In January 2017 the year of living began and Ryan and I took a vacation to Aruba for sun, love and relaxation. What we didn’t know as we were packing to go was the trip wasn’t just the two of us. We were taking along some of the most precious cargo life has. Before dinner one night we confirm that indeed another little soul has made my womb their home and our family and hearts just grew beyond belief.
People often say no two pregnancies are the same. I can only speak from my experience and agree all four pregnancies for me have been different each facing different challenges yet physically they are very similar with all including terrible sickness for four months, then a few months of enjoyment and then the unbearable heartburn kicks in.
Pregnancy a year after delivering, then holding your precious, loved baby while he dies changes things. I have read a lot about pregnancy after loss and I think it is also true that this experience is so different for everyone. There will be common threads that people will share but the experience as a whole is different and everyone faces different challenges based on their past experiences.
Beyond worry I struggled in the early days with moments of being angry, I was incredibly ill and it felt so unfair that I had to do this again. It was never coming from a place of not wanting this baby or not being grateful to be a place for her to grow but they were real emotions and I had to honour them and allow them pass freely.
As a warrior of love, I loved this baby long before she joined us. I wrote to her, knowing she was there, knowing it was a possibility that she may join us but also to make it clear if she didn’t want to join us we would be okay. We loved her enough to leave that choice to her and God, but our family was open and had room to love another soul deeply.
With confirmation that she had chosen to join us, a flood of thoughts and emotions came over us. Fear, worry, and a love like no other. It became a daily practice for me to remind myself, “today I am pregnant, today my baby is healthy, today I am healthy” and anything beyond that didn’t matter because this was our truth. It was our truth and will continue to be until told otherwise. Ours minds are powerful, and once you have joined this club and met Mothers who have lost their babies from all different circumstances it becomes so clear that no one is protected from potential loss and it is easy to find something to worry about so I have to hold steadfast in my truth. Some days it comes easily and other days I have had to remind myself continually. The truth is no amount of worry will ever change the outcome, it only steals time and space that should be filled with love.
What I didn’t expect was my overwhelming need to protect her. Understandably others have opinions about our choice to welcome another baby after our loss. Some are full of fear for us, some wouldn’t have made this choice themselves and they are unable to understand it, and some have reasons that I will never know or understand and that is okay. What we also know it is an extension of love for us and can understand as we too at times feel worry. At the beginning we naively assumed everyone will be filled with joy, love and hope for us just as they have in past pregnancies. When I realized that this wasn’t the case I immediately felt a strong need to keep her to ourselves to not share our news, not because we can’t handle judgment but because she deserves to be welcomed with love and excitement unconditionally from the moment her presence is known not when she is born healthy nine months later. She deserves all the love in world, she is precious, she is deserving and is a part of our family regardless of how long she will be with us. We learnt this lesson with Teddy, you don’t save heartache by pushing love and joy aside and allowing fear to take it’s place. It just doesn’t work that way. What we also know is no matter the outcome, we have no control of that outcome, we can only make choices as we walk the path and for us it is to Always Choose Love. Not only because she deserves it but because we do too and by doing so reassures us we will be okay no matter what happens.
Timing is always perfect. It may not always feel that way but it is for us. This baby joined us just after Teddy’s first birthday. After our year of grieving ending and our declared year of living started. She joined us after our hearts found peace and were ready to welcome a new love. She isn’t the reason for our year of living, but rather a sign our choice was the right one for our family. What better way to start a year of living than to grow a healthy baby within your womb, who kicks and moves literally reminding you continually how alive we really are.
Teddy’s life didn’t play out as any parent would envision for their child but his life was the perfect life for him. His death could look like it created a very messy storm but to me it doesn’t feel that way, it was only messy because growth was taking place, and messy can be beautiful depending on your view point. His mission to receive, teach and spread unconditional love was accomplished and he simply didn’t need years to do so. My heart and many others have hurt by the fact he couldn’t stay but it will never outweigh my gratitude for his life, and him choosing to be a part of our family. Teddy has given far more than what was lost, a price I feel was worth it, and have come to peace with.
Each member of our family is as equally important as the next, we all have our roles we play and a thread that is woven to create our beautiful family tapestry. Each thread woven together is what makes us stronger. We are welcoming this baby with unconditional love and gratitude, she will be loved by all three brothers and will have a life journey of her own that we will honour and support.
The birth of a new family member is exciting, it fills our hearts. It doesn’t not have any impact of how we feel about our loss of Teddy. His journey is one of his own and no one can take his spot or fill the absence of his presence in our family. Our two boys before him and his sister after were not brought to us for that purpose and it wouldn’t be fair to ask them to fill a hole carved in our hearts by the loss of their brother. So instead as a family we will continue to honour those who live their personal journey along side us and hold love for dear Teddy who travels with us in spirit. His place in our family is not growing bigger or smaller but will firmly be held the same with love as the years roll by. He is equal, he is loved, he is missed.
If you can, send love to our sweet pea. If you feel fear or worry for us just know we will be okay no matter what happens. Acknowledge your fear and then please try to find your way to choosing love, she is worthy of it. She is already here, she is real even though you haven’t met her, she has been with us for a long time, way before she physically joined us and as surprised as we were when we had confirmation she joined us we weren’t shocked. It was always meant to be this way. Teddy without a doubt played his role in this miracle. Trust, and choose love.
September is the month this beautiful sweet pea is intended to join us on the outside. We are lovingly anticipating the moment our eyes meet and our hearts grow once again in unimaginable ways. Her older brothers ask daily how much longer and also have so much love for her, and are eagerly waiting to meet her. Life is beautiful, life is full of gifts, some are wrapped up looking like hardships and some are presented in the form of a beautiful healthy baby placed in your arms. I so deeply hope we are given the latter but will find gratitude for whatever is meant to be. Until that moment we have faith, trust and will keep Choosing Love ❤️.
Momma Bear of four!