Last month I gave birth to my rainbow baby, Atlas. Having her in our lives has brought up so many emotions, some complicated and some not. It has reinforced emotions we had felt and decisions we had made before her birth as well. The big decision being to no longer try to have more children now that Atlas is here.
This topic is one my husband and I spoke about many times during my pregnancy after loss. The anxiety of the pregnancy had taken its toll on both of us and we were not sure either of us could survive the emotional roller coaster of yet another pregnancy. Nor did we want to think about what would happen to us both should we have to endure another loss. And so about halfway through the pregnancy, we both made the decision that Atlas would be our only living child. It was a decision we were both content with. Then I gave birth.
There is so much that was healing about the birth process. My miscarriage experience had been so violent that being able to give birth and have a positive outcome was extremely transformative. The fact that we came home with Atlas and have since been able to just bask in her magic has been something my husband and I are both humbled and awed by. But we did not expect the magic of her to make us both question our certainty of no longer having children.
Less than a week after Atlas’s birth we had a moment where we both knew we wanted another. It was a feeling unlike any that had led up to that instant. Our first child Talia, who we lost, was a surprise pregnancy. Deciding to have Atlas was a tremendous decision that took months to come to. When we both were finally in a place where we felt ready to begin trying for a child, it was still frightening. And the way we came to the decision is so complex I can’t quite put it into words. So having a moment where we both were saying we wanted another child, out of pure love for each other and excitement for growing a family, was brand new and unexpected. It is a moment we never thought we would get to have. And yet the decision is still not that simple.
Of course, if we choose to have another child it would not be for a while. We both wish we could just plan for more right now, but the miscarriage took so much from us. For now, I am just trying to live in each moment. These moments are made more precious because I never thought I would have them. Now I don’t know if I will get to experience them again.
The purity of the moment of wanting another baby is specific. It is a purity that would not carry over into the actual experience of having another baby. And we are both very aware of that. This is difficult for me to accept. Now that I have Atlas I don’t want to believe that loss can still affect my life, but it can and it is. The reality is that loss will always color our hopes and fears for the future of our family, no matter what decision we make.
Photo by: Spencer Watson