Friends, I have honestly been avoiding sharing most of my rainbow experience. Why? I am not completely sure… probably because the feelings are all muddled and mostly irrational. There is shame: I feel at times like I somehow caused the loss of Halia (this is bogus, by the way). There is guilt: I just lost my little girl and now I am “replacing her”. There is fear: what if something happens to Caleb and I get too attached and get hurt again. But here I am with my beautiful baby boy, currently sleeping in my arms, and thinking it is finally time to share his rainbow story. This is for you, my sweet Caleb.
After the shock of loss, my entire being just wanted to be pregnant again. One day I was getting ready for a baby and the next day my body is “back to normal” as if she never existed. I had dreams about this little girl and phantom kicks. It was devastating to wake up to the reality of no longer being pregnant when I knew she should still be there, growing. So when I got pregnant a month after losing Halia, my world flipped again. I was still in the very midst of my grief and disbelief at our loss. Now I was pregnant with another child but still in deep mourning for Halia. Now, the world celebrates pregnancies as these amazing blessings. But what if the pregnancy is laced with deep grief and mourning? This was my reality that caused such a crisis. Why wasn’t I overwhelmingly grateful and excited about a new child? And three boys should be such a joy but my reality was so muddled by dreams of the little girl (I still have these moments because I deep down know I had a daughter and get confused at times because she isn’t here). By the way, I learned we were having a girl minutes after I learned of her passing so how could I go from you should have raised two boys and a little girl to now you will be raising three boys and no girl. I had no time to mourn this lost dream. So every person who praised the three boys stuck a dagger in my heart from the benign comment about “boy mom” to “are you going to have a fourth to get a girl” when I knew I already had one. Every time I went to a doctor’s appointment, I thought about how some of the moms in there were not receiving happy news like I always believed before. Now I really knew the dark secret: not all pregnancies result in a happy ending. And it really can be anyone. These things do not just happen to others. Did you know I tried my best to hide my growing bump out in public? I didn’t want to further hurt those who had lost and I also didn’t feel like sharing in the joyful sisterhood of blissful pregnancy. By the way, I know others who hide their pregnancies too; it seems to be fairly common in rainbow pregnancies. How I envied other moms who were getting excited to “find out the gender” at their anatomy scan, or calling their partner to tell them excitedly that they were having a baby today. I wanted to scream, “Don’t get your hopes up!”, not out of jealous but out of genuine fear for them. And I prayed that my fears would not be their reality. Did you know there are groups, such as FaceBook groups, for women who have lost and are pregnant again to support them? These moms do not talk like other moms. Many of them sound just as scared and pessimistic as I do. Can you blame them? The unspeakable happened to them. How can they act as if the statistics are on their side when at one point they were on the wrong end? We are fighters but it is not without many scars and fears. We are wiser and older. We also tend to have more compassion because we can feel others pain on such a deeper level. That is a rainbow pregnancy: painful, raw, and then, such a blessing.
My friends, see the beauty of the rainbow experiences. They are not the fairytale happy endings but beautiful stories of survival, deep love, and deep mourning. Thank you to all who supported me on this journey and asked the most important question of all: “how are you really feeling?” Sit and listen and let these mamas share their stories, grief and joy, without feeling ashamed. I am here for you if this is your story. And it is a beautiful one, scars and all.