A lot of women have a very difficult time connecting with their babies when they become pregnant after experiencing a traumatic loss. In an effort to protect themselves from becoming too attached they remain distant and refrain from bonding. This is not an act of a cold, unloving mother. This is an act of a mother who knows how devastating it feels to lose their baby. This is an act of a mother who loves her babies so much that the thought of going through another loss is unbearable. This is also an act of a mother who has hope enough to try again.
I lost my daughter Aisley at 41 weeks during childbirth on August 5th, 2012. Losing her was excruciatingly painful. It still hurts today. When I became pregnant with my son in April of 2013 my first thought was to temper my excitement. I didn’t want to imagine losing my son as well so it seemed like emptying my mind and detaching was the best option. I felt I had to remain realistic and accept that I could lose him as well.
As time passed I found myself instinctually connecting with my son. I knew I already loved him. There was no way to deny it. Besides, if I were able to successfully distance myself during the pregnancy, would I really be spared any pain if he died? Of course not. No matter what, I would be absolutely devastated, just as I was when I lost his sister. It was that thought that helped me realize that I needed to allow myself to connect.
So I did.
I sang to my son. I told him stories. I beamed at ultrasounds and hung pictures on my refrigerator. I rubbed my belly all the time and savored every punch and kick. I bought baby clothes and painted watercolor pictures for him. I gave him the same attention, love and adoration that I had given my daughter because he deserved it. If tragedy struck again and my time with him was going to be brief I wanted every moment to be the best it could be. I wanted him to know how much I loved him.
There were many mentally and emotionally challenging moments during the pregnancy. There were times I felt crippled with fear, terrified of losing him. To cope I accepted every feeling I had and felt them full force. I slowed my breathing and I cried until I felt myself calm into a meditative state. I talked to my son in my belly and my daughter in my heart and I found a strange sense of comfort from them. My babies actually helped me get through some of the most frightening instances of my pregnancy.
Here is my advice for you, brave mamas. Don’t hold back. Bond with your baby right now, right this instant. Put your hand on your belly and tell them how much you love them. Allow yourself to attach and connect because they deserve it…and so do you.
I thought hearing the words “would you like to hold her as she passes?” Were the scariest and hardest time in my life. In all honesty, it was…until i realized just two and a half months later I was expecting our second child, and that this one would be due 3 days before our angel baby was born. The mix of emotions was terrifying, i didnt know if i should be happy, wasnt sure if it was right to be happy so soon after our loss. I was scared of the same thing happening to this baby as did our Daughter…..I was scared to tell my SO. I kept thinking about how all the firsts i would experince with this one would be things i couldnt do with my first, like holding for the first time and getting to hear the sweetness of their cry, i was so afraid to be happy about it because i only held my daughter while she lived long enough for her to pass away, never heard her cry and never got to kiss her sweet little cheeks while they were still warm. I felt it would be so wrong to be happy and excited about holding this baby for the first time because it wasnt fair to my baby girl. But i remembered a dream i had on the way home from the hospital the day she passed…….I remember falling asleep wishing i could have held her longer, When I fell into that sleep there I sat, in the exact same spot as before, holding my daughter the exact same way….but it wasnt the same….she was healed, no tape, no tubes, no defects, no nothing. She was looking up at me with eyes wide open and smiling as she reached for the strands of loose hair near my face. I remembered the feeling if complete happiness and peace like there had never been anything to be sad about. In this dream I can still so vividly recall hearing laughter and the flash of butterflys. And then the feeling if joy and a name…….Allie Nicole Stephens. With a smile still on her face I woke from the dream realizing my angel had told me she liked butterflies and wanted her baby sister to be called Allie Nicole. When i was so full of doubt and fear over this pregnancy, a clise friend reminded me that my daughter wants me to be happy and wouldnt have come to me in my dream if she didnt want us to give her siblings. She wouldnt want me to be fearful of what is fair to her and what isnt because this baby should be given no less than what she would have gotten. So everytime i get scared i thibk back to that dream and can smile and be happy. Though there is still fear in the back of my mind and im scared to death of what these next few months hold…..I know Im ok and this baby is ok and we will be just fine…..i realized i couldnt let fear and guilt hold me back and keep me from experiencing the joy every woman should have at the news of a baby on they way.
On April 2nd 2013 I was about 8 weeks and 4 days pregnant when we found out we had lost our first child…a short month later on May 8th we found out we were pregnant again and we were so excited! About to be married in exactly a month away on June 8th! We went in on the 24th of August (two days after my birthday) to find out the gender of our little precious baby. We had a few of our close family members with us to share this experince together, when we found out our baby had Multi cystic displactic kidney. He only had his left kiddney and the doctors said there was no way he would live past 25 weeks in the womb. One doctor suggested that I come in the next morning to terminate the pregnancy…of course I denied and left his office right then and there. I went on hoping and praying that our baby would be a miracle…On January 8th 2014 Kade Ryan Clark made his entrance into the world at 38 weeks when I gave birth by c-section. He weighed 4 lbs 11 oz and 21 inches long and lived a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes, born at 11:15 am on a wednesday morning. He held on and let us love on him and so many people were there to love on him and tell him how much they loved them. We never knew if our baby would be a boy or girl until birth because I had near to no amniotic fluids so he didnt move for the US tech. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid my eyes on. We waited over 8 months to try again and let my body heal..we got pregnant again and at almost 7 weeks we miscarried again on September 14th 2014. We arent giving up, we are going to try once more before getting more testing done to see whats going on. Keep your fingers crossed and your prayers are accepted. ♡
Thanks so much for sharing your journey. We had a stillborn daughter, Faith, in October of 2011. Since I was only 21 weeks my doctor encouraged us to try again at 3 months and we surprised ourselves and got pregnant right away. Our son was born 10 days before the anniversary of our daughter’s birth. I struggled to bond with him during the pregnancy and after a traumatic birth for both of us I ended up with PPD and it definitely took a while for us to bond. My second son was born in August and I feel like I finally got to experience what pregnancy and birth are supposed to feel like. My anxiety was much lower throughout the pregnancy and I bonded with him quickly both during the pregnancy and after his birth. I still feel like I missed out on a lot with my first son but having my second has continued to draw me closer to my older son. I am so grateful for both of my healthy boys, but I will always miss my daughter and struggle with letting go of my desire to overprotect my boys. The wounds of losing our children continue to thicken into scar tissue but they never go away completely.
On May 6th 2010 I gave birth to my son Maddex. I was only 26 wks along at the time but I knew from wks 12 it was not likely he would survive. I didn’t get to hold him until he was already gone, I never got to hear him cry. About a year later I found out I was expecting again. The pregnancy was terrifying. Every ultrasound I expected something to be wrong. It didn’t matter how many times I was told my baby was healthy. I never believed it. The moment she was born and I heard that cry I could not contain my joy. It was like the ending of a nightmare. I needed that healthy baby girl to heal my heart. And she still does to this day. I have never loved or appreciated life more.