Pregnancy after miscarriage. I don’t even know where to start – but I know this post needs to be written. Maybe for you.
When I found out I was pregnant with my “Rainbow Baby” (a baby after loss) I was in denial – I think I took about twenty pregnancy tests in those first few weeks comparing the thickness and darkness of that second pink line, declaring that yes, I was with child. Not a second of those few weeks before my first ultrasound was I able to find any peace of mind, certainly the tests were wrong – certainly this baby had already died and I’m was oblivious to the death inside of me. Fear entrapped me – froze me to the core -stole the joy of the discovery of this precious life. Every moment found me looking for signs of death. In all honesty I did not believe that I would ever get pregnant again after my miscarriage – let alone carry another baby to term.
I’d like to say that the fear went away after I saw my daughters tiny body on the ultrasound machine, after hearing her heart beat strong and clear – but it didn’t. The truth is the fear didn’t go away until the moment she was in my arms – safe, alive, breathing her precious first breaths resting safely on my chest. In that moment the peace that overtook me was the most indescribable feeling – 8 ½ months of fear released – I was no longer frozen and my heart exploded with all of the love in the world for this precious life I had not yet allowed myself to love for fear of losing her too soon.
I learned a few things about myself, my friends, and the whole big scary world during this time that I’d like to share with you.
1. No two pregnancies are alike – My pregnancy after loss was different that yours – yours was different than mine. We cannot compare pregnant woman to each other. We just can’t. It is never OK to tell a pregnant woman how she should be feeling or what she should be doing. Your right for you, is different than my right for me. And friends, that is OK. Some moms are able to go tent camping 8 months pregnant, some are lucky just to make it to the bathroom to pee on time. I’ve been with you on both ends of this spectrum- and I want to grant you the peace of mind that each place is OK. You know what is best for you, you alone know what you can handle both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Those limitations you feel – they are OK. I wish I wouldn’t have been so afraid of my limitations during my pregnancy, and that someone would have told me, “I understand you are scared. I cannot imagine how you are feeling, but let me listen to you. Tell me what you need so I can give it to you.” I wish you all the support in the world, and wonderful people in your life who let you melt down crying over shadows on toilet paper if you need to. Because your emotions – all of them – they are real and should be expressible and respected by those who love you.
2. Everything is scary – You guys the thing about the shadows on the toilet paper – true story. I don’t think there was one time that I was able to go to the bathroom during my entire pregnancy without inspecting for blood – turning on the light at 2 a.m. just to be sure that those shadows weren’t actually the blood I feared so entirely. All the pains and aches of pregnancy become more than just normal – they become signs that something must be going wrong. Everything is scary. The only peace of mind I had from the scary was that my doctor was wonderful, always took me seriously, ordered extra ultrasounds and heart beat checks – never made me feel stupid for my scared. And mama, your scared is not stupid. Take your intuition seriously, you know best. Share your fears with those who love you – if they love you right they will understand – not all scary can be fixed , but no scary should be alone.
3. The Rainbows Come & That Doesn’t Erase The Storm– The birth of my daughter was the absolute most joyous thing I could ever imagine. And certainly some of the depths of that joy comes from the immense stormy season I endured before she entered the bright world outside of the womb. My rainbow baby is wonderful – a perfect gift – a literal joyous ray of light wherever she goes. & my friends, she would not be here without the death of the baby preceding her. A rainbow baby is a beautiful thing, and like many beautiful things, only exists because of great tragedy. I’m just recently coming to terms with the fact that her life – does not negate the death of our unborn child. Her life is a great blessing & the death of that child is a great tragedy. These emotions can exist at the same time. Joy & sadness , life & loss , rainbows & storms. Fellow parent – may you embrace it all, and find those who will embrace it all with you.