I didn’t always want to be a mom. In fact, I thought that I’d live happily childfree for all of my days. Around 5 years of marriage, I started to wonder if I’d regret not having a child. I thought of and pursued the possibility of building our family through adoption. That door closed. Then we tried for a baby and had a miscarriage. Mother’s Day 2014 was dark and sad. I didn’t know if we’d ever have a child.
Here I am now in 2016 with a 13-month old on Mother’s Day. Becoming a mother has changed me in a way that I didn’t imagine. I now feel certain things so deeply in my heart. In particular, my heart aches for all sorts of mothers on Mother’s Day. Especially today, I think of:
The woman who wants to be a mother
The one who has lost a child
The lady struggling with the demands of motherhood
The mother who has an estranged child
Those living without their mom
And this week, I think of all the mothers affected by the Fort McMurray fires. There have been women who’ve given birth during this past week while fleeing from their home.
I am glad to be a mom. It is seriously hard work. Challenging. Tiring. And the lovey-dovey stuff too. But one thing I’m grateful for is the way in which my journey of motherhood has given me a deep love for any struggling momma. I’m feeling both sad and glad this Mother’s Day, and I think that’s okay.
Since October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I thought it appropriate to write a blog post on early miscarriage. “At least you weren’t far along” and “it’s likely that there was a problem with chromosomes” are examples of unhelpful statements made to those who receive a positive pregnancy test and lose the baby days or weeks later. If you believe that life begins at conception, losing a baby at any time is devastating.
In March of 2014, I received our first positive pregnancy test. Our joy was short-lived as a couple days later, I began to spot. The ER doctor gave me a 50/50 chance. Unfortunately, after days of spotting, I had a miscarriage. Our miscarriage happened at 5 weeks. I spent my 30th birthday miscarrying our first child.
Early miscarriage is no big deal, right? Wrong. At least for me, it changed me. I will always remember December 5, 2014 as our first little ones due date. And having our first pregnancy result in miscarriage caused me to have a fear and anxiety ridden second pregnancy. With all that said, I think I’ll end with this quote by Winnie the Pooh. To our first little one, you are forever loved!
Definition: A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or stillbirth. A rainbow after the storm.
A year ago today, we were driving home from my in-laws. My period was due to arrive that weekend but it never showed. Since developing hypothyroidism in 2012, my cycles were wacky and unpredictable. I figured that I was just having one of those off cycles. I had convinced myself during that two week wait that I wasn’t pregnant. I had several “signs” of pregnancy but didn’t believe one of them because I had experienced “signs” on cycles before and wasn’t pregnant.
When I got my first positive pregnancy test in March of 2014, I had zero symptoms in the two week wait. Our first baby ended in miscarriage at 5 weeks on my 30th birthday. So the fact that I had some symptoms during the 2 week wait in July of 2014 made me convinced that I WASN’T pregnant. If I was a betting person, I would have bet all my money that my period would show up.
We stopped at a Panera Bread prior to crossing the border for home. Without telling D what I was thinking of doing, I decided to hold my pee til home and then take a test. When home, he was busy unpacking when I called him to the bathroom. I told him that it wasn’t an emergency but that he needed to come and look at something. He thought there was a mouse. He stood there and looked at the test much like I did: in disbelief. Within seconds a second line had appeared indicating that I was pregnant.
I said, “you don’t get a second line without having the pregnancy hormone present. There’s false negatives but false positives are extremely rare. This means that at least for now, I’m pregnant.” We both were shocked. We both felt uncertain if this pregnancy would end in miscarriage or be our rainbow baby. We decided that for right now, for this moment, we were expecting. D suggested that we go out and celebrate! So we did. We went to a waterfront restaurant in town. While there, a little girl sat at a table over from us with her parents. During our dinner, she kept looking at me and smiling. I wondered if this was a sign that we not only would have a baby 9 months from now but also a baby girl.
A year ago today, our lives were forever changed. She was tiny but on her way. On this day, I’m sleep deprived and haven’t showered or brushed my teeth. But I’m happy. I’m forever grateful for our rainbow after the storm. Baby girl, thank you for being the experience of a lifetime. We love you and cherish the light that you have brought to our lives.
One thing I’ve been surprised about in having a baby is how often I cry. As a kid/teenager and even into my young adult years, I used to pride myself in not being a crier. In recent years, I’ve realized just how ridiculous that is. And unhealthy. So I had to learn how to let myself cry. Let me tell you that it’s so much better that way! You are able to let things out inside of bottling them up. Anyways, back to the point of this post: I’ve cried a lot in the last 2 months. Here are some of the surprising and not surprising reasons why:
1. I’ve cried many tears of gratitude that she’s here. The fact that I have a baby is never lost on me. I think losing our first pregnancy in an early miscarriage made me realize that having a baby in your arms is not a guaranteed thing. I’m so grateful that I have a baby!
2. I’ve cried at the reality that time is passing fast. Sure she’s “only” 2 months old. But before I know it maternity leave will be over, she’ll be going to school, she’ll be graduating high school, etc. I’m trying to soak this time up as best as I can (with limited sleep).
3. I’ve cried for every person longing to be a parent. Oh how I wish my reality will become yours so soon!
4. I’ve cried at the thought of babies crying and no one comforting them. For those babies living in countries where starvation is the thief of their young lives. For the babies laying in their cribs in orphanages receiving very little human contact due to being understaffed. For babies that live with parents who neglect them. Oh how my heart breaks in a new way for babies all over the world!
5. I’ve cried while I pray for her young life and future. What a daunting yet beautiful task to raise a daughter.
Most days, my tears spring out from my love and gratitude of her. A moment strikes me and I remember that she’s a gift and I’m so grateful.