Those of you who follow the blog closely may have noticed a gap in last year’s posts. When I write, I write from the heart – I share about sessions, travels, and thoughts on photography and life in general. But during those months there was only one thing on my mind, and it wasn’t something I was ready to share.
As most of our readers know, Ben and I are expecting a baby in October. I am seven months along and typing this blog as the baby flutters in my belly and I agonize over how much more water I should be drinking. I feel good and capable in my body – an incredible gift. This baby has given me a bigger reason to share what I had gathered up in my heart last year, and now I feel ready to talk about our first pregnancy.
In February of last year, Ben and I learned we were going to be parents. We were overjoyed and reveled inÂ the magic of it all. We fantasized about baby moccasins and sharing the news with our families. I dreamt of nurseries and family traditions. It amazed me how much we loved thatÂ baby right from the start, surroundingÂ it with our dreams for aÂ future together.
But at our firstÂ ultrasound appointment, eight weeks into the pregnancy, the baby was small. We watched the heartbeatÂ flutter on the screen like a tiny, flickering light, but the doctor said itÂ wasÂ measuring at six weeks instead of eight. Two weeks later our little baby still hadn’t grown and our doctor confirmed what we had been hoping and praying against; that baby wouldn’t make it.
We shared the news with our closest family without ever having the opportunity to celebrate our initial joy. I sunk into depression. In my dreams each night I was still pregnant, and when I woke in the morning I felt empty. I had spent the past few months caring for my body with new purpose, seeing everything I consumed as fuel for the baby;Â so with the baby gone, treatment of my body bordered onÂ destructive.Â There were complications to my miscarriage that resulted inÂ a physical reminder for days, weeks, months. I couldn’t find myself or the things I was passionate about.
It was easy to feel alone in the loss because I couldn’t explain what I was feeling. There was no memorial service or official goodbye, just a slow, agonizing loss. Family and friends told me over and againÂ “just because this happened once, doesn’t mean it will happen again”. They were trying to consoleÂ what they imagined was worry about my future. It wasn’t worry; I wasn’t even in a place to consider my future. It was mourning.Â I was mourning the loss of thatÂ baby – thatÂ individual whom I already loved.
Months passed by and little by little I fell into my normal routines. Slowly I was able to find moments of joy and reflect with bittersweetness on the memories. There were still days when I couldn’t make it out of bed, but in between I was getting better. It was as though I was reassembling myself from old and new parts.Â The last feeling to fall into place was anticipationÂ – something I thought I had lost for good.
And now, here we are. Almost exactly one year later we conceived this baby. Doctor appointments have us terrified, and the weeks between them are nearly intolerable. We guarded our hearts, yearning for that goldenÂ “12 week mark” and when we hit it, I was still fearful and newly desperate to make it to 20 weeks when we would see an ultrasound. People have asked why we waited so long to announce and why we adamantly held off on celebrating. This is why.Â When we made plans to announce our pregnancy, I already knew I couldn’t share news of thisÂ new life and find perfect joy in it without also sharing our history.
I know this perspective may be foreign to some (even thoseÂ who have experienced similar circumstances), and I honestly believe there is no right or wrong way to feel about anything – especially something so complex as parenthood. I am simply writing my experience because I need it out in the world. We’ve shared with you our love and anticipation, but my heart yearned to honor our first baby as well.