In the world of loss and subsequent pregnancies, we moms often deal with guilt. There’s consuming sadness that our family at face-value doesn’t match what it is at heart-value. There’s sometimes a nagging heaviness that we could’ve done something differently or should’ve known sooner. There’s a new element of motherhood that a majority of the population doesn’t deal with every minute of the day, and we have to learn to navigate through these unfavorable aspects.

At some point, in a fleeting moment of amnesia, we have an encounter with normalcy. We just feel pregnant and happy, or excited, or expectant. Quickly, we whisk those good feelings away, and either unintentionally or in a way to punish ourselves, replace those thoughts with fear, anxiety, and considerations that we may in fact lose another child.

How unkind to do this to ourselves. After all we’ve been through, aren’t a few seconds of “okayness” permissible?

Here’s the deal. The outcome of our subsequent pregnancies are as unsure as any other. The odds are what they are, and for the people like myself who believe in destiny, what’s going to happen is going to happen with or without our added fret. My point is, it is okay to have a good day. To be excited. To hope. To dream and to believe. Best case scenario is we weren’t robbed of a sacred pregnancy experience. And in the horrible event where things don’t pan out as we had hoped, we can reflect and always know how celebrated and honored every baby we’ve carried has been.

Addressing that isn’t easy, but let’s be real. If you are a bereaved mom and you are pregnant again, you’ve already thought about the worst that can happen. I don’t think we can just focus on good things and good vibes and we will have a good outcome; many of us wouldn’t even know grief if that was the case. I just mean that life is short. We all have carried that reminder in our wombs. It’s not fair for our trauma to rob us of everything. So my simple advice is: take a bump pic, sing to the baby in your belly, enjoy a swim, do a maternity photo shoot, and write a love letter to your child dated for the future. Do the things you maternally feel like doing. Two things you will never regret is loving and making memories with your child.

I write this in my second rainbow pregnancy, having spent the first in an ice box of trauma, refusing to hope and reliving hell every chance I got. I write this now, after having allowed myself to experience some good moments. As expected, I still struggle with intrusive and unwanted visions from time to time. I will forever be able to recall and remember the tragedy and the horrifying details that led up to and followed the death of my baby. I just strive to recall a little less frequently and live a little more intentionally. It’s okay to smile momma, in all the heartbroken glory. Good times don’t diminish the love of the children we will never fully get to experience. They just help life be a little more gentle as we venture on through.

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