I am not going to lie; I put on a damn good face at my baby shower. I smiled and laughed and talked about the baby. I rubbed my growing belly and discussed names with all of the guests. I was truly grateful for everything everyone did for us; I was just not in an emotional place to meet them with the joy I knew I was supposed to be feeling.
When I became pregnant with my rainbow baby Gibson, after losing my first son Zennon at 4.5 months pregnant, I imagined my pregnancy would be so incredible, that I would be happy and excited. But in reality, my most dominant emotion for those nine months was anxiety.
Anxiety plagued every midwife appointment, every ultrasound and all of the days in-between. My Baby Shower seemed to spike it more than anything else. I couldn’t understand; wasn’t I supposed to be happy about it? All of my friends and family were going to be there, showering me and baby with gifts; it was supposed to be one of the best days of my life. But I was dreading it.
Terrified to get my hopes up
I wanted so badly to be excited, but there was nothing but fear. Fear that I would get so many beautiful baby things that I would never get to use, like the box filled with baby things for Zennon. I was afraid to get my hopes up, to let down my guard and trust that he would arrive safely. And for whatever reason, participating in a Baby Shower felt like too much: like it was tempting fate just a little more than I could handle.
The shower was an all too real reminder of what I never got to experience with Zennon. While I was so grateful for another baby, it was heart-wrenching to me that we would never get to celebrate like this for Zennon; after all he was just as real and just as special to me as Gibson.
But I tried to ignore the fear and anxiety. I tried to be happy about it. I bought a cute dress to wear. I did my hair. I meditated (to mentally prepare) and then my family picked me up to go. While driving, I remember my palms were sweating, my heart was racing, and I felt nauseous.
After the initial hellos and a couple of games, I began to feel overwhelmed. So, I went to the bathroom and sat on the floor and I cried. I cried because I wanted this baby so badly. I cried because I missed my first son so much. I cried because I knew that no matter how much I wanted this baby nobody could promise he would get here safely. I cried because I was sad and scared and hopeful all at the same time, and tears were the only way I knew to express it.
What I wish they knew
Looking back I wish I had been honest with my guests and allowed them to support me. I wish that I had asked if we could incorporate Zennon in the celebration. I wish I could say that I had only fond memories of that day. And while the decorations were adorable, the gifts were beautiful, and my family and friends were lovely, it was still a hard day. And that is okay.
Now that my rainbow baby is here I am able to see things without the screen of anxiety, and I can acknowledge that it is okay that I cried. It is okay that it was hard. It is okay that I was sad, because navigating through pregnancy after loss is tremendously challenging, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Your babies know that you love them, even if you cry at their baby shower, and even if you never got the chance to have a shower for them.
- How to Host a Meaningful Baby Shower after Loss
- Why fear should not keep you from announcing a baby on the way, even in early pregnancy
- That Time I had a Panic Attack at a Baby Shower
- What the New Mom to a Baby Born after a Loss Needs Her Friends and Loved Ones to Know
- 9 Things I’m not doing during my pregnancy after loss (and that’s okay)
How beautifully honest, this post is overwhelmingly true and raw. I love how completely open you are and that you can express these emotional experiences with those going through the same circumstances. It’s people like you who will help change the world for the better!
Oh Megan, I am soooo proud of you and your article, you are the best and I love you!! xoxo
Excellent article and website that provides insight, understanding, and support to those who have experienced Pregnancy after Loss and/or those who have a friend/family member who has experienced Pregnancy after Loss. Thanks for sharing.
I told my friend that I did not want a shower because I was feeling all the same emotions. It would have been to much for me to handle with all the anxiety I had at the time. I didn’t want to be stuck with all the baby things if my rainbow didn’t make it.
Good for you for being self aware enough to chose not to have a shower! It was really hard for me (as I wrote about) and having the shower after baby arrived would have been a much easier day I think. Seriously props for respecting your feelings <3
I loss my baby three weeks ago, I was almost 7 months, and I just want to say thank you for share with us, now I don’t feel alone on this experience, I know that my family loves me, and my husband support me, but knowing that there is more moms like me make me feel that it’s okay if I want other baby but I know that I will be still missing my first baby Aiden, and that I don’t wanna replace him, it’s just that I never will be able to forget the little person who made me feel mom by the first time, don’t know if you want hear my story, let me know. My English is not good but I can do it.
Thank you for your post. I actually cried while giving birth to my rainbow baby – it was a c-section. And I was crying about the loss of my 3 miscarried babies, and the fact that they never reached the point where I could give birth to them alive. The c-section staff person closest to my head kept saying “there’s nothing to worry about, the baby is safe”. And I tried to tell him that I wasn’t worried about this baby, but rather crying about my 3 dead babies. But it was definitely unexpected that during this long awaited moment of giving birth to my rainbow baby, I was overcome with a heavy wave of grief, and had a good long cry of heavy sobs, while on the operating table.