As we hang our stockings this year, our mantle looks a bit different than one would expect. One new stocking hangs in memory of our angel Emilia, and the other in celebration of a new life that has just begun!
I am barely pregnant, but I’m telling you anyway. I am pregnant with my third child and I am only six weeks along. What makes this pregnancy especially unique is that it follows the death of my second daughter, Emilia, who was delivered stillborn nine months ago on March 15, 2017. These last few days I have gone back and forth arguing with myself, trying to decide whether sharing this news so early in my pregnancy is a good idea.
1 out of every 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage and 1 out of every 160 ends in stillbirth, making pregnancy loss much more common than people realize. We live in a society where the death of a baby is considered taboo, and discussion is frequently avoided. Women are encouraged to keep their pregnancies secret until the “magic” 12-week mark when chances of loss plummet. I am one of the many women who, in the past, convinced ourselves that because our babies survived past the first trimester we were “out of the woods.” I’ve learned in the hardest way possible that there is no “magic week”. We will never truly be out of the woods, and so today feels like a better time than ever to share our exciting news.
I’ve tried to find the perfect words to describe the emotions of these last few weeks. I found an excerpt from Adriel Booker’s blog I Still Belong that summarizes my feelings more eloquently than I could ever hope to.
“I’m overjoyed to be pregnant. Yes! Wonderful! We’re thrilled to add to our family! And yet I am very aware. I’m aware of the vulnerability. Aware of the risk. Aware of the potential heartache. Aware of people around me and what they might think… or what I think they might think about how they might be secretly afraid I’ll miscarry again, too. (And, oh! What will they say—or not say—if ‘it’ happens?!)
Is it possible to move joyfully into pregnancy when you know it’s fraught with unknowns? I believe it is. But we do each other a disservice by making the risk, the possibility of life not sustaining, and the reality of high rates of miscarriage something unspoken.
…So this is me going public again, friends. I’m pregnant and thrilled!
But along with my excitement I have a whole slew of other emotions, many of them unpleasant. I have moments of anxiety. I wonder if my body is doing what it should. I’m relieved when I feel a pregnancy symptom and get concerned when I feel “normal” for a few hours or days. I let my imagination go and dream about what our family will look like with four years between our second and third living children and wonder if the gap will make me miss our two lost babies even more.
…I think about birth, and then pull back—let’s just focus on staying pregnant, don’t get ahead of yourself I tell myself. I trust God and offer my baby to his care and then pull back and want to figure out how to do all the protecting myself. I imagine my youngest with a baby brother or sister and think about how my oldest will want to mother hen our new little one, and then I dismiss my thoughts, not wanting to let my heart wander too free.
Love is so risky.
It’s complicated to be pregnant after loss and this is one area of motherhood I never volunteered to gain more experience in… I carry with me the question of will this become a pattern or has my body stopped working for good?
But I do know this: my new little baby is worth celebrating. They all were.” -Adriel Booker
So friends – We are so excited to be on this journey, but we are quite terrified and even a bit paranoid too. If you believe in God, or any higher power greater than ourselves, we ask that you please pray for our family and for our new little baby that is worth celebrating. Pray for a healthy pregnancy and for a safe delivery as we prepare to usher another beautiful child into the world. I plan to celebrate Baby #3 regardless of how long he or she lives on this earth, and today I praise God for giving me this child and for new life to be born.