I have always (in my adult years) believed that these two cannot reside in the same space, they are opposite forces so you cannot hold one if you are in the midst of another. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real and Faith is the ability believe in something that you cannot yet see. Both are beliefs, both require a ton of energy.
I have tried, am trying, and will continue to try to sit in faith that all is well with this baby. It is my constant struggle. I feel this baby move in my belly and I want to believe with all my heart that there is nothing but perfection growing inside me which I know to be true because my other two babies were also perfection. But, then again, one of my perfect babies died.
The fear that lives inside my soul runs deeper than I can explain in words. My daughter whom I carried under my heart and in my arms, who I loved and love, died as we held her. It is terrifying, it is overwhelming, it is nothing I want to re-live ever again. And so, for the most part, my fear is best kept at bay. When it rises, I work through it. When I know I am being neurotic, unreasonable and illogical I acknowledge that I am experiencing fear and process it, giving honor to the work that I have done on my heart while also accepting that this work may never fully be done. How could you ever be done processing that your child has died? You can't. You absolutely can be healthy and live in this world again and even find joy in your heart again, but there is no understanding or rationalizing the death of your baby.
In normal life, I can manage. I can talk myself out of the irrational fears that I hold regarding Reid and the potential unsafe situations that could befall him. I remind myself that he is safe and I do not project my fear into him, that is my burden to bear, not his to carry. But this pregnancy, as was with Reid's, is traumatic in ways that I wish I never had to experience, both for me and this baby.
Being pregnant when your baby has died, is like being in the same car accident and knowing the outcome but expecting different results. It is putting your whole faith and trust into something that you have already bet on but lost, and hoping that this time is different. It's truly not fair. Not for me and not for this baby.
I am spending the last days of this pregnancy wanting this baby to arrive so fervently that I am not even enjoying the miracle that this life brings. I love being pregnant, I even love giving birth and I am letting my fear steal that joy from me. This is my last baby, I want to savor this time, these kicks, these special moments that I hold this baby before anyone else in the world gets to meet him/her. I already know this baby, right now this baby is mine and soon enough I will have to share and I want to treasure this special time. But, I also need to acknowledge aloud that this fear is real.
I wish that others could acknowledge this fear with me. I am tired of the check-ins and small talk of this pregnancy. The daily messages that are innocent and kind but ultimately feel stressful. It's not that I don't appreciate them, I am just tired, also anxious, emotional and hormonal. I am anxious, too... Yes, I am huge. No, I am not overdue. Of course, I am ready. All that chitter chatter just mounts my anxiety of the real words that I want to hear.
"I am scared, too."
"I hold the space for you."
"I am hoping for life with you."
"I don't know if it will be ok, but I love you."
I am not (really) physically uncomfortable. I am not "over" this pregnancy yet. If I could be certain that the outcome is positive then I would actually want a little more time in this sacred place of growing a human. But ultimately, I just want to know that this baby will survive delivery and be healthy to live a long life that we have imagined in our family. I also want to feel sane. Not be reassured that everything will be ok when there is not one person (other than this baby) who can know that for sure. And for that, I must wait.
As we have been for months, I am still waiting....
Hidden in that space of wanting you here so badly is the fear. The fear that you are too large for my body to birth, the fear that I will not open enough for you to fit, the fear of you being unhealthy or dying. I am walking a tightrope of faith and fear right now.
Strangers ask me 100 questions that the billboard of my belly cannot answer so it fills this empty void of silence everywhere; in a grocery store, the bank, the pool, the gym, the locker room shower.
"How may weeks are you?"
"Is this your first?"
"Do you know the gender?"
All questions that I am curious to know when I stumble upon a beautiful pregnant mama, but in my life I have learned to smile at her while silently wishing her peace and a living and healthy baby.
It's not that these questions are anything but naive conversation, but it forces me to be taken out of the present moment to be thrusted into the future, a place that is not guaranteed.. Living in the present is the only space I have control over and any thoughts to this baby's birth and imagining baby at home feel like dejavu, and propels me back to the time in my life where pregnancy equaled life with a baby at home & quite honestly to remember that space traumatizes me.
It's so difficult for others to picture a glimpse into this time, the weight of it, how keeping my composure is a moment by moment task. But I am here, I am present, I am working minute by minute to prepare my body, mind and soul the job that lay ahead, labor and delivery.
My heart is ready for you sweet baby. My chests longs to feel the weight of your beating heart, and I am scared. I am scared I won't get to keep you. I am scared that something is wrong or that your birth will be harmful. What I want to feel is full faith that I am capable to birth you, that you will fit my body perfectly and that you are as anxious to meet me as I am to meet you. .
These waiting days are hard. I have survived the worst, I am waiting to celebrate the best. I hope it's my turn to experience a peaceful delivery this time.
Today is marked as International Bereaved Mothers Day and I just don't identify with it. I am a mother. Period. The moment a woman decides they want to be a mom, the day she starts preparing her body to create another, she becomes a mom. When that baby is in her belly, she is a mom. When that baby is born, she is a mom. If that baby dies, she continues to be a mom. We are all different, special, unique mothers, some with our babies in our arms, some with our babies in our hearts and some with our babies in our hopes and dreams.
While I was pregnant with Ruthie Lou and even before either of my children were born, I wanted to be acknowledged on MOTHER'S Day, the day for moms. We are all already so diverse and unique in our journeys to become moms, what type of mothers we are and how we parent, that having an entire day to separate those who are bereaved the takes away from the inclusion that I want to feel on Mother's Day. I want to be acknowledged for all of my children on Mothers Day, I don't want to be made to feel different because one of my children died. It is already isolating enough to be a bereaved parent, I don't want to then also be highlighted for the fact that my child died when what I really want people to remember about Ruthie Lou is that she lived, that I am proud of her, the ultimately SHE made me a mom. She made my dreams come true, and although this is not what u ever would've wished for, I want her story to be one of love, not a sadness.
There was a time when the narrative in my head was that I was the mom whose baby died, I couldn't see beyond that pain. As time has progressed and I have worked and worked and worked my grief, that is no longer the story I live. I don't know anyone whose life has turned out exactly as they imagined it, without loss, without sadness, or grief. There will always be parts of our life that we wish were different, but I don't let that consume me, instead I let it create me. I am a mother, a wife, a teacher, an entrepreneur, a writer, an athlete, a lover of life and in all of those parts of me there are stories that I have lived, good and bad and I choose to learn from all of them.
I am a survivor. I live a full life. I am living the life I always wanted, even with this broken heart forever missing my child. I am living this life to the best of my ability because of my love for her, for my family, for myself.
As a mom whose child died, I already feel on the outside of those who can hug all their babies at night-I don't want a separate day acknowledging my child died, I want her celebrated each and every day because she lived. She is always included in our family every day, please remember include her in your well wishes to me next Sunday, on Mothers Day too.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.