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A Year Later
Thank you to Estefania for sharing her story with us this year, one year on after losing her little baby boy too soon at 14 weeks gestation, which she so bravely shared with us in her post "The Darkest Fairy Tale" as part of our "One in Four" series last year.
Today, Estefania reflects on how she feels one year after her loss.
This post originally appeared on The Darkest Fairy Tale:
You think you will never feel happy again. You think your days will always be gray and you will always have an achy heart. You think you will never be able to get over the pain. But you do.... and you don’t.
How do I feel a year after losing my son? Changed.
There is not one specific emotion—or set of emotions—that can describe how I have been feeling this past year. When I first lost Noah, the grief of losing him painted every single area of my life. All my energy, thoughts and feelings were focused on the pain of not having him. As a blessing, and a curse, time moves on. Like they say, the only way out is through it, and this could not be any more true than with grief.
A lot has happened this past year. All because of Noah.
As I have shared on my blog before, I decided to have surgery to remove my fibroids. This surgery changed my life. We decided to sell our first townhouse and move to a better, bigger house. In a way, Noah got us the house. We decided to share our story with the sellers, and they immediately decided they didn’t want to show the house to anyone else. The house, our dream house, was ours.
In the midst of moving, renovating, planning and dreaming, I took a moment to sit and remember where we were a year ago. A year ago in June we were anxiously waiting in a doctor’s office to see our baby and confirm our pregnancy. That day, a year ago, was easily one of the happiest days of our lives. And my heart aches today.
My heart aches when I attend a kid’s birthday party and see all the kids running, and know there is one nine-month-old missing. Even though I am carrying another child right now, nothing changes the fact that there will always be a baby missing. Noah will always be missing from our lives, this will not change, ever.
So those days are hard. When I see my friends’ babies growing and I remember my Noah never had a chance. When my arms are empty, my heart aches and my eyes cry.
But then I see where I am today. How losing Noah has changed my perspective in life. How I am more grounded in my faith than I have ever been in my life (although I still have a long way to go). How I have learned to not sweat the small stuff. How I see life—and death and grief—in such a different light. How I am not afraid to change (church, house, neighborhood). How my marriage is stronger than ever, and our family bonds have just gotten tighter. And my heart is joyful. Because I am proud of having survived this year, and make it—by the grace of God—the most significant year of my life.
What I have learned is that joy and sorrow can exist in the same place—they need to be side by side. You can feel extreme grief for what happened, and yet be extremely grateful and joyful for what that loss brought into your life.
When I lost Noah, all my world was painted dark. As life moved forward, my world grew, so the dark area became smaller and smaller. Will it ever go away? Never. But your heart gets stronger. Stronger to feel pain and cry when it needs to, and stronger to feel joy.
A month before the anniversary of Noah’s death--and birth--I found out I was pregnant again. By the time this story is published, I will (hopefully) be 21 weeks pregnant with our--so called--rainbow baby. And let me tell you, this rainbow comes with its own set of storms. In addition to the natural fear that comes from knowing a positive pregnancy test, or a heartbeat after 12 weeks does not necessarily mean I will get to take this baby home; enjoying the life of a child who is here because his brother isn’t is a feeling that cannot be described, only experienced.
And you know what? That is ok. Life is not black and white, you can grieve and rejoice in the same breath.
So I am always in my “in between” reality. I am in between the joy of carrying the life of my second child, while grieving the loss of my first. In the paradox of loving two children whose existence on Earth is mutually exclusive. Allowing myself to grieve the brother they will never meet, and celebrating they are here. Letting the pain of losing my first child, transform the way I get to parent my second one.
One thing I can tell you: my heart is bigger than it was a year ago. I am capable of holding both Noah and his little sibling in my heart. I can dream and wonder how in an alternate universe, I would have had the opportunity of parenting both Noah and his sibling, and at the same time I can grieve the reality of just holding one in my arms, and the positive and negative things that come from this.
So if you are experiencing the unthinkable. If you are one in four. I know your world is painted dark. And guess what? It will never go away. And that is okay. Every person is different, and I know how blessed I am for my support system. But just know you are capable of feeling joy again. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But you are. Your world will grow and the darkness will seem smaller. And your love for your child, will always, always, remain.
If you would like to share your story of infertility or pregnancy loss this October 2018, please send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org or if you would like to share your story anonymously please fill out the form on our get in touch page.
All submissions received will be shared on our blog "One in Four" throughout the month of October.
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