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?