A week after I found out I was pregnant, I wrote this about my grief during pregnancy. I still have some of these same fears, but I feel less terrified now that I know she’s a girl. It feels like my mom gave me this gift from the beyond. <3
They don’t tell you how you’ll feel when life begins again. Grief had taught me many things over the last seven months, but it didn’t teach me how to feel about new life. It didn’t tell me how terrified I’d be to lose it. When the test turned from “loading” to “pregnant,” I froze. My heart sunk to my stomach, in a way that only grief can manipulate it. Because in that moment, I should have been happier than ever. I was bringing a life into this world. I was getting a gift.
But grief has a nasty way of playing with your head and your heart. You realize how special the good things really are, which makes you absolutely terrified to have them. Was I ready to be a mom again, especially so close to having lost my own? Did I know how to give all of my heart to someone who would never know the wonderful touch of my own mother? Is it really okay to be happy and sad all at the same time?
My head raced with questions, as it still does now. Grief was like a friend now, having accompanied me for many days and restless nights over the past few months since my mom was whisked away from me to whatever was waiting for her beyond this life. Grief knew me well by this point. He’d slither in my bed next to me as I watched Netflix, tapping me on the shoulder, a reminder that the mom in the movie had similar habits as my own mom – a hair flick there, a chew of the cuticle here. He whispered in my ear all the things I’d lost, and I’d let myself lose it, really lose it, soaking yet another pillowcase in hot tears. He’d sit on the toilet as I took a shower, shouting at the same time as my son on the other side of the door, “I miss mom-mom,” in loud, punctuated words so sharp they cut my gut in half.
He and I were friends… or frenemies. Either way, he was there, constantly reminding me that he should be, that my life was once different and a bit more whole. So when I found out that I was growing a sweet, precious life in my womb, I panicked. I sat down for a while in total shock, letting the words “you’re having a baby” fill my mind until shock became reality.
I have said numerous times since losing my mom how much losing her made me want to have more kids. My mom wanted that for me, as much as I wanted that for myself. I should be happy that it is finally happening. But for each part of happiness that I feel, I feel equal parts guilt and sadness. Guilt, because I fell for the wrong man and watched my marriage crash and burn, not allowing for more children soon. And sadness, for this sweet child who will never know my mom, and for my mom who only had the opportunity to know one of my children.
It is something that I have to come to terms with: Your future children will never feel the touch of your own mother’s arms around them. It’s a pill that isn’t just hard to swallow, it’s excruciating. But it’s something that I need to come to terms with, in time. And I will. And when I do, I’ll plan to show this beautiful child all the wonderful things my own mother taught me, and make sure her memory is alive forever in them, even if they didn’t get a chance to meet.
And one day, when I’m long gone, and this sweet child has lived a long, healthy, happy life, he/she will recognize my mom on the other side, because her influence will still have been strong enough to recognize. And my sweet mom will finally get the chance to hug her grandbaby.