As I sit outside this morning, in our quaint backyard, with the sun shining down and the sounds of birds talking happily to each other my mind feels clear and my heart content in a way that it hasn’t in a long time. It’s difficult to condense into a few paragraphs an update on how this pregnancy has been since we found out we are having another boy but there has been a very obvious change since I acknowledged just how great a role fear has played in my grieving over the past few months.
There were so many mixed emotions that surfaced after my 19 week ultrasound just over four weeks ago. There was joy at learning our little one was healthy and growing at a normal rate. Thankfulness to have reached this important milestone in my pregnancy. Excitement that our 5 year olds prayers for a brother were answered but there was also quite a bit of shock in learning that I wasn’t carrying a girl.
I had really thought that my gravitating towards all things girly was a sure sign. The last time I had felt that strongly was with our oldest daughter and I had been right. Hearing “it’s a boy” felt mostly confusing at first but then all the emotions that followed after we left the ultrasound room made me start to contemplate the “why?” Why had I been so fixated on having a girl? Why were my thoughts always on “her” but I never really ever entertained the thought of a boy?
The answer became clear surprisingly quickly as I began to acknowledge what had been deeply rooted in my heart. This is what I wrote to my midwife in a text later on that day:
“I had thought we were having a girl the whole time but when I saw he was a boy I started crying because I realized it had been easier for me to imagine a girl rather than another little boy. Oh the things grief does to our psyche. I’m so thankful though. All I really care about obviously is a healthy baby. Colby has been praying for a brother so I think I cried in happiness for him too.”
The thought of another boy? It hurt. So my mind steered away as far as possible. I was afraid another boy might take away from our sweet little River who had to be delivered far too early last October. I wasn’t ready to mentally and emotionally move forward that much yet. Maybe I thought I would be moving on? Forgetting…
The truth is, that mothers who know loss never “move on” nor should they. There is always a scar left, a missing piece, a wondering about what life would be like if that baby or child was still with them. That’s the natural way of this process and no one should ever expect a grieving mother to stifle those emotions. There is the beautiful ability, however, to love again. Just as they loved the one that they previously carried and birthed too soon. Or lost after birth.
I will always have a special place in my heart for the tiny son that we will never get to know but now I have a new love to look forward to meeting in September and that does not take away from our little angel baby River. Grief is a journey. It takes a toll on the heart and mind. Worrying about losing this baby too was difficult to keep at bay for the first 4 months. Anxiety crept up on me over and over again each week but as the kicks and jabs increased, my heart calmed a little more and my vision became clearer.
I knew this wasn’t the place God was desiring for me to be in and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my pregnancy feeling afraid. We aren’t meant to live in a pit of fear, anxiety and pain. (Read Jeremiah 29:11!) I’m learning that not allowing fear a place in the mix of my emotions anymore is changing the weight of the heartache and making it something I don’t try to deny or fight. I just let it be.
Fear affects grief so negatively and makes it ugly. I want to celebrate the short life of our lost baby by allowing myself to mourn freely when necessary but also to look forward to the future with joy. This recent release from fear has helped me move forward in such a profound way in such a short time. That doesn’t mean it will always be easy but Gods gift of grace in this journey has been so real and His love has moved a mountain of weight from my heart. I want to honour and remember our sweet River by not allowing worry to be my daily guide. I want to celebrate him by anticipating with excitement the arrival of this new little life. That’s my hearts goal for the remainder of this pregnancy.
To choose joy.
Thank you friends for continuing to pray for this growing baby and for sharing in the journey. You are a true gift to us.