Rainbow babies. I don’t ever write about them here – or at least I haven’t until now.
Do you know how to confirm you’re not pregnant? By holding the pee stick up to the light. Any glimmer of hope that maybe your eyes seeing with old contacts might be missing a second line will be confirmed. You can see straight through the damn thing.
A rainbow baby, as defined here is, ” ..A baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss.” Oh sweet rainbow babies, sometimes – okay, most of the time – you’re the only kind of baby my loss Mom heart can handle.
But with each passing month as rainbow babies are announced and welcomed our loss Mom island of grief and isolation becomes smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. It’s not that I don’t love these babies with all of my heart; if any Mama deserves a baby it’s a Mama to a rainbow. It’s that yet again the rest of us are left behind and left to navigate more uncharted territory.
It’s scary. It’s horrible. It’s hard.
I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would soon be turning 29, happily married, yet without a living child to mother.
When Ted and I first started dating seven years ago he had me write a five year plan. I was 22. We never shared our plans with each other but to my recollection mine went something like this.
- 22 years old – Move in together. (rent/buy/I don’t care I just want to cuddle)
- 23 years old – Get married.
- 24 years old – Get pregnant.
- 25 years old – Give birth.
- 26 years old – I’ll be so happy.
(Stop reading, Grandma)
…What the fuck was I thinking? I really thought I could control all of these things. I remember when I turned 23. I sat with Ted and cried and cried. (It’s a wonder he didn’t ditch me then.) He lovingly asked me what was wrong to which I replied, “I just thought I was going to get married this year.” This actually happened and he still chose to love me!
But looking back I now see, I was grieving the life I had planned.
I understand that now because each day a piece of my heart grieves the life I should be having with Sam.
It’s tiring balancing a life of hope with reality. If the last fifteen months have taught me anything – it’s that there is no plan, not really. Or better yet, we can plan but somehow we must learn to be malleable when life doesn’t go like we want it to.
I saw this quote on yoga somewhere once, “I bend so I don’t break.” Malleable. – able to be hammered or pressed permanently out of shape without breaking or cracking.I’ll keep planning. I’ll keep peeing on sticks month after month in anticipation that one day I’ll see the unbelievable again.
Until then you can pray for me. You can pray for our family of three. My friend Shannon wrote me the most beautiful message recently. She said, “I hope one day you do have a toddler asking for every toy in Walgreens but until then enjoy the time you have to dwell on Sam.”
I plan to continue to do just that and mother him in the only ways I know how.
A Mama to one.
A bereaved mother.