Planning is something that women in “normal” pregnancy do with joy. They adore picking out the right bedroom set, stroller, car seat, clothes. They will look at everything and picture their baby who is GOING to be born alive, be a part of all of these items. But, planning during pregnancy after loss is significantly more complicated.
I look at everything wondering, should I get it now? Or wait until I know this will stick? I am in no real rush, it will be fine. However, I have people asking me if I want their old pack n play, bouncers, etc. All I can think about is that if I get these items, it will jinx my pregnancy. I will somehow bring a curse on myself of dooming this baby to not live.
In the practice of Mindfulness there is the emotional brain and the logical brain, when you are mindful you are engaging BOTH to know the truth.
I am not sure how many of you will understand this, but I have a battle between both brains, CONSTANTLY. My emotional brain will say something like, “You should not have gone for that walk, it is obviously going to end this pregnancy.” While the logical brain chimes in with, “Don’t be a nitwit, that doesn’t even make sense. You are fine, walks are healthy! Keep it up!” Everyday I have these two sides arguing with what is real and what is not. My therapist would be proud that I am recognizing that one is drawn on emotion, usually fear. The other logic and reason that balances the fear and sadness. Some may call this their Devil and Angel talking to them, I call them emotion and logic.
When it comes to planning, I have to listen carefully to find out who is speaking and what is real. Yes, I can take the hand-me-down clothes, but I will not wash them until we are much closer. I can LOOK at other objects that I will need/want but recognize that it isn’t time yet. I have made a deal with my brain (yes, I bargain with myself) that at a certain point I will have to start accumulating the normal baby stuff.
With my rainbow I wouldn’t take ANYTHING.
I had a friend who was trying to bring me all her baby stuff (her daughter is about 14 months older than mine). She will tell you that I wouldn’t let her give me items until I was seven months pregnant. The first time she gave me a bottle brush and pacifiers I was panicked that it was dooming me to lose the baby. I never took clothes from her. I believe she still gives me a hard time about that.
I didn’t buy clothes for my rainbow until I was seven months pregnant. The only reason I did was because my husband and I went to the mountains for the weekend and they had a Carter’s outlet. I walked in and saw a few things that I wanted to buy for my daughter. He might recall my panic and worry about if it meant I was dooming myself to lose the baby. When my friend found out that I actually bought things, she was floored. She asked if I was ok, how I was feeling, and if I needed anything. She knew that deep down I was freaking out.
As I draw closer to the 12-week mark, I hope that I can swallow the fear this time.
I hope that I can engage the logical brain that will help me recognize that buying something or taking a hand-me-down will not bring a dark cloud over my head.
What do you all do to combat these feelings? In the PALS Facebook support groups I often see the question, “When did you start buying things for your rainbow?” It’s something that is unique to loss moms. We do not know when it will ever be safe. So we hope.
Let me know what you do to help in the comments!