21 Weeks! Baby is the size of a large banana. He is growing! It is truly so amazing how this is all happening. Sometimes, I have to really sit and just say, “WOW, Thank you, God.” It’s a feeling that is so hard to put into words, truly. But, all I can say is that I understand how blessed my husband and me are because there any many other couples that are in the seasoning of waiting, and we were one of those couples as well.

Jasmine's 21-week bump: Healing is Infinite

Author’s Personal Collection/Jasmine Simmons

This is where I have to go much deeper about my mental health because 21 weeks was a very challenging week for me.

Actually, this may have been one of the most challenging weeks for me for many reasons. First, the end of March is the month in which we were told that our first pregnancy was going to end in a miscarriage due to no heartbeat. I truly did not process or think about that during this week at the very start of the week. My week started off with mood swings due to people or certain situations that were making me very upset. I noticed I was holding on to so much rage, more than usual, where I would dwell on everything that was making me mad. It was hard to let go of even if it was a “small” problem. Then, I was experiencing my main physical symptoms of anxiety-muscle twitching that I experienced when I was still carrying my baby for the miscarriage. Even a year later, I still experience this.

When I have the anxiety-muscle twitching, it starts to bring me back to an unsafe place. This is when I start to notice that my body is responding to something. At first, I thought it was because of my moods. But, as I received a memory on my phone, which the iPhone does daily, it showed me sitting on the couch snuggling with my dog and I had a pregnancy book on my lap. I clicked on the picture and it had the month March of 2020.  The flashbacks came rushing in of everything bad that happened after that picture was taken and I broke down. My husband held me while I cried, realizing that my body and mind remembered the trauma. But, why was I not processing it? As a mental health professional myself, it still shocks me that I live with PTSD. The fact I have the physical symptoms does not make it any better either because it’s a reminder of my trauma, and it started to become even more intense as the days went on.

I started to relive the events of our previous loss, which put me in a dark place for a few days that I did not want to be in.

Those days I felt even more disconnected with baby boy because I just felt that I had no sense of control and I just wanted to “be.” I did not want to do anything or force myself to even do anything. What triggered the physical symptoms more for me too is when baby boy wasn’t moving as much. And, anyone that is pregnant after loss knows how scary that can be because it’s a reminder of when your symptoms may have disappeared with previous losses. I started to notice certain behaviors of mine that are a strong indication that my anxiety is at a peak. For example, touching my belly more to feel that baby is there, using the Doppler more often than I usually would. It was all very overwhelming for me, and I felt like I wanted to just break free from it immediately because I know how uncomfortable it is to continue to be in that mind state of fear. What I have learned is that I have to face fear head-on, and I have to sit with my feelings and not try to hold back. When this happened, I did receive more triggers during a therapy session. There was something disclosed that reminded me of past trauma in my childhood that I never processed until I was an adult, which made me breakdown even more.

Going through PTSD is hard and for women who are pregnant after loss. You have all the weight from pregnancy and any further high-risk diagnosis, plus your past trauma that still lingers and causes a great amount of fear and anxiety. It is not easy, and even with our baby boy on the way, no matter how hopeful and faithful I am that he will be here with us, it doesn’t take away the pain I had experienced and another baby that I lost. I am so glad that I am able to still mention her when people ask me if this is my first child. I always say, “Baby Boy will be my first child on earthside, but I was pregnant with our first baby girl and experienced loss.”

Healing is Infinite

Author’s Personal Collection/Jasmine Simmons

Healing is infinite. There is no timeline on when you are to be fully healed.

Experiences we go through can’t be always be forgotten. There are many things we still have to face to reach the full satisfaction of being truly healed. I realize more and more each day that even with my current pregnancy, I am still healing and growing. I am experiencing a new type of joy but also at times going through grief.

Towards the end of the week, I received great news! My licensure has officially changed from Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor to Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Maryland! This completely made my week. I was able to take a break from the weight of PTSD and remember how huge this accomplishment was for me, due to the fact that I struggled to pass my licensure exam back in 2017-2018 and have a testimony with that too. Being a mental health therapist and a mother were the main focuses of my life and to actually have both of them at the same time is truly amazing. As a clinical professional, I can now practice independently. I realize how my healing is going to not only help me but also help guide my clients through similar situations, which brings me a great amount of peace.

Jasmine's 21-week bump: Healing is Infinite

Author’s Personal Collection/Jasmine Simmons

As I continue to go through this journey of healing, I am also going through this journey of carrying our rainbow baby. Our baby will also have a testimony to share, how was a pure miracle, and what it took to bring him here. Every time I look at my bump, I smile knowing how much love our baby is going to receive when he is here and what amazing parents Nick and I will be.

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