I’ve been asked many times the past month how it feels to have Charlotte here after losing three babies. I appreciate these questions more than anyone could know, because they’re always followed with, “Of course it’s not like she makes everything better.” Yes – exactly. That’s so validating to hear along with the genuine interest of how I feel now.
I think that’s the one thing I’ve constantly wondered when reading other’s stories of having a baby after losing one, two, three or more. How does it feel now?
There is so much else I want to write on. Charlotte’s birth story. Bella meeting her little sister. The first days home. The hospital scares (that thankfully ended well).
But I’m stuck until I can write this part of it. Please forgive me for not being able to have a “normal new mom” outlook for a little while. I knew these feelings might be a possibility, but actually feeling them is different.
I feel overwhelmed in good and sad ways. I feel like my life definition is bittersweet. I feel like this is a dream.
But mostly – I struggle with the guilt and the hatred of that guilt.
I always bothered me everyone had to apologize or dance around their pregnancies/new babies with me for so long. And still might. A total double standard on my end, since I certainly didn’t want anyone to act normal about it around me, but I also didn’t want to be treated differently. I wanted to be told, “I’m pregnant!” and rejoice with them. And I couldn’t. So instead, I resented being treated like a fragile doll – even though it allowed me to voice my real emotions of, “I’m happy for you, but it may take me a whileto talk with you about it. And I’m so sorry for that.”
Now it’s my turn. So every picture, every post, every update is a reminder to me that someone is reading and seeing and it hurts them. They are probably more gracious and can rejoice for me, but I know so many of you are still waiting and uncertain.
Yet I don’t want to feel that way. It’s not pity – it’s not. But it feels that way and I know I hated being pitied. Poor little Diana with so much loss and heartache. Don’t send her pics of the new baby. So much love and kindness towards me, and I just wanted to have it all go away – and yet…
Does this make sense? I don’t know, I can’t figure out how to word it right.
That’s the only word that seems to fit this.
Having Charlotte did “fix” something. It fixed part of the motherhood I longed for again. The tiny outfits, the rockers, the baby wearing, the strollers, the carseats – all the things I wasn’t ready to be done with. That part of it is healing. I adore being a mama to another little one.
It’s simply strange to do this with all the loss and love and tears that we walked with to get to this point. I feel a bit alone, in my mind and with the communities I’ve found. Much of it is, I’m sure, my perspective for the moment.
The other side of life after loss is hard. It’s hard to grieve and it’s hard to be happy.
It is HARD to be happy when you’ve become pretty comfortable with your sad feelings for so long. I’ve worked super hard at being ok with sad. I am proud of the work I’m still doing. So to have something you desperately wanted tossed into the middle of comfortable sad is uncomfortable. I don’t know how to rejoice for Charlotte yet without feeling like I’ve placed all my loss and that part of my life to the side. I feel like a poser wanting to write and talk on loss so deeply still when I have a newborn asleep on me.
It feels like I’ve lost a little piece of me that I didn’t ever want and now I don’t know what to do when it’s different.
That – even in the midst of the love and the peace – is hard to accept. So I start writing again, in hopes that I’ll find a way to weave this all together again. And I will.