I had no idea what to expect of myself after Zoe’s arrival, so I tried to be prepared for whatever might come. Emotionally I’ve been able to stay stable (mostly), which has actually surprised me; my track record hasn’t always been the best when it comes to handling major life changes.
A few weeks after we were married, my husband came home to find me a weepy mess. I was able to explain- through broken sobs- that all I wanted was to be back in my room at my parents’ home, surrounded by my familiar things, and sleep in my bed alone. Eventually Derek was able to calm me down enough to take me out for frozen yogurt to cheer me up, and thankfully he wasn’t completely freaked out by my meltdown.
After Toby was born I struggled with postpartum depression largely because I was overwhelmed with the sudden thrust into motherhood. I remember once being at the store and all of a sudden I started crying, for no apparent reason. Looking back I know it was emotional exhaustion.
The time following Zuri’s death was probably the worse; the overwhelming grief and sadness was so intense. At one point I considered admitting myself into rehab because I just didn’t feel like I could cope.
I knew that things would be challenging after Zoe came along not only because of the nature of her being a baby after losses, but also because of the adjustment period that comes with bringing a new baby home.
In the last few weeks leading up to her arrival, I tried hard to consider every possible emotion I might feel once Zoe was born. I made sure to consider the positive and the not-so-positive. Above all I wanted to make sure that there was room for acceptance no matter what I was feeling. I tend to be really bad at validating my own feelings, and I knew that the season of bringing home my rainbow baby would be the worst time to hard on myself. I knew there would be a “moment” when all of the feelings would manifest in some way; I just didn’t know when that would be or what would trigger it.
The “moment” came when we came home from the hospital. I think it was triggered because the last time I came home from the hospital after having a baby everything was the same: my house had been cleaned for me, there a little basket of goodies waiting in the kitchen, and my world was different. Only this time, I did have a baby in my arms. It was surreal. I cried and cried with Zoe in my arms while my husband held me. And then I was ok.
Zoe is ten weeks old now but I know that there is still plenty of time for more “moments”. But if I’ve learned anything on this journey of life after loss, it’s the importance of being kind to myself. I don’t know when, why, or what will trigger another “moment”, but when it comes I hope I can do my best to allow myself to just feel whatever comes.