My best friend delivered a healthy baby girl this morning. She and I have been through a lot together over the last two years, her having experienced her own pregnancy loss and infertility journey. I was feeling pretty proud of myself all day yesterday that rather than feeling sorry for myself and the loss of my own baby girl, that I was excited for her. She was finally becoming a mother to a baby that would get to come home with her! It sounds so cliche but it really is a life changing, defining moment. In fact I'm not sure there's any other joyous event in life that even compares.
But when I received a text from her at 4:30 this morning announcing the birth, suddenly I felt robbed as I realized the birth of a healthy baby is no longer my reality.
Pregnancy loss robs you of so many things. The greatest loss is of course the life of your child, but there are so many other things you lose that you never realize right away.
Sometimes you lose friends and family members who either don't acknowledge your loss as being significant, or it makes them too uncomfortable to acknowledge or talk about. I need to surround myself with people who are comfortable it the topic comes up. I need to be around people who let me acknowledge them as my children and not my "miscarriages".
Sometimes, you lose hope and faith. Will we ever bring home a baby again? Why has God put us on this path? Why do my babies die?
And sometimes, you lose that naive state of pregnancy being that pregnancy=baby. When we see our loved ones announce a pregnancy, there's a very confusing mix of emotions. For me personally, it's not that I'm not thrilled for them because I am. But I'm also very envious. And I'm also terrified for them. I don't want to see them experience what we've been through. I don't want them to have to understand this. But because of what we've been through, to me, pregnancy=loss.
This morning I realized yet another thing that I've been robbed of. I don't remember that joy of having my newborn baby placed in my arms for the first time. I certainly feel joy at having my children, looking at them and loving them. But I honestly can't remember what that joy felt like when they were born because so much has happened since then. When I think of my birth experiences, the first emotion that comes to mind is the sorrow and the pain of holding my teeny tiny babies who didn't make it. I don't remember the late night feedings as we learned to nurse, I remember the late nights of empty, aching arms in the hospital. I don't remember the nervous excitement as we brought home our baby, I remember the crushing pain as I left the hospital without my baby. When I try to remember, I only end up feeling even more robbed that I didn't get that and I'm filled with longing to have the chance to realize that again.
I feel of all the random things I've been robbed of, this one has me the most angry. The birth of my living children was so special and someday, I do think I'll be able to remember that happy feeling better as the raw pain of our losses fades. But I'm mad that for now, it's so overshadowed.
Hope and joy. Two things that represent so much in our lives and it's so easy to lose sight of them in the midst of sorrow and pain. Stolen right out from under our hearts.
But as the saying goes:
Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up.
And it's my personal belief that when you find hope, there you will also find joy.