I have a confession. I find it really hard to watch other people’s pregnancies, especially other people who have never experienced a loss. Yes, I am happy for them that their baby is born alive. Yes, I hold my breath as they get closer to their due date and I even pray that their baby will go home with them, unlike mine. But if I’m really honest, if you aren’t a loss mom going through pregnancy again after the death of your previous child, I have a REALLY hard time enjoying your pregnancy announcements, photos, baby showers, even thinking about holding your baby, or hearing of your minor pregnancy ailments.
I sound like an evil resentful witch, right? Well, it’s just the truth. I have pregnancy envy. I know. I know. You might be thinking, “Well what do you have to complain about? You’re pregnant now, too.” And maybe I’m being hypocritical; I’ll admit it, but everything about watching other people’s expecting bliss changes after you have experienced a pregnancy loss. I mean everything!
For example, Facebook is the WORST! Recently, I watched a friend take almost the same nine month journey I did last year, only hers started this past year in April 2013 instead of mine in April of 2012. This was her first pregnancy and how blissfully happy she was made my stomach turn and my eyes flash green with envy. I watched her journey from day one, as she shared the pictures of two pink lines on the pregnancy test, followed with growing belly pictures, and glowing ultrasound photos. I for some reason couldn’t turn away. For me it was like watching a car wreck. I knew I didn’t want to see it, but I had to look. Everything in her journey looked easy. First time pregnancy looked like a breeze for her. She was looking cute in all her outfits, barely gained weight, and had an air of confidence that everything will turn out okay. This all made me mad because I feel like I will never have that innocence, experience that bliss again. To top it off, here I was four months out from having just burying my child, bursting into an uncontrollable sob session when I would get my period each month because it meant another four weeks would pass without even the possibility of a child of my own. Ugh. I felt defeated.
Then nine months later, the day came when my Facebook friend delivered in December, like me only a year later and with a happier result. There were pictures again on Facebook, minute by minute updates of her laboring. Cute pictures of her husband patiently waiting in the delivery room, sleeping even. Then, popping up on my Facebook feed was the picture that sent me into a complex emotional state of experiencing jealousy, anger, envy, and sorrow, all rolled into one ugly feeling in the pit of my stomach. The picture that tore my heart into two and stung more than any of the pictures to follow of her beautiful ALIVE baby girl was a picture of her smiling after over 12 hours in labor. Smiling in labor!
When I saw that picture of her grinning with delight tears ran down my face like rivers flooded with pain. I thought to myself and even uttered the words out loud to my Facebook feed, “I never got that!” And I realized I will never again get to wear an excited smile as I wait in the last few hours of pregnancy, in the place where delivery is supposed to become birth and life, because I have only known it as death. I never got smiles or joyful anticipation. I was told that my baby was dead upon arrival and during delivery there were no grins or beaming faces of delight. Only fear.
Even being pregnant again, my outlook isn’t the same as this happily innocent Facebook friend. I can’t envision smiles that don’t have a lingering taste of bittersweet tears rolling over them during this pregnancy. Right now I just hope for joyous relief at the delivery of this baby because the innocence of pregnancy is lost. My pregnancy virginity has been stolen and the innocent girl I once was now knows better than to foolishly believe everything will be okay. Even though I REALLY want to believe everything will be okay because I don’t want to be filled with jealousy when I watch other people’s pregnancies. I don’t want to be green with envy at baby showers. I don’t want to be known as being a cold hearted you-know-what. Honestly though, I just think right now that is how I feel and that it has to be okay.