This is a photo of the current state of my (rather messy) kitchen table. I wonder if the collection of items on it might come across as rather strange to someone who doesn’t know me well. The formula samples, the how-to book on newborns, the envelope of infant-related coupons – these all make sense, because the presence of our recently born rainbow baby in our home is obvious.
But then there are the collection of books on late term and neo natal loss, and a gift that was given in memory of the baby who came before the more obvious, living one. And when the books on dead babies are sitting side by side with a book on living babies . . . well, the situation becomes even more incomprehensible.
And yet that is my life. I gratefully spend my days and nights caring for this precious boy that was born seven weeks ago out of hope and in the midst of grief. But the daughter who came before him is never far from my mind or heart.
My hours are full of constant wonder – not only over the miracle of this rainbow boy, but also in wondering over whether his sister would have had the same sweet temperament or the same blue depths for eyes. I search for pieces of her in him and tremble when I find them, praying that I’ll never have to learn what he’d look like if he died too young like his sister.
Having a living baby doesn’t make me miss my stillborn daughter any less, not that I expected it to. But her death does help me to appreciate my son’s life all the more. Although they will never meet on this earth, my daughter has changed my son’s life.
My two children live side by side in my heart, each one unique, each one of value. I expect that a rainbow or babylost mother’s heart isn’t all that different from that of a mother who has not lost a child in that respect. Our hearts are just a little more bruised, and as a result a little more tender toward the small, sweet miracles of motherhood, regardless of whether our children live or not.