I’m embarking on a journey that I’ve been on three times before, but this time feels like the first, only, much more terrifying. I successfully raised my two daughters out of infancy, though that was through no feat of my own. I learned with my third child, my son Leo, that parents have little control over what happens to their children. He was raised in the same safe, loving environment as his sisters and yet, he succumbed to SIDS at 26 days old. We did everything “right” and lost him anyway. My confidence in mothering, among other things, was shattered.

You see, when Leo died, I had to let go of the notion that all babies get to grow up. If I didn’t let that go bitterness would have consumed me. As I learned more about SIDS, my eyes were opened to other losses that I was forced to accept. The losses of other parents weighed heavy on my broken heart. I accepted that, even though I brought all of my children home, not all pregnancies result in a living baby.

Now, as I prepare to bring my rainbow Zoe into the world, I have echoes of Leo’s death and the deaths of other children playing through my mind. This is new to me. When I had my first three, I only wondered if I made the right choices because I thought I was in control. I now know with absolute certainty that I’m not. All I can do is set up the best environment for my kids so that I can rest assured that, if they pass away too, it wasn’t my fault. I’m raising my kids on the defense and the closer I get to bringing Zoe home, the more I realize this.

This is no way to live; it’s no way to raise children.

This morning, I heard a voice in my head; it was the voice of a confident mother, it was me…the old me. But what was she doing in my head? I thought I had lost her the second the doctor told us that Leo “expired” in the hospital on April 11, 2013. She told me that I had a new mantra going into Zoe’s birth. I’m supposed to believe that I will bravely and confidently trust in my body and in myself as a mother so that Zoe is brought into the same world as her older siblings. She assured me that it would be terrifying and will push me beyond the comfort of trying to control my daughters’ environments, and that it’s the only way that Zoe will grow to be the person she was meant to be.

And so, as I wait for contractions to start, I find myself embracing the confident mother more and more. I’m terrified. I’m unsure of myself. I’m an anxious mess. But I’m a confident mother who has learned to accept both desirable and utterly tragic outcomes. I chose to be a better person because of what Leo taught me and because of the way my faith has carried me through this loss and now through this beautiful gift of life. My hope is to be able to say, with more conviction each day, that I am a brave and confident mother.

We all deserve to believe that of ourselves again.

Share this story!