When I first started documenting this process, I found myself titling each post with a single word that began with the letter “R.” I wish there was some type of poetic, deep explanation behind this, but in reality, it was just kind of organic.
I never really thought that I’d be posting with a new “R” word.
IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE BEAUTY OF A RAINBOW DOES NOT NEGATE THE RAVAGES OF ANY STORM. WHEN A RAINBOW APPEARS, IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE STORM NEVER HAPPENED OR THAT WE ARE NOT STILL DEALING WITH ITS AFTERMATH.
IT MEANS THAT SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL AND FULL OF LIGHT HAS APPEARED IN THE MIDST OF THE DARKNESS AND CLOUDS.
STORM CLOUDS MAY STILL HOVER, BUT THE RAINBOW PROVIDES A COUNTERBALANCE OF COLOR, ENERGY AND HOPE
A baby after a loss.
I found out I was expecting again in April and was so frustratingly conflicted about everything. I was happy, but I also felt like I had to be happy. I was relieved that I got pregnant again, but panicked that I was pregnant again. I wanted to tell everyone, but also tell absolutely no one. I felt joy towards this new baby, but also resentment. I loved this baby but longed for the one before it.
It’s a strange process to try and flick the lightswitch of grief “off” and to flick the one for “abounding happiness” on. The mind just isn’t that simple and no matter how desperate I was for clarity and for a “new beginning,” it just didn’t register right away.
Many, many weeks and moments of my first trimester were spent wondering when this baby would go away too. The pregnancies were so oddly similar- no sickness, no overpowering textbook symptoms. There was just a line on a pregnancy test to tell me that I was pregnant. My mind, heart, and body were not entirely convinced of the science happening within it. It was very difficult to carry on with work, parenting, marriage, and life while carrying a new (secret) baby while simultaneously fielding questions about how I was doing after the last baby. It wasn’t the way anyone should have to spend those first months of pregnancy, but I know that so many do and for me, it felt safer to stay in my cocoon of secretness (and at times, indifference) than it was to be out in the open, excited with this news.
As we started to reveal the news to those closest to us, it felt improper to accept congratulations or to celebrate with hugs and kisses. These people weren’t psychics. How and why were they so eager to be happy about something that ended in sorrow just four months ago? Maybe they were just putting on a brave face because that’s what they thought I wanted, but I just wanted acknowledgment and a quick change of topic. Once again, absolute conflict over how and what to feel.
Every milestone has been met with comparison to the last pregnancy which brings on its own hellish mindset. .
“The first ultrasound went well, but it went well last time too so…”
We made it through the first doctor’s appointment and found the heartbeat. “They couldn’t find the heartbeat at this appointment last time and blamed it on the position of my uterus. Maybe she was already gone.”
We made it through the second ultrasound. “She was gone by this ultrasound. We didn’t get this far last time.”
We made it through the first trimester.
We allowed ourselves to breathe a slight and temporary sigh of relief.
Right after that deep exhale, I was back to being overly cautious, but maybe infused with a little bit of optimism. That’s where I am now. Lost between gratitude, hope, and happiness on one side and chronically thinking and expecting the worse on the other side. Some days I lean more towards one than the other, but it varies. Only when I am holding the baby will I ever feel truly at peace, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve to be happy over this right now. I took weekly bump pictures with Caroline, happily ate my weight in McDonald’s with Oliver– I need to find peace and contentment with this pregnancy. To truly enjoy pregnancy again.
Sometimes I need that reminder from myself and sometimes I need that reminder from others. Announcing the pregnancy on social media was a big milestone. Once that picture was posted, there was no turning back. There was no avoiding the conversation, hiding my belly or dodging questions. People expected a glowing and elated pregnant woman and I wanted to be that. There was something about posting that picture to the world that allowed some chains of guilt to be removed. There is a duality to my emotions and that’s okay.
You can be happy, but still worried.
Worried, but excited.
Excited, but cautious.
Looking forward, but remembering the past.
I’m ready to embrace the rainbow.