As we round out to the final month of this journey, which could still end fatally. The thought still always in the back of our minds. I want to reflect on one things I have learned along the way over the past 9 months. Just in case another PAL mama stumbles across my blog at some point.
Back in December 2019, the week I found out I was pregnant I met with a therapist who specialized in child/pregnancy loss, who was recommended to me by a friend who had just lost her baby. The meeting was already scheduled to give it another go at having someone to talk to about what I was going through a year after losing Benjamin. I just happened to find out I was pregnant that week which made the timing seem right. I only met with her once, although I had every intention of keeping up on meetings with her to try and seek help with my pregnancy after loss. It just didn’t work out. In that one meeting she gave me some of the best advice I would receive, as she had a stillbirth 38 weeks into her pregnancy a few years prior.
She knew exactly what I was going through and everything she said validated how I felt over that previous year. I left our meeting in tears, for the first time not because I was sad but because I felt so much relief and so much less crazy than I had ever felt. The one thing that stuck with me was her saying something along the lines of, “If I can give you one piece of advice for your new pregnancy, it would be to not hold back. Enjoy every minute of it that you can. Do all the things and celebrate all the milestones of your new pregnancy even if you “don’t want to”. Both you and this baby deserve that much. In my subsequent pregnancy I didn’t even buy the baby an outfit or get the nursery ready until the last month of my pregnancy because I was too afraid to let myself be excited. Don’t do that. If you want to buy the baby something, buy it. If you want to throw the baby a shower, do it. Do all the things you would do if this was your first pregnancy and weren’t terrified of what could happen over the next 9 months”.
Without flat out saying it, I could tell what she meant was that she had regretted not allowing herself to enjoy her 2nd next pregnancy and she not want me to have the same experience. She was too scared to think that there could be a different outcome. I had the same feelings going into this pregnancy but I vowed to myself after speaking with her that I would enjoy this new experience as much as I could and not let any feelings of fear hold me back.
Without the advice from this women I am not sure how my pregnancy would be going. I have a feeling I would have been even more reserved. I have a feeling it would have been harder to buy the first outfit. There would have been more of a battle inside myself of whether or not to find out the gender early. I probably would have waited longer than the 20 weeks to make an announcement. I might not have went through with our baby shower. The maternity pictures would have seemed like a pointless thing to do. And pulling out the Crib and all the nursery things would have probably waited until after the 30 week mark.
And so, my advice would be the same. Take it all in and enjoy as much as you can. The road is long and terrifying. Even if everything ends for us tomorrow, a week from now, 18 days from, or if we are able to make it through, the joy I have allowed myself to feel this time is worth it. This baby deserves every moment of spotlight and every little crevice left in our hearts that we have surrendered to her. If something were to still happen, I know at first I’ll feel so stupid and foolish and I’ll want to guard my heart even more. But I also want to put it here so I will always remember it has been worth it to feel love again for a baby we’ve spent almost 3 years dreaming about.