“Around other pregnant people I felt, ‘Well I’m not really pregnant the way you are. I’m sort of pregnant. I might be having a baby.’ ” Is a quote I read by a fellow loss mom reflecting on her past journey of pregnancy after loss. I laughed out loud at how absurd the comment sounded, a full belly laugh, while my brain screamed, “THAT’S IT!” That’s what if feels like this pregnancy, like I might be having a baby or that I’m only a little pregnant. This whole time while pregnant with baby No. 2, I have felt distant from the child growing inside me, almost in denial that I am actually pregnant. This denial stemming from fear that this baby, too, might not come home. The quote I found put my denial into words perfectly. I felt so validated reading those words.
Then last week, I went to my scheduled therapy appointment with my oh-so, wonderful therapist who has kept me sane during this last year as I walked the dark road of grief and now anxiety with expecting again. I told her about the quote I found and how I felt it was so true and went on and on, thinking she was also going to validate my emotions. But, then she did something I wasn’t expecting, but in hindsight I realized I much needed, she became very quiet and in a soft voice she simply said, “Lindsey, you only get to be pregnant once, with this baby.”
I paused, staring at her in surprise by her response. Moving my gaze from her to my lap, looking down almost in shame, I said, “I know,” under my breath. In that moment I had an epiphany, (one I saw coming but still it was a turning point either way) in which I decided that I needed to really try to make a connection with this baby. If I’m honest, at times I still feel like I’m preparing to give birth to baby No. 1 and this kind of thinking, along with all the other events of the last week, and probably the last year have helped me realize that Nick and I need to start being intentional about bonding with this baby, baby No. 2.
So, in efforts to connect, Nick and I have been taking a leap of faith and are facing the fear of losing by being intentional about loving and preparing for baby No. 2. Some things we have been doing more of include:
- Talking to Baby happens most nights for about 10 minutes before Nick and I go to bed. Nick will rub cocoa butter on my belly and talk to baby with his face pressed up against my naval. It’s really quite sweet. I talk to baby too. Usually, in the mornings in the shower or when she kicks me really hard. Nick was out of town this past week and when he came home first thing he did was kiss me and then kiss baby in the belly. It was heartwarming.
- Kick Counting I have read that it’s recommend to expecting moms to start kick counting around 28 weeks so mom can get in touch with baby’s daily routine and patterns. I have started a little early, but already baby No. 2 seems to have a schedule of her own that is nice to tune into.
- Guided Meditations to get in tune with baby. I found a great free 20 minute guided meditation online that I have started doing this week. I really love it. I get to spend that time saying affirmations and sending intentions to my baby while focusing on her kicks and squirms which has really helped me connect with her as an individual.
- Purchasing Items that are just for her. Baby No. 2 will be getting a lot of hand me downs from her big sister and having an item or two that was bought with the intention of being for her helps me realize that this is a different baby this time around.
- Using Her Name. Yes we know her name and are using it between the three of us (Nick, me, and baby No. 2) we just aren’t sharing it. Using her name really helps connect with her because it helps us distinguish this pregnancy between her and her older sister. It makes her seem more real.
I have to admit, it is really scary to bond with this baby. There is still a part of me that wants to disconnect out of fear we won’t be able to keep her. But then I think about my therapist’s words and also think about how I would feel if we lost this baby too. I would be devastated, but I would be even more disappointed in myself if I didn’t at least try to enjoy every moment I have with her because really all we get are moments.