breathe him in. His hair smells so good. For a split-second, it's just the two of you. You are completely aware of how much you loved him before, but also how much you love him after, now that he's spun into father.
And you're reminded that even after death, the heart just wants to love, so it keeps on loving. It loves right into the next version of you, and your "us", and the next version, and the next. There is still room, and nothing has truly been lost because your love just keeps expanding...and expanding...and expanding...
My very favorite pictures never go up on social media because they feel too intimate. I'm breaking my rule for the first time with this one. There you have it, the two loves of my life: