“Lindsey, you talk a lot about fear, but today I hear sadness in your voice too. Is there sadness there?” Tears flow from my eyes like water from an overflowing well as my therapist asked this question yesterday in session. I can’t swallow the pain from the last pregnancy and the stress from this one any longer.
“Yes. Sadness is there and so is fear, anxiety, anger, worry, guilt, shame, powerlessness, hope, and the possibility of joy. It’s all so confusing. I don’t understand what is happening to me.” The words wobble out of my mouth as my lip quivers and my voice cracks.
Then I take a deep breath and answer my therapist’s question. “And yes, more than anything, sadness is there. I’m sad because I didn’t get to bring home my other daughter. I’m sad and guilty because I might be able to bring home this one and not my first child. I’m fearful that I won’t get to have this child either. I’m angry that I have had to be pregnant for 18 months just to hopefully have one living child and I’m scared that that might not even happen. You see, my version of the pregnancy story doesn’t start at birth. It stops. As the days get closer and closer I think a part of me fears that when we go into that delivery room that the journey of being a parent will be all over again.”
A loud exhale escapes from my lungs and out my lips as the tears still stream over my cheeks. I wipe away the water from my eyes as I notice the makeup staining the tissue in my hand. A moment of relief due to expressing all my fears settles over me as my body finds a place of calm after putting my thoughts into words in my therapist’s office.
Moments of peace and calm are hard to come by during this pregnancy after loss. They don’t last long, but right now being 9 days away from my C-section date, I will take whatever few seconds of pause from the storm of emotions that has roared inside of me these past 8-and-a-half months that I can get.
My therapist intrudes upon my stillness, “How do you plan on getting through the next week and a half?”
My response was, as always in my character, blunt, factual, and accurate: “I have no idea.”
I really do have no idea. As I write this none of the emotions have changed since yesterday. They are all still there. I don’t know what to do to get through the final stages of this pregnancy and I’m not even sure how I have made it this far. I have reached out to other loss moms who have made it through this heart wrenching journey of pregnancy after loss, but right now their responses seem overwhelming to me. I believe this to be because at this moment in time I am like a deer in headlights on a desolate highway, paralyzed by fear. I’m not sure if I should jump out of the way of the oncoming car, run towards it head on, or just wait for it to hopefully safely pass me by.
The only thing that resonates with me in this moment is what a friend said to me during my blessing way. She came late to the party and sat down in the blessing circle already started with her 3 month old baby girl in her arms who was born after the loss of her son during her previous pregnancy. She didn’t miss a beat and jumped right into sharing her blessing for me for the birth of this baby. All she said is, “I have to believe. I just have to believe for you and for me and for baby Zoe that this baby will come into this world alive and healthy. All I have to hold on to is that that I just have to believe.”
To be honest, I was bestowed with loving blessings that afternoon from many women I love, but what my friend with her beautiful baby in her ams after a loss said that day has been ringing in my ears every moment I have struggled to find the strength to go on since. I cling to her words as I would a rope dangling off the edge of a cliff.
“I just have to believe.”
Her words resonate in my mind, and that is what gets me through.