This week we had our last appointment with our MFM until I get my cerclage removed around week 36. It feels a little bittersweet. On one hand, we’re excited to put some distance between our ultrasounds; they can be pretty anxiety-provoking. On the other hand, we’ve loved getting to check in on our little guy every week and watch him grow. He must have known this would be the last time we’d see him for a while because he was posing perfectly for the camera this week and his sweet face made me tear up!

Shannyn's ultrasound at 26 weeks pregnant - Visualization

Author’s Personal Collection/Shannyn Hanson

I also had an emotional realization this week. I believe there is so much power in positive thinking and visualization.

I’ve never thought about it this way, but from the moment we found out we were pregnant with Sophie it felt surreal. I know a lot of people feel this way at first, but in hindsight, this disbelief never subsided. Her due date was January. I remember thinking, “No way, a January baby doesn’t feel right.” I’ve always pictured having a son first so when we found out our baby was a girl I remember being confused. I could never quite see our lives with her clearly and I could never picture her birth or holding her for the first time. I imagined it over and over again and built up so much excitement, but I kept waiting for the picture of our life to get less fuzzy with her in it.

With this baby boy, everything feels crystal clear. His due date honors his sister and I can see his birth play out in my head. I can envision holding him, singing to him, and feeding him. I can feel the sleepless nights and practically smell the dirty diapers. I know this doesn’t mean anything will become a reality and it certainly doesn’t make Sophie any less real or important, but it does make me feel angry. Could I have been a little responsible for her not being with us today? Was my inability to visualize our life with Sophie the reason she couldn’t be here with us today? I know it’s silly to put this kind of blame or pressure on myself, but losing a baby has made my mind wander a million directions and cling to the most absurd rationalizations.

It feels like I have two versions of myself inside my head at all times.

There’s the compassionate and understanding version that is forgiving and can disassociate what happened with fate or karma. Then, there’s the argumentative and irrational version pointing a finger at anything that I could have done differently to change the outcome of Sophie’s life. I know this “mom guilt” is only the beginning of a lifelong journey of parenting. Whether I’m parenting living children or a child in the stars, I’ll always wonder if I could have done anything more for my babies. However, I’m working on letting the compassionate version of myself surface more often and staying as positive and hopeful as possible. Visualizing a healthy baby boy is bringing me so much peace and I am loving Sophie the best way that I know how!

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