Upon reflection of the upcoming anniversaries in my life, I have realized how differently I have viewed each of my pregnancies, based on a number of factors.
For instance, when my first daughter died, I was in shock for quite a long time. I didn’t feel the same way other women seemed to feel. It took me three months at least to name her. And it took me well over a year to really realize that I was already a mother. And even longer to finally buy her urn. I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that I never learned how to live in this limbo, how to process this limbo.
It was about a month after I had accepted my own motherhood that I became pregnant again. And this time, I got to spend a little more time with this daughter. Because of my first daughter’s death, I was now a high-risk pregnancy, which came with more ultrasounds, including a DVD of a 3-D ultrasound at 20 weeks. I felt her move more. I danced with her to the songs on the radio, while waiting in traffic. When I found out she died, she had a name before her stillbirth. Her urn was bought immediately.
And I guess that’s why last year’s holidays were so hard. Everything I lost became so real. I wasn’t in shock anymore. I was supposed to be celebrating Christmas with my two girls, and I wasn’t. No matter how many traditions I participated in, no matter how many cheesy movies watched or presents purchased, the holiday felt empty without them. It hurt so bad to see everyone else celebrating with their kids, making memories when all I had left of my daughters were memories.
But this year, it’s different. Now, I’m carrying a new life, a new hope of future Christmases and traditions. Some people celebrate the child’s birth, but the fact that I have this little, precious heartbeat within me during this holiday season for the first time in five years of waiting…this is my true gift this year. And I thank God every day I get to spend with this little one.
Life is so precious. Every breath, every heartbeat, every moment. I’ve never really understood that until now. So, in the midst of the sadness of remembering and the heartache of those I miss terribly, I find strength in joy and hope. It will probably always be bittersweet, and this child will always know the sisters that came before. We will take time each year around this season to remember them. But in remembering them, we will make strides to embrace every moment as a wonderful gift. And to always be thankful.