My rainbow baby Brooks is now four months old and is doing amazing. He’s rolling, laughing, and baby-talking nonstop. It’s amazing watching him grow. I always catch myself thinking, how do I make room for Emmett and Wyatt? How do I have such a busy day caring for Brooks that I feel like I forgot about my angel babies that day? How do I not live my life in fear of losing another baby?

Baby Brooks - Parenting after loss: Holding all the feelings

Author’s Personal Collection/Janet Espey

A lot of people who haven’t been through the trauma of losing a baby will have their opinions that you have to live with or bury the grief and trauma of losing your babies simply because your living child/children need you.

I don’t want that to be my reality. My heart is big enough for all three of them. It’s big enough to be caring and present with Brooks but also giving in to my grief sometimes. It’s big enough to love all three of them, even if Emmett and Wyatt aren’t here. I’m allowed to still have bad days no matter how long it’s been, even if most days are bad days. I am allowed to be a “helicopter” parent to Brooks because I don’t want to go through losing another baby, even if it’s just in my head. Everyone says, He’s here, he’s healthy, you’re safe. Don’t stress about the small things, and don’t worry about everything.” I do have hope that that is true, but it is still extremely hard not to be on the defense, thinking everything is going to make me lose him, and they don’t get that. They haven’t lived your worst nightmare as a parent.

I’m allowed to be both happy and sad when Brooks hits a milestone–happy because my boy is growing and doing amazing and sad because Emmett and Wyatt will never get the chance to do that.

Baby Brooks - Parenting after loss: Holding all the feelings

Author’s Personal Collection/Janet Espey

When you’re pregnant after loss, parenting after loss, or even trying to conceive after a loss, it’s a battle every single day between happiness and sadness. Between being excited and being nervous. Between being content and feeling guilty.

I made myself think for the longest time that I could either be happy or sad and realized you can really be both. It’s okay to have days where you’re so happy and loving your life that you don’t feel sad. It’s also okay for some days to let yourself feel the grief and be sad.

When you lose a child, a part of you does go with them, and you gain another part when you have your rainbow baby. It’s amazing to feel the happiness and the love of a baby, but a part of you will always be missing.

Twins' urn sitting on shelf with loss figurines - Parenting after loss: Holding all the feelings

Author’s Personal Collection/Janet Espey

I will always sit in the living room playing with my Brooks while Emmett and Wyatt’s urn is on the shelf. In a way, I have them all home with me, and that brings me some kind of comfort.

As much as people who haven’t gone through it try to understand the mental, emotional, and even physical burden of losing a baby, pregnancy after loss, or parenting after the loss, they can’t. It’s something you don’t get until you do.

Baby Brooks wearing bodysuit that says, "After every storm there's a rainbow of hope. Here I am. Parenting after loss: Holding all the feelings

Author’s Personal Collection/Janet Espey

The last couple of months have been about healing for me and finding a way to combine my grief and love for my angel babies with my happiness and love for my rainbow baby and learning what that looks like. I helped myself realize in the last few months that it is hard, it is going to be so hard to do this.

Every day is different.

You don’t have all of the answers; you take it day by day, emotion by emotion, and I am conquering it as best as I can.

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