With no surprise, the death of my son changed my life in so many ways. The overflow of stolen moments immediately consumed my mind when I heard he was gone. I’ll never hold his hand on the first day of school or kiss a scraped knee during playtime. I’ll never see him get married or have a family of his own. He will never go fishing with his brother or hunting with his daddy. Those moments I knew were taken from us.
But, one thing I did not realize was also stolen was my innocence to tragedy. There are times I find myself physically consumed with envy of an eager new mom, so full of excitement. I watch her as she shops for sweet onesies, never a moment of doubt or fear displayed. For a moment in time that was me. What would it feel like to be pregnant once more and not have fear creep around every corner? I can barely remember the giddy feeling of life within, now so tainted with grief and hurt.
The “safe zone” makes me chuckle. As if when you make it past 12 weeks your baby is magically guaranteed to arrive safely. I wish it was that simple. Though none like to admit, babies die at every gestation, sometimes even when mother and child are completely healthy. Here one day, gone the next. It isn’t fair. People have said to me, “I’m so lucky I had a healthy pregnancy. I can’t imagine going through what you did!” And inside I silently wanted to scream, “I had a healthy pregnancy too!”
What I wouldn’t give to go back to those magical moments of pregnancy bliss when I was unaware of the heartache awaiting me. When I wasn’t too afraid to make a purchase due to the underlying fear of having to return it overshadowing my excitement. How unfair life can be, stealing joy during the most precious of times.
I have often felt guilty, stubborn even. “I won’t let fear run my life. I won’t let anxiety consume my joy.” I say. And just as fear begins to loosen its grip, there it returns with a whisper of “You know it can happen again.”
Pregnancy can be scary. I speak from experience when I say, for a mother pregnant after loss, those nine months can truly seem impossible. If you know of any woman carrying life after loss, please be gentle. Though she may seem like the toughest and strongest woman you know, every day brings a new battle. Hold her, pray for her, love her. She needs you.