To my friends and loved ones, thank you so much for supporting me during my pregnancy after loss. Now that my baby is here, there are a few things I need you to know.
I might be gone for a while.
Bringing home a new baby is a life-changing and sacred experience. Now, double that with bringing home a baby after your other one dies, and it seems twice as sacred. So, please just give me some time and space to savor these first few days with this new life. I know how precious it is now. Feel free to still stay in touch, send a text or leave a voicemail, better yet drop off a meal (we sure would appreciate it). Just realize I might not respond right away, but don’t worry I’ll get back to you and love you even more for your patience.
I still might have a hard time relating to other moms with living children.
This might seem strange to you now that my baby is here and is thriving, but I still feel different and at times have a hard time connecting with moms who haven’t experienced loss. There just is some disconnect, innocence that I have lost that they seem to have, and sometimes that makes it hard to relate. A good thing to remember is that just because another baby was born, she doesn’t replace the one who died.
I’m still grieving.
You know what, you might think that everything should be better now that I have a living child in my arms, but can I tell you something that is hard to admit? Right now the grief seems even harder. It seemed to resurface and strike with a double punch in the gut this time. Now that the new baby is here I am reminded every day of what I missed with my child who died.
It’s hard to explain, but sometimes I want to think that the baby in my arms is my baby that died. Now I’m not crazy, and I really don’t want that. It’s just confusing at times to hold one baby and miss another. Again it’s hard to explain. If you could please just listen without judgment when I talk about it, that would be great. Don’t worry, I know my dead child is never coming back and that this is a different baby, but it is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that without one there might not be another.
At times I wish I had my other baby.
It’s not that I don’t want this one. Believe me, I have worked as hard as hell to get this baby here healthy and alive. It’s just that I wish my other one wouldn’t have died. What I really want is both. Does that make sense? Just nod your head quietly with empathic eyes, as in yes. I think that is what I need now.
Going back to work was so hard it felt like it intensified my anxiety and grief.
I didn’t want to leave my little one at daycare or with someone else, but the realities of my life are that I need to help make a living for my family. Having to be separated from a child I so longed for is heartbreaking. Right now I need your support in understanding this transition has brought up more fear and grief for me. Help me figure out how to navigate this and maybe just be there to listen. Thanks.
I’m still anxious and fearful.
I’m still really scared. I am having a hard time shaking this anxiety that I carried around for nine months. And, now I know that bad things do happen to good people for no reason, and I’m scared it might happen again. Some of this worry is normal, but if you notice that I start becoming obsessive in my worry thoughts or need to check on baby all the time to the point where I can’t sleep, please remind me that there are professionals out there that can help me determine if this is normal, or if I might be experiencing a postpartum mood or anxiety disorder.
I still need support from other moms like me.
I still need my bereaved mom friends. They get me in a way that no one else ever will. I don’t care if they have had subsequent children or pregnancies or not. I still need them because they get it. They understand. Please support me in still connecting with those who have been there. I hope they are there for life.
I still might not go to your baby shower.
It’s still really hard to go to these events. It’s not that I don’t want you to be happy. It’s just that I live with these weird superstitions now about over-celebrating babies before they arrive. Please don’t be offended if I don’t go. I probably will send a gift for you but not baby. I’m just being superstitious, I guess.
I still check and re-check to see if baby is breathing at night.
I don’t do it to the point that I wake the little bundle of joy up or that I can’t sleep at night, but I do still check often to see if baby is breathing. I think I will until this little one graduates and moves out.
I still miss my baby that died.
I still miss everything that could have, should have, and would have been. Those thoughts don’t go away. They are still there. Also, I don’t want to forget her. I want to remember her, and sometimes remembering someone who is gone turns out to be in the form of missing. Missing my baby is okay with me.
I have a hard time trusting or letting anyone else hold my baby.
I think this is normal for most moms after a baby is born. But, after what I have been through, please understand that it makes me nervous to let others hold and touch my baby. So when you come to visit, just please ask nicely to hold the little one, and maybe sit next to me and notice how I am doing with sharing babe.