Pregnancy After Loss and The Loss of Innocence
I sat in a group at Haven of Hope a few Saturdays ago, surrounded by women who had mostly experienced recent losses. The rain was covering us in a soft roar against the windows on the third floor of this life-size doll house. We talked about our children, our families’ reactions and expectations, our faith and a lot more.
Something in the conversation came up about how much we have changed. It was quiet. The questions were not easy to answer, but I have a feeling we all had answers screaming inside of us.
“I miss the innocence I lost.” I said.
I quickly explained that I am now expecting our third child, and while I miss my daughter more than words can even begin to tell you, the loss of innocence is deafening.
Something about watching your own child take her last breath, and struggle even getting to death’s door – it changes you to the core. It changes you in ways you never dreamed and in ways you are sometimes too ashamed to admit to someone who doesn’t fully understand the loss of a child.
I miss innocence in a lot of things after losing Jenna, but today I miss it desperately in pregnancy. Even though everything seems to be going smoothly so far, just knowing how much could go wrong is enough to make me go crazy somedays. I want to be that naive old me. The me that didn’t think twice about loss during our first pregnancy. The me that didn’t know anything about the 24 week viability mark, but rather focused on making it to the 12 week mark because that is when you are supposedly ‘safe’. The me that was daydreaming about raising a little girl, and picking out outfits and shoes. The me that thought child birth would be the most painful experience I would ever endure. I had no idea that I would not only be robbed early of this pregnancy but that I would also bury her before ever reaching her due date.
Life can be cruel.
I struggle with building up our nursery-to-be with baby things just yet. I struggle with letting myself get excited. I struggle with reading ahead on babycenter updates. What if we never make it to the next week? I even struggle relating to other pregnant mamas at times in conversation. I don’t care about the nausea, the tiredness, the back aches, the weight gain, etc.
I just want to hold my living baby.
Seeing how this will most likely be our last child, I am trying my best (by the sheer grace of God) to let go of that fear and dare to let joy seep in where it truly belongs. Day by day. Moment by moment.
What if this is all we get with this baby?
I want to know that I savored every last moment.
If you are expecting after loss, how are you handling the pregnancy? For those of you who have welcomed your rainbow child(ren) already, what got you through?