I am a soldier. Not in the traditional sense of the word, for I am not in the military forces. Rather, I am a soldier in the forces of women who have endured the loss of a baby.
I put on my fatigues every day. Even though I wash them regularly, they are worn. Tattered. Faded. I put on my boots and lace them up tightly. When I first started wearing these boots, my feet bled from painful blisters. Those blisters have now callused over, and I am quite used to the them.
I pull my hair back and put on my hat. I strap on all my gear. Some days require more gear than others. Sometimes I forget some of my gear, and I have to improvise. I come home more beaten on those days. Some days I am over-equipped with too much gear, and that also makes things difficult. I find that I am sore on those days from the heaviness of it all.
I create my own battle plans as I go. It works better that way. Better than if someone else were to create it for me. I know the war I am fighting like no other. Except for my fellow soldiers, other loss parents. They know it too, for they were also forced into it.
Despite my best attempts at battle plans, occasionally I find myself unprepared for the terrain in which I am traveling. On those days, I rely on my amazing fellow soldiers for support. They are always there for backup. We help each other. We treat each other’s wounds. We call for more backup if needed. We send out for supplies. We hold each others’ hands and cry on each other’s shoulders. We have the strongest shoulders of anyone I know.
I have found myself in a new battle of such. Pregnancy after loss. It’s not completely new to me for I have already successfully won this battle once, resulting in a beautiful and vibrant rainbow at the end, Lucia. Another attempt at pregnancy after loss ended for me just within a day or so of it beginning. And here I am again, giving it another go. Fourteen weeks in, and so far I have managed to avoid any land mines. My biggest enemy is fear. He lurks around every corner, constantly threatening me. That’s when I rely on my gear and my fellow soldiers.
I carry my little passenger so carefully, looking around every corner twice before I move even an inch. And when I do move, I often second-guess. Should I have made that move? The heat is sweltering, and I’m sweating as I make my way through this battlefield. My backup is there, I have already called on them countless times. They have already had to carry me a time or two. I am so thankful for them, as I for sure would have had much larger wounds already had it not been for them.
I know there is another beautiful rainbow waiting for me at the end of this field. But I’ve got to get there first. And to get there, I need to keep my eyes focused on that rainbow and continue to use my resources. Yes, I know that there are clouds and fog that can blur my view, and even worse, there are things that could take it away and make it disappear altogether. But I can’t stay fixated on that, and I owe it to myself and this baby to try my hardest to keep my chin up as much as possible and stay focused. One step at a time, I will make it through this battle.
The war is never over when you are a loss mama, for you always live with that loss. But there are periods of peace and truce, and as time goes on, those periods get longer and are brighter. Dark days still come, and those enemies still throw their sneak attacks. That’s why I keep my fatigues on, and my gear packed tightly next to me.
I didn’t ask to be in this war, but I am in it.
I will always be a soldier.