It is so easy, during pregancy after loss, to lose ourselves in the turbulant feelings that take over us. It is such a complex pregnancy, after we have known the death of a child, it requires so much bravery to accept the challenge to dream again. Not just to dream, but somehow even though we know such pain, to still hope for the best. I always felt like I closed my eyes and jumped in, ready or not.
Once I was again pregnant, all those feelings, the happy ones and the worried and sad ones, they just took over. I always felt that was exactly why I had jumped in without thinking if I was ready or not: if I hadn’t, we never would have done it.
I gave myself time, after my girl died. At first, even though I knew in my heart and my body that another baby would come, it was just a certainty for the future. At some point, I looked at my partner and said, let’s. He grabbed my hand and jumped.
While our newest baby grew in ways that were predictable and healthy, the waves and waves of unexpected feelings kept me on my toes. I worked to stay grounded, to stay in the moment. Mostly, I failed. Mostly, I was swept up in the fear and the sadness, also in the bursts of joy and airy happiness.
One of the things I did that I found most helpful was connecting. Connecting with myself, with other mothers, connecting with my partner, with my girl in my heart, and my baby in my uterus.
Other mothers helped me put words to what I felt. Hearing that the craziness I was feeling was familiar to other women made me feel understood and comforted. Sharing my feelings with my partner helped me feel loved. He sat with me through the turbulance and the confusion. I remember his arm around me. I remember feeling that he got it, even when he couldn’t possibly, because I didn’t even get it. But he was there, and it was all right.
Sometimes, when I could, I let myself feel. I let go to what I was feeling, and I sat with it, I sat with myself. Accepting and celebrating where I was, patting myself on the back for doing so great. Every day, just being in it, I was doing the incredible feat of growing a child after losing a child. That, to me, is courage.
I connected with my girl. I needed to tell her, above all, that I still loved her. Part of me felt disloyal. That fear made me feel melancholy. But I wouldn’t know until after birthing my son, I wouldn’t understand until I held him so new, alive, and slippery, in the awe of oxitocin and pure love, not until then would I know how a mother’s heart holds space for all her children. It was only then that I realised I could love them all. I could be a mom to my babies here and my girl who had died. There was room in my family and my mother heart for everyone.
During my pregnancy, I connected with my tiny son. When I was sad, I caressed him through my belly and told him, Mama is just sad because Luna died. I love her and she died and it makes me sad. But everything is all right. I love you and I take care of you. We are all right. I hoped he knew sadness is just love when someone’s gone.
Connect Create Dare.
As much as I like to write, as much as I need to write at times, pregnancy after loss was not one of those times. I needed the quiet that words dont’ allow. If anything, I needed less words, less thoughts. Just here and now. I created in watercolors, photographs. My pregnancy art was a hopscotch of sewing and stamp carving. I made candles. I sewed a waterbottle cover out of felt. Two hearts represented my older boys, a moon for Luna, and a little baby shape that my oldest cut out of felt and hope and oh so very much faith.
I never did dream. I didn’t dare. Our dreams are powerful, I know. We connect with ourselves and tap into our intution in our dreams. I, however, was not brave enough. I was scared I would meet my silent fears in dreams, and I kept myself tightly shut to the musings of my subconsciuos, fully aware that I was also missing out on the magical beautiful gifts it could show me.
But pregnancy after loss, I feel, is a balancing act.
On the one side, loss. On the other side, brave, alive, dare-to-love new life.
And there we are, balancing and hoping to fall on the side of life.