When I found out that I was pregnant for the fourth time, fear took over my mind. It was easy to think that this pregnancy would end far too soon like the other ones. It was easy to think that our hopes of having a family would disappear as quickly as the little lines appeared on our test. It was easy to think it was a lost cause.
Yet, I couldn’t help imagining what future this little one would have with us.
Will baby be a girl or boy?
Will baby look more like me or my husband?
Will baby grow up to be an artist or an engineer?
I made a conscious decision that Saturday morning to celebrate this little one as much as possible. I was going to cherish each week’s milestone. I was going to allow myself to dream of this little one. I was going to allow myself to love this little one. I was going to allow myself to accept the fact that this could finally be our time.
Now, simply because I was going to allow myself to feel this joy that didn’t mean that it would be easy.
There were days when I thought of my other little ones and felt guilty that I was moving on. There were days when I tried to stifle my happiness because I didn’t deserve it because I must have done something wrong to lose our other little ones. There were days when I didn’t want to grow attached to our baby because I thought that would protect me somehow. Oh, how those were wasted days. I needed them in order to heal after our previous losses, but they at least felt wasted.
Then we saw her heartbeat and it changed. There are still fears about preterm labor and if I’ll be a good enough mom, but this little girl has my heart and gives me the strength to try my best every day.
Some ways I found joy after losses
- Accept the stages of grief- The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. You may find yourself in some stages longer than others, but allow yourself to go through them. They are necessary for healing. SC 211 has some great resources to help you find professional help or counseling.
- Search for hope- I find my hope in Jesus Christ, but I know that may not be the case for others. Do you find hope in the fact that the sun always finds a way to show up the next morning? Or do you find it in conversations with others who have had similar struggles and are now experiencing a new happiness? Wherever you think hope may be, please search for it and hold on to it.
- Celebrate your little ones- I’m still not sure how I’ll celebrate the short lives of our other children, but I have a few ideas. I’ve read about memorial trees or annual donations to non-profits. Some people choose to celebrate their loved ones birthdays, or for my Mexican culture we remember our loved ones on All Saints’ Day and Day of the Dead.
- Breathe- I promise, it sounds so simple, but breathe. Allow your lungs to fill with oxygen and breath. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that while your heart is still beating there is still life and as long as there is life there is a future. Your life has a purpose and I know you can find it.
I know what you’re thinking, “Ash, it is not that easy. I cannot just pick up the pieces and move on like that. It’s not going to happen.” I’ve been there, I promise. I have locked myself in the bathroom stall at work ugly crying and then forced myself to go back to my desk with a red snotty nose. I have yelled at my husband that he just didn’t get it and that he didn’t care about our babies because he was okay now. I have looked at pregnant women with a jealousy that I’m sure turned my eyes an ugly seaweed green. I have been there and you’re right when you say that it’s not easy.
Losing a child isn’t easy.
Losing hope isn’t easy.
But, I promise that this is just a moment in time. A moment that you’ll remember for a lifetime, but don’t miss out on other moments that could alleviate some of your pain. It’s not easy, but as cliche as it sounds, it’s worth it. I promise.