Fear, my days are run mostly by fear. Fear with a complex mix of grief, guilt and anxiety running alongside of it.
Pregnancy after loss is a battle fuelled by anxiety, it is hard both emotionally and physically. It is a struggle each day where complex conflicting emotions coexist. In an ideal world raw early stage grief and growing a new baby shouldn’t be 2 entities that ever occur simultaneously.
Whilst we appreciate just how lucky we are to be pregnant and we are extremely happy to have this opportunity again, our raw grief and pain still continues. We have still only recently lost our very much wanted Son and most days I generally feel overwhelmed by the conflicting emotions. I feel conflicted on a daily basis, which is one of the main reasons we have chosen to keep this pregnancy quiet for so long. Hopeful feelings towards this new pregnancy on top of all the raw grief I feel for Arthur mean that anxiety and new fears have hit me especially hard.
I am fearful of so many things, I am fearful that this baby may also die. I am fearful of allowing an inch of hope back into my heart and that too being taken away. I am fearful that people will somehow view this baby as a replacement and that they will forget about Arthur. I am fearful that people will no longer speak Arthur’s name and view me as a Mum of 2 girls, forgetting I also have a Son. I am fearful that in some way this pregnancy will be seen as a betrayal towards Arthur.
I am also truly fearful of hurting others with the news of this pregnancy, since losing Arthur I have met so many amazing and inspirational Mums and Dads that have also sadly lost babies, the fear that this news may cause them any additional hurt doesn’t sit well with me at all. I know we have all lost babies and that we are all on our own journeys but it is in my nature to want to protect others and I understand how hard pregnancy announcements, even pregnancy after loss can be to some people. I understand how much hurt these announcements can cause to those who are recently bereaved, those who have suffered multiple losses, those struggling to conceive and those who are still waiting for their rainbow baby.
These fears are the reasons we have waited so long to share this news but I am starting to feel incredibly isolated, I am unsure where I fit and belong anymore. I feel unable to attend the usual ante-natal classes and groups for fear of the innocent ‘how many children do you have?’ questions but at the same time I have struggled attending groups at our local SANDS as I am fearful that attending whilst pregnant will cause additional hurt to other Mum’s and Dad’s. Even though, I myself am still newly bereaved, having only lost Arthur 8 months ago, I feel a sense of having to justify my presence at these groups and that in itself is becoming increasingly exhausting.
When you lose a baby, you also lose the majority of your old friends, the distance becomes greater until one day they finally just disappear. In the last 8 months I have met so many amazing Mum’s and Dad’s in the baby loss community, these warriors have saved me in the last 8 months, whether through this blog, in person, via emails or through Instagram, they have saved me more times than I could ever thank them for and I am now fearful that sharing this news may cause them simply too much hurt and I will lose them too. I am starting to feel very lonely and as my anxiety levels raise and the feelings of having to justify this pregnancy surface the conflicting emotions of grief, guilt and hope are all consuming.
The overall balance of guilt between Arthur and this new baby is becoming increasingly more difficult. We waited to share the news as I wanted the focus to remain solely on Arthur, there were key milestones and important dates to get past (My Birthday, Christmas, Mother’ Day, etc) and then Arthur’s 6 months. I didn’t want announcing this pregnancy to take anything away from him. We are quietly hopeful that this baby will arrive safely and we will have a lifetime to focus on them, therefore we wanted this time dedicated solely to Arthur. At the same time I am feeling increasingly guilty towards this baby. I have spent as little time as possible focusing on this pregnancy, probably as a way to protect my heart, but that is no longer possible, with every movement and kick, I am falling more in love.
We are hopeful that this baby will join our family in the coming months and that we can make many more memories with her. At the same time I am worried that by sharing our news, I will somehow jinx things and I will lose this baby too. But I have realised that in a world where nothing is guaranteed, this baby deserves to be celebrated in the same way we celebrated both Emmeline and Arthur, she isn’t a secret we should be ashamed off, she is our small piece of hope, our ray of light, another very much wanted and loved piece of our family.
She is in no way a replacement for Arthur and me being pregnant again doesn’t take away anything from him or how much we love and miss him. I have realised that I probably spend far too much time worrying about others opinions and thoughts on this. Arthur will never be replaced in our lives or hearts, he will always be our missing piece, regardless of how many children we may or may not have in the future. We will always have a Son, even if we have to parent him in our heart and we will ensure that this baby knows all about her big brother.