Bonding with Baby after Loss

In the beginning it was a struggle. I’m being passive by using the word struggle. It felt impossible. I couldn’t find the power within myself to attach to the idea of pregnancy, let alone a baby. So I went about my days just waiting for the rug to be pulled from underneath my feet. I suppose my subconscious believed it would hurt less if I didn’t get too attached. This was ridiculous. My heart had already been given to this little life inside me whether I recognized it or not. We could have found out the gender of this baby as early as 10 weeks, but we held off, fearing all sorts of fears. I was afraid if it was a boy-I would feel guilty loving him. I always pictured myself having all boys. There is something about Moms of all boys that tickles me. I don’t know what it is exactly. But I always imagined my home being filled with baseball cleats, fishing poles and jars of bugs that would were collected from the backyard. I was afraid that if I had another boy, that I would love him less than I love Jake. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to separate my pregnancies. I was afraid that I would somehow not be enough for another little boy. Secretly I bonded to a little girl right from the start. My husband says I willed her to be a “her.” So when I actually heard the word “girl” aloud, I felt an immediate sense of relief. Jake would still be my son and now I would have a daughter.

Just knowing the gender helped to kick start the bonding process. We have something in common, we are both girls. Check. But aside from that, my mind still kept it’s distance. Then I felt her wiggle for the first time. My heart almost burst and right in that moment, she had my heart. And I learned that my heart has plenty of room for the both of them. It simply expanded to make room.

This little one is fierce. I can feel her gentleness but also her spunk. I can feel her sweetness in the wee hours of the night, when I unnamed (7)awake to a racing heart fearing that she could be gone. She then gives me a gentle poke or two to reassure me that she’s okay. She is spunky in the evening and loves when I kick back in the recliner. The moment I relax, needing desperately to feel her dance around in my belly after a long day at work, she gets down like a little break dancer. She makes me giggle at how strong and feisty she is already. So tiny yet she makes her presence very clear. She loves chocolate milk and I am pretty sure she likes when I sing for her. Or maybe she thinks that it’s awful…I don’t know, but it makes her move and well, movement wins.

She has the part of my heart that’s hanging on for dear life. I love her fiercely. This journey is far from light. In fact, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done next to losing her brother but it’s worth it. She’s worth it. She makes me day dream about possibilities. I envision her Daddy holding her all swaddled up as she looks back at him and they exchange smiles. My heart could explode at the thought of this. She does that for me, just the thought of her. She’s a very special little girl. She is my daughter. My sweet, sweet daughter.

As terrified as I am to lose her, I love getting to know her.

So I talk to her, (a lot). Sometimes it’s a good morning chat as we listen to her heartbeat before work. I thank her for making it easy to find for Daddy and I. We read books to her. Because we have her today, in this moment. And I know now, that nothing more is guaranteed. So I tell her aloud that I love her each day. That way, there will never be a day in her life that she didn’t hear it. I pray out loud so she can hear what it’s like to need Jesus. I’m knitting her blankets in anticipation that she will use them (well the ones that turn out square at least). It’s still hard. I can’t seem to feel brave enough to shop for little girl clothes or baby items but she is racking up a great book collection. It’s something we can do together now, so books are my go to purchase.

Bonding has become much more natural but it doesn’t come without the fear or hesitation. However, each time I hear the gallop of her heart beat or feel her kick in response to me poking my belly, there is a connection that deepens that even this scarred heart can’t control. I am so grateful for that. The Lord knew just what He was doing when he knitted together the love of a mother and the bond of such an incredible relationship. I was so afraid of bonding with her until it happened. It was then that I remembered how special pregnancy is. She only knows me. I am her person. That strikes me with a huge responsibility to give her everything she could ever possibly need right now, including all of my love. I am finally seeing that giving her this doesn’t take away anything from him. It makes us a family. There is no room for competition in a mothers heart. No matter where her children are.

So as we sit in bed at night, rubbing my belly and holding his blanket, we read bedtime stories as family. Neither of them in my arms but both completely present and alive in my heart. These are the most sacred moments of this experience that I will cherish long beyond her being in my womb.

The moments that prove that a mothers love doesn’t begin at birth and certainly doesn’t end at death. It begins with a dream and it never ever ends.

 

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