I am sure this is a topic that will be written on often here. It is one of the inevitable questions we all receive, and like so many other aspects of this journey, it becomes a little tougher when you are expecting your rainbow baby.
How many kids do you have? What number does this baby make? I always like to imagine seeing the look on someone's face when I am with Colton and Ethan, and they ask me those questions. If I answer baby number 5, I am sure they would gasp. They would probably whisper about me to the person they were with, thinking I must not know how to keep my legs shut. Or they would simply ask where the other two are, how old they are, and if they were boys or girls.
I will probably often stick to a simple answer that will bring only a smile. This will be my third baby to enjoy, I hope. Or something along those lines. I feel very protective of Lucas and Caleb. Only those who are going to be close to me are privileged enough to know about them. It took me 10 months to tell the PTA board, people I see several times a month, about them. And even then it was hard. I still didn't feel ready, or all them deserving. My babies are precious to me. Their memories and ashes are all I have here of them. But then, how do you backtrack and announce your Heavenly babies? "You know, a year ago when I met you, I said I had two kids? Well actually I had four then but two died, and we are expecting number 5."
I thought these question would become easier after conceiving Cinco. Instead they are harder in ways. We're expecting another baby, yes. But I don't feel like I can say we're having another baby. I can't put into words my lack of excitement as I talk about expecting another, without introducing Lucas and Caleb. And still I feel like some might look at me as being ungrateful, unappreciative because I'm not announcing from the rooftops with glee. They probably can't see how tight I am holding onto this baby, how long I hoped and prayed for this baby. And how I know all too well how fragile this little life inside of me truly is.
I get all these comments now about having a third baby. How a third child changes everything. And at times, I just want to scream out, "Well, I should have skipped number three and gone from two to four." But I just smile and nod. I know so many don't even know the depth of what they are saying. I get that, but it is still frustrating at times. Yes, Cinco will, hopefully, be my third living child. But she/he will always be my fifth baby.
How do you talk about the number of children you have? Has it changed since you've conceived or delivered your rainbow baby? How do you feel when others don't know about your missing child(ren), and they comment on having X number of kids?
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
When I was pregnant with Bennett I felt like I had to be grateful for every moment. I greeted every positive doctor appointment, every ultrasound that went well, every time I heard the heart beat with joy, but there were moments - like the days when I threw up five or six times - when I was not grateful, and I always felt guilty about that.
After he was born I felt the same pressure: be grateful, be happy he's here, enjoy every single moment with him in case it is your last. Before too long the pressure to feel happy every single second of the day overwhelmed me. There were days - there are days - when I'm tired, Bennett is fussy, and I need a break.
I've learned that doesn't mean I don't love or appreciate him. It means I'm human, a mama, trying to find my place in a world where I hold one baby while I miss the other.
I wish I would have granted myself a bit of grace during my pregnancy. Grace and space. Space to feel whatever I needed to feel, even if sometimes those feelings seemed wrong. I know it's frustrating to hear pregnant women complain about being pregnant. After Charlotte died I wanted to tell every pregnant woman and mama who complained, "I'll take your kids. You clearly don't appreciate them enough."
Now that I'm on the other side I realize sometimes mamas need to vent. Being pregnant is tiring, being a mama is exhausting. Don't get me wrong, motherhood is much more than that. It's wonderful, sweet, and amazing, but layered in with the good is a fair amount of frustration and exhaustion too.
During my pregnancy with Bennett I was in a constant state of stress and worry. I felt as if I had been pregnant forever. I wanted to reach the end, be done with pregnancy for a while, hold a living baby in my arms, be past the scary moments after birth when his sister had passed.
And now that he's here there are some days when I'm ready to put him to bed. When I need a few moments on the couch while dusk gathers and spreads itself out until it becomes darkness to breathe, regroup, and relax.
I've realized I don't have to be grateful for every.single.moment. I can appreciate and love Bennett. I can be thankful he has restored joy and hope to my life. I can rock him to sleep at night with love and thankfulness, knowing I hold him a little tighter because I know what it's like to wish and long for a dark nursery and a sleepy baby to cuddle. But I don't have to feel guilty when I experience normal mama moments. I don't have to regret any moments of frustration I had while pregnant.
I've learned I can put the idea of whether or not I am grateful enough aside and focus on love. Bennett was created with love, carried with love, and he is parented with love. That's enough, it always was.
Do you feel like you have to be grateful for your rainbow pregnancy? Do you worry you aren't grateful enough? Are you concerned about attaching to, or loving, your rainbow baby because you are scared and overwhelmed? What are your thoughts on pregnancy after loss, parenting after loss and gratitude?