This picture (on the left) came up on Facebook’s “On This Day” last week. I am pregnant with Sophia, glowing. I remember taking that picture. Charles and I were organizing Sophia’s freshly washed clothes according to size and type. We had so much fun laughing, imagining her in all of the little outfits, watching her move around. It was a fun day filled with many smiles.
I put these photos side by side so I could compare them. There are a lot of similarities and yet a lot of differences. My hair has grown so long in one year! I thank Oliver for that; my hair grew with Sophia but nothing like how it has grown with Oliver. I am carrying a little lower with Oliver; Sophia was up a little higher. However, I am carrying out front with both of them. Then the biggest difference of all: my face.
The face on the left is that of a mother untouched by the devastating loss of her child, not worried every single day or hour. I am glowing, my smile radiant. Internally I have feelings of happiness, joy, and excitement. The face on the right is that of a mother who is pregnant after losing her first child just hours before her scheduled induction. My eyes are tired from sleepless nights and crying, my smile weary from exhaustion. Internally I am happy, sad, anxious, full of love, full of longing. These feelings are not always able to seen on the outside.
Only those of us who have experienced this loss and are pregnant again can understand the vast emotions that are present. It is complex. It is exhausting. Even then, everyone is different. My pregnancy with Sophia was a whole different experience than my pregnancy is with Oliver. I was so blissfully naive with Sophia. Pregnancy after loss isn’t a walk in the park; it isn’t like pregnancy before loss. It is its own experience; just as my children are their own person. They are unique individuals. I love my children more than anything.
I will always advocate and talk about both of these taboo subjects: stillbirth and pregnancy after loss. No one will ever understand unless they have these experiences. But I hope to open up on these subjects which are so rarely given thought to.