The end of April will mark two years since my first child bled from my body. Since then I have given birth to my rainbow baby, the only other child I will have. This month also marks one year since I found out that I was pregnant again. So there are many emotions mixed up in the fourth month of the year, this year in particular.
In less than two months’ time, we will be moving out of the apartment we have lived in since before my husband and I got married. This weighs heavy on me because it is within these walls that my first child lived and died. Even though she only lived within me for eleven weeks, they were precious weeks. And even though each room has its own reminder of the miscarriage experience, they help me remember that my first daughter was real.
Letting go of this space we have inhabited, so full of love and devastation, feels like I am letting go of another piece of the story. Maybe “letting go” is not the right way to put it, “moving on” feels wrong too. I have learned since loss became part of my story is that words never really express what I feel anymore.
For so long after I lost my first child I clung to the fact that I was a woman who had experienced a miscarriage. I identified so deeply with it. This became something I had to work through to reach a place where I felt ready to try to have another child. I did reach that place but then pregnancy after loss was its own in between. I was a woman who had lost but also a woman who was hopeful again. This felt like a betrayal to my first child at times and other times it felt like exactly what she would have wanted.
Having a living child has changed me anew and I identify in a different way with who I am. This has been surprising and at times a struggle because I never know if I am holding on too tightly or not tight enough to the child I lost. It is a constant battle within. Some days it overwhelms me that I have moved so far away in time from those precious and devastating weeks. Some days I feel guilty for having my rainbow baby. Now I feel guilty that I will be moving from the space where I experienced every high and low of that first pregnancy.
Two years later and I am still heartbroken. I have healed in ways but know I will not heal in others and I am at peace with that. If I have learned one thing from loss, it is that everything is fleeting. Time, space, people. So I try not to cling to the time that has passed or the space that will no longer be mine. I do try to cling to the people in my life that matter most though. And I cling to the memory of my first child and all that she was and could have been. I do not know where I will be next year in April or five years from then. What I do know is that I carried a child I did not get to hold and in so many ways that will always be a part of who I am.
Photo by Tom Ezzatkhah
Heidi Beltran is the mother of Talia Luna, who was lost to a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks in April of 2016, and her Rainbow Baby, Atlas Delilah Rose, born December 2017. You can follow her on Instagram to see her journey.