So, we’re pregnant! And we’re very happy about it too.
We’re due in August, which is always a tough month for me so we will see if having another baby share that birth month will make it easier, harder or just another new magical complicated mess of feelings like so much of life already tends to be.
An August due date also means that the spacing between our kids are all exactly 2 and a half years apart… Because of this, I’ve had another new facet of my grief present itself. It’s an interesting and complicated experience, this parenting after a loss, and it is ever evolving and bringing up new things.
With this new pregnancy falling exactly the same distance as that distance between the boys and Kate’s pregnancies, I am now experiencing the symptoms and things while parenting a nearly 2 year old- the same age my boys would have been while I was going through these stages in Kate’s pregnancy. I’m experiencing new things, like her little toddler self fake-heaving into the toilet in imitation of me, and calling the little ultrasound picture a “moon” because that’s what it looks like to her little self. I’m experiencing these things in a mixed emotion of amusement, and grief in wondering what my two toddler boys might have been like at that age themselves.
It’s all confusion though because they’d actually be even older than all that now, and so I’m missing these stages and things retrospectively. I miss things currently that I consider or wonder about my 4 and a half year old boys, but I imagine that when miss Kate is 4 and a half herself, there will suddenly be a new list of things that I will realize I’d missed with them as well… And then one day when we have a little boy going through all the stages there will be another new list.
Rainbow babies are this complex package of hope, joy, fulfillment, and grief all rolled into one little being.
Some don’t realize the lingering grief and complicated parenting experience that many loss parents go through. It can be easy to see the highlights, and assume that after the new baby is born, everything is ‘fixed’ or something like that. But a rainbow baby is not a replacement, and the grief doesn’t disappear. I do feel that it can become easier to bear over all, but there are still moments, or times that are burdened with the wondering and the missing.
The further away we get from the birth of my boys, the more worried I feel that the people I know don’t know them, or that the life I lead doesn’t include them. Even 4 and a half years later, there is not a day that I don’t think of them. There is not a special occasion that goes by that I don’t wonder what they might be doing with us.
And it’s become easier to remember that nothing would be the same, and that even though it seemed impossible when their loss was still so fresh, I am now thankful to have had them and the experience we had with them. Would I love it if I could have kept them and raised them, YES!! But, I feel that the time and space and experience has shown me what the Lord may have been giving me in allowing me to be the vessel to give my sons bodies.
Even though they were needed for some important work that I cannot understand, I can be thankful for the time I was given to feel those dancing little bodies moving and growing inside me. I can be thankful for the hours we spent holding their perfect selves after birth, and for the times I’ve felt those angels with me in the years since. I can be thankful for the path that those boys set me on, and thankful for the new sibling that is being sent to us.