By the time you read this, my rainbow baby will be days away from turning one year old.
As I reflect on all that this year has given to me, I do not feel sadness.
I feel gratitude and joy.
This year has been a wonderful gift.
Something that I found surprising about this first year of parenthood was the number of questions I received asking if I felt the time flying by.
The truth is that I did not.
I have done my best to relish and be present in each and every moment.
I have reminded myself countless times how I almost did not get any of this.
How so many women do not get any of this.
My daughter’s growth is not bittersweet.
I am happy to see her grow because I have already experienced the opposite.
This constant focus on reminding, especially on tough days, is difficult.
But it is worth it because I truly feel like I have enjoyed my daughter’s life so far.
I have become more mindful because of it.
On the other hand, I have also been made acutely aware of specific moments and experiences I lost when I lost my first child.
And that has deepened my grief.
Just as much as loving and raising my rainbow has soothed the searing pain.
This juxtaposition of grief and healing has been the most surprising element of motherhood.
I am still not in a place to say that I know or feel a reason for my loss.
But I can say that loss has made me a better mother.
A more aware and present mother.
I am thankful each day for the gift that my daughter is.
I am thankful for the beauty of this first year of her life.
And while I do not rush headlong into her next year, I welcome it with open arms.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao
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.