A Guest Post by Heather Johnston Welliver
I’m pregnant. But I wouldn’t say I’m pregnant again, the way so many people do these days. I say I’m pregnant with my third child.
I’ve always been a grammar nerd, a stickler for syntax and semantics. Ask my husband, who does not enjoy being corrected by me.
I believe language is important. And I’ve found it especially important in this pregnancy after loss. My daughter Lydia was stillborn last November at 34 weeks from a cord accident.
When my husband and I decided to start trying to conceive, I was careful about our language. “Trying again,” makes Lydie sound like an error, like a mistake we could correct with a new baby. “Trying for our third,” acknowledges her place and importance in our family. It acknowledges her.
“Trying again” also perpetuates the myth of the replacement child. “Trying for our third” acknowledges that a new baby would be Lydie’s sibling, not her replacement.
And then when that “trying” was successful, it was important to me to use the language “pregnant with our third child.” Not pregnant again.
I try to encourage others to use that language too. When a co-worker exclaims, “I didn’t know you were pregnant again!” I nod and acknowledge, yes, I am pregnant with our third child. When people say, “You’re so brave to try again,” I respond, yes, we’re hoping our second daughter has a safe arrival.
It may not be much. But it means a lot to me, and I hope it sends a message to others. I will work my whole life to honor my daughter Lydie. I’m now the mother of three children, one I carry in my arms, one I carry in my heart, and one I carry in my hopes.
Heather Johnston Welliver lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband Justin and their two-year-old son. Her world was shattered last fall when her second child, Lydia Joanne, was stillborn at 34 weeks after a perfectly uneventful pregnancy. Heather is learning to live with the grief and learning how to mother a child she holds in her heart instead of her arms. Now 31 weeks pregnant with her rainbow baby they call “Bowie,” she and Justin are struggling to balance hope and fear, as they count down the days. Heather finds catharsis and friendship by sharing her story at Loving and Losing Lydie.