Thursday, March 23, 2017

happiness

A few of my friends that have experienced pregnancy/infant loss have recently asked me what it's really like having a rainbow baby. Does she fill the void? Am I happy? Have I had any postpartum depression?

Here's the best way I can describe it: Faye has glued the pieces of my broken heart back together, just with the pieces in different places than they originally were. My heart finally feels whole again, but it will never be exactly the same as it was before my miscarriage and abortion. Let's be honest, I'm not the same, but I am still really really happy.


Faye is 2 months old today and I can't believe how fast time is flying. The first few weeks of Faye's life felt really surreal. I had waited so long for her that it almost felt like it wasn't possible that she was here and healthy. I think because of that, I had some trouble bonding with her at first. It was hard to open my heart again and welcome in happiness. At about 3 weeks, I finally stopped resisting and let down my walls, and let me tell you, it has felt so good to let her in. It feels so good to feel happy again.


Given what we've gone through, I've tried to be very honest, aware and proactive with my emotional state. I was on high alert for postpartum depression because I had such a hard time emotionally during my pregnancy. Luckily, I haven't had any signs of it yet. I'm actually surprised with how relaxed I've been with her. I can see the joy she brings to my husband and son, too. It's the most amazing thing to watch. 


I won't lie to you, having a newborn is still really hard. No matter what road led you here, it's hard. But I can tell I appreciate it all so much more this time around. With Joe, I felt a lot of pressure to get him on a schedule and get him sleeping through the night. It felt like the amount of hours he consistently slept in 1 night equated to how good I was at parenting. I don't feel like that this time. I think that's partially because of what I've gone through, but also because I know how short lived all of it is. In a blink of an eye, Joe now sleeps in big boy underwear in a big boy bed for 10 hours at a time. I couldn't wait to get to this point, and now that it's here, I wish he still fell asleep on my chest, was still contained in a crib and still needed me like he used to. So now, I'm just trying my best to enjoy each phase as it comes.


While 2nd time parenting overall has been easier, becoming a new parent again after loss has had its own unique challenges. Part of me wants to close my eyes, forget everything that happened and just enjoy this little miracle God has brought us. But, that's impossible. Faye grabs my Grace necklace a lot and squeezes it so tight that I literally have to pry it out of her hands. And sometimes I feel the exact same way. My two losses can't and won't be forgotten -- they are what brought me this beautiful baby I have in my arms. 


This might sound crazy (who am I kidding, most of what I write about probably sounds crazy), but I do feel guilty for feeling happy. I feel guilty talking about being happy, and I feel guilty right now for writing about being happy. I have made so many connections and friends because of my miscarriage and termination, and I have leaned on them heavily these past 2 years for support. Some of them have already gone on to have their rainbow babies, but many of them have not. They have all been so supportive and happy for me, but I do feel bad talking about Faye and the joy that she brings when I know they are still struggling. I've also felt guilty about having 2 healthy children when I was so close to having a child with disabilities. Maybe that part isn't guilt exactly, but there are definitely some complex emotions around it. Let's just say I don't take any of it for granted.


To those friends currently experiencing loss, who are struggling to conceive or are currently pregnant with their rainbow babies, I'll keep holding onto hope for you. I hope you know that I haven't left you behind. I pray that happiness is just around the corner for you, too. Love to you. <3






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