It’s been four years since that sunny day in September, my father-in-law’s birthday, when we went to our first appointment filled with hopeful anticipation. When we expected to see the butterfly-like flutter of a heartbeat, but the screen was still. When my heart shattered.
It’s been four years since those early days of deep grief and raw pain, unlike anything I had known. I felt anger – even rage, guilt, mistrust of my body – all magnified by the hormones from the pregnancy I was not to have. Four years since the day I wrote a letter to this baby that I would never know -- a letter filled with all of the hopes that I held for my pregnancy, for our baby’s life.
It’s been four years since realizing that I needed help to navigate this new and overwhelming space, turning to a counselor by myself and to our pastor with my husband. Since feeling surrounded by darkness at times and struggling to focus on my children, my job, my husband, the day-to-day. Since realizing that while my husband and I both grieved, we grieved in different ways and that we had to work to connect with each other. Since asking our pastor to conduct a memorial service for the baby we lost and asking my family to be a part of it.
Time has passed from the months following the miscarriage, when our due date came and went and I still was not pregnant again, worried that it would not happen. From finding out I was, in fact, pregnant again, but feeling fearful and anxious that something would happen to this rainbow baby. From recording our rainbow baby’s heartbeat and listening to it each night to remind myself that our baby was safe and healthy.
I hold a place in my heart just for this baby we lost. And it still hurts that I was never able to hold her in my arms. Grief still catches me. It usually happens around the anniversary of our loss or the due date. But it happens other times, too. Even so, I am healing. I have found healing with time. I have found healing by acknowledging our loss – to myself and in talking about our loss with my husband, with my other children, with my family, and with others. I have found healing when the silence and seeming isolation around our loss lifts just a little bit. I have found healing in connecting with other moms who have experienced a loss. I have found healing in quiet (and loud!) moments with my older children and with my rainbow baby (now toddler).
Each year in September, my husband and I go to a fountain at our church. The fountain was part of our baby’s memorial service -- it is a very meaningful place for us. We leave a pink rose at the fountain and spend a few quiet moments together. We cry and we support each other. My heart feels heavy and then it lightens. I may not need to do this always, but I need to do it now – and so we do.
Our loss fundamentally changed me as a person, as a mother. It is part of my fabric now. Our loss also fundamentally changed our family. It is part of our family's fabric now. My loss and my journey of healing are uniquely my own. I can’t speak to even my husband’s experience because it is uniquely his. Nor can I speak to the experiences of any other parent. As I have found healing in writing this, I wish only for healing to all who have experienced such a loss and to all who have been impacted by such a loss.