One year ago this weekend, our kitty, Abby, died suddenly and unexpectedly, which was simply gut-wrenching and heart-breaking. A few days later, I learned I was pregnant. It seems so far away now. It was hard to appreciate it at the time, but those days were really a series of events which would change our lives forever.

When Abby passed, I felt tremendous guilt because it happened so soon after we returned from our vacation. We had been working with her, because she was a complicated cat to own. She fought with the others, battled her anxiety and acted out in ways that other pet owners would have gotten rid of her for. We felt an obligation to her, because we had raised her from a kitten, and took ownership of some of the issues that she had.

I still remember the special relationship I had with her. She did love us, and it was difficult to let her go. I did feel some sense of peace when she died, though, because I knew that a huge tension that was created was now gone. As sad as it was, it was for the best, I suppose.

When I found out I was pregnant I remember the panic I felt at first. Being estranged from half of my family, I felt this development would only serve to complicate matters. I spent the first few months of my pregnancy in an increasingly withdrawn demeanor. I began to circle the wagons emotionally, determined that I would not allow my baby to feel the stress I was trying so hard not to experience. For what it’s worth, I think this worked out well because my son is one of the calmest babies I’ve ever encountered.