As the mother of a beautiful, sweet, wanted daughter who left this world too soon, I struggle with hearing that friends and family are pregnant. Instead of hearing that they are expecting and beginning to glow with happiness, I hear:
“My perfect little life continues to be perfect. Just wanted to shove that in your face while you grieve.”
“I know that your hopes and dreams for your daughter were shattered, but I wanted to let you know that my hopes and dreams for my child are very much intact!”
“My baby is still alive and yours isn’t. Just thought I’d let you know.”
Each announcement is a stab in the heart and leads to an hour of crying in bed, holding one of Caroline’s stuffed animals tightly in my arms. I feel really bad about reacting this way. I’m really not the jealous type. I want to be genuinely happy for them, and at times I am, but that initial news is always hard to swallow. It is another reminder of what I’ve lost. I spiral into a crying mess, missing my daughter, watching the world continue to turn when I want to hit the pause button, and it prevents me from feeling truly happy.
I am grateful for the texts and the emails that let me process the news on my own. A phone call or in-person announcement doesn’t give me the opportunity to bury my face in a pillow and cry, which is what I need to do.
I am hopeful that there will come a day when I don’t feel crushed by the pregnancy announcement of a close friend. I don’t know if it will take a living child of mine for this to change, or if I will always have a hard time learning that another life is coming into this world, a world that my daughter could not stay to enjoy with me. I hate being fragile like this, but this is how I feel. And you know what? I have every right to be fragile right now.
I have wounds that I will tend to for many years to come. With those wounds comes fragility, but also strength. I am a survivor of the unimaginable. I am the mother of a child in heaven, full of love for my beautiful, sweet, wanted daughter who left this world too soon.