“How do I go on without my son and without my hope for a rainbow baby?”
My husband had a second vasectomy after we conceived Reece Michael. That one was deemed successful after Reece was stillborn just two weeks prior. Having another baby is now wildly invasive AND expensive. I ached for another baby for a long time, but it wasn’t until I realized I wanted my Reece, not his sibling, that I could unwind from that idea. In 2017, I worked with a therapist and EMDR therapy to heal my PTSD and finally feel lighter. Without that work, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to even see anything beyond the pain and depression. I could finally see my passions again.
Mothering has been my main focus for almost a decade. Somewhere along the years, I got buried. It wasn’t intentional. And it wasn’t sudden, which is how it happens without noticing. In 2013, I left a satisfying job in education to care for two young sons at home, and by October of 2015, I had been pregnant or nursing for two and half straight years, on top of caring for my oldest son. Women give so much of themselves to motherhood.
As we prepared for Reece, I could feel myself shaking away things I enjoyed to focus on childbirth and nursing. To bury myself deeper in motherhood. The death of our son is still devastating, even two years later. The struggle to accept his death permeates my life. But I also see an opportunity to focus on myself. To remember that I am more than just a mother; there is more to life than motherhood. I am not only a vessel for human creation, a milk dispenser, a sandwich-maker, a boo-boo fixer. I am a person separate.
So much focus is put on another baby after loss that we forget we are women. Women with passions. Passions that were alive in us as children and teens. I found peace in accepting my family by sinking into those passions. I asked myself a simple question: How do I spend my time? My oldest has hockey practices and homework help. My middle kiddo attends a preschool that covets volunteer parents. My Reece gets the time I write for Still Standing and my personal blog. I also copy edit for the organization that provided us with bereavement services when he was born. My husband likes to watch a lot of movies together.
What about me? What is the time spent on me?
I love dirt. Our house has multiple gardens: vegetables and flowers and herbs.
I returned to work as an interpreter. One of my life’s joys is teaching a deaf teen the art of sarcasm.
I love to cook. The more complicated, the better!
My worth as a woman isn’t tied exclusively to motherhood. But our society sells it that way. How do I go on without my youngest? I don’t. He goes everywhere I go.
And how do I go on without the hope of a rainbow baby?
I don’t look at the sky. There isn’t a rainbow there. I look down into the dirt. I sow the seeds. I wait for rain. I enjoy the sun. My rainbow is the seeds I plant, the flowers I grow, the butterflies that come calling. My passions that come back to me, one project at a time
As we continue through the early bits of the new year, ask yourself: Before motherhood was a thing, what was MY thing? What’s for me?