Monday, June 18, 2012

Is This Your First Child? Oh, what an innocent question

At the beach I had a lot of time to reflect on this pregnancy and my last pregnancy, and how to make peace with the two. I was obviously pregnant, and I realized strangers soon would be asking me if this is my first. I believe during my second pregnancy I carried and lost a real child very adamantly, and yet, I'm not sure I want to bring everything up every time this baby is mentioned. There are ways to dodge the question with answers like, "This will make two little ones at home," or, "my son is 2," but it's not just about that. I will always pause and remember my second child, but I really don't want to bury myself in grief. I don't think saying I'll have two children isn't hiding my loss. I'm actually very open about my second pregnancy and you'd have to look mighty hard to find anyone in my life I haven't talked to about it. I've even told male coworkers, but should I have to bring it up every time a stranger wants to be excited about this baby?

I guess the question is, can I ever be excited about this pregnancy without acknowledging my loss? Or is all of this pregnancy about overcoming my last one.  I have followed the blogs of baby loss moms who've mourned away their next pregnancy. Who have whispered to their unborn child, "We need you to be born alive. Please, please, be healthy and born alive." It's not just that I don't want to be that woman, I don't want to be that mom. I don't want this child to one day read these posts and think, "Was it ever just about me? Or was it always about him?" Not to mention the pressure.  I love this baby no matter what happens.  I know he or she is doing their best to grow and be healthy, and that's absolutely good enough for me.  I never want to put the weight of my world on my child's shoulders.  It is my cross to bear, not theirs.  I know women pregnant after loss are quick to throw out the term rainbow baby, to explain how the new baby is extra special to them. I'm really uncomfortable with the term.  This baby is special all on his/her own, not because they follow grief.

Telling a stranger that this is my second child is telling them how delighted I am to be bringing a second child into my home.  I'll never forget the baby I delivered in January.  This Christmas will be difficult without him, and I'll celebrate his birthday every year.  Sometimes I'll remember him and cry for him and for me and the loss that my husband and son have also suffered.  When I do my facebook announcement I'll phrase the news more accurately, something like, "After the loss of our second child, we are overjoyed to be expecting a third child in January."  Hopefully I can phrase it better than that, but you get the idea.  The second pregnancy will be acknowledged as a child.  Whats the difference between acknowledging it to near strangers on facebook, but not bringing it up to strangers when they basically ask? It's hard to say, but mostly I think the difference is, I don't want them to forget.  My miscarriage was announced on facebook and I don't want anyone to forget about the baby I lost or think that I've forgotten him.  My facebook status updates after the announcement will just be focused on the joy of the new baby, and that's the difference.  My facebook friends already know about the loss, and will have a moment to reflect on that and the new pregnancy together just as I have.  From then on, we will focus on the future.  Total strangers will just celebrate with me in the joy that is a second take home baby.  They won't really have to pry to discover the loss though, "How did you decide on that spacing," will get a much more sobering, but honest answer.

So that's it. That's how I'm going to answer the question and why.  Dealing with the loss of a child is so deeply personal, and contingent on so many things I don't blame anyone for handling it differently.  They're doing what's right for them, the new baby, and their family.  Those baby loss moms whom I've accused of putting the weight of the world on their unborn children?  I've continued to follow them past the birth and they're great parents of happy babies.  The way they handled their pregnancy worked out just fine.  A perfect example of how differently we need to handle it.  As many posts on this topic as I've read, I don't think one of them helped me write this post.  The answer comes from within, not from outside sources.  How I'll handle the announcement of another pregnancy after this one? I have no idea!

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