Expecting a baby just two short months after the loss of Nash has brought on a mix of emotions. It’s a unique experience that is hard to explain to others. People expect me to be excited. It’s as if they feel that now we can be happy again. Now we can have the family we always wanted. I wish it was like that and part of me thought it would be. Boy was I wrong. My pregnancy with Nash was so beyond different from this pregnancy. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with him, I felt this immediate connection. I loved him from the moment I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test. I loved being pregnant. I read all the weekly updates in the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I looked up pictures on the internet to see what he looked like at three months, six months etc. Those nine months were just ours. He was with me wherever I went. If I was in the car listening to the radio and I felt a kick, I smiled. When I was alone and feeling sad, I would rub my belly and talk to him. You truly do build a bond with your baby before they are born. I remember being so excited to meet this little kicker. To see the face of the baby I had pictured for nine months. When I saw him for the first time, I remember this overwhelming feeling of love but also this crazy connection. I looked at him and thought to myself hey buddy I’ve been waiting for you, almost like we were old friends that hadn’t seen each other in a while. I think all moms feel this way after carrying their babies for nine months. That you already have this relationship that is special to only the two of you. You also sense that your baby has this same connection to you. When I spoke to him and touched and kissed his face for the first time, he looked at me with those big eyes and I could sense this recognition he had. Like he was thinking, so your the one I’ve been kicking.
This time around is different. I’m grieving Nash. I’m starting out this pregnancy missing a big chunk of my heart. I find it hard to be excited about anything, including being pregnant. I don’t feel that immediate connection like I did before. Sometimes I even forget I’m pregnant. I’m overwhelmed with fear about how I’m going to react when this baby is born. Will he or she look like Nash or look nothing like him? Will I be excited or sad by one or the other? Do I want another boy? Do I not want another boy? Will seeing this new baby bring back memories and make me smile or cry? In so many ways I fear that having this baby will make me miss Nash even more, if that’s possible. Just holding babies now puts an instant ache in my heart and memories of how he felt in my arms come flooding back. Sometimes it’s a good feeling and sometimes it is devastatingly hard. I feel horrible for my friends and family who already fear they are going to say the wrong thing. Especially now, because I take everything the wrong way at this point. For instance, it is by far the strangest thing to be congratulated just two months after losing your child. It’s just not a word that in any way relates to my life right now or how I feel. I can tell that even the people saying it realize this, but at the same point they are happy for us and want to acknowledge this new baby. I know that if they didn’t say anything I would be sad that they didn’t. I’m going to blame this irrational behavior on pregnancy hormones.
People told me after Nash died, “You’re young, you can always have another baby.” That’s hard to hear. On one hand yes, I am lucky that I can have more children. On the other hand, having another baby does not replace Nash or take away our grief. I don’t want people to think I will no longer grieve Nash once this new baby is here. If you have three teenage children and one dies, I’m sure you don’t feel HAPPY because you have two left…yes you love them and thank God you have them but you are still missing and grieving the one that is gone. Your family is now missing a key person . It’s the same when you lose a baby. I know I will love this new baby with all of my heart, but I will still feel the emptiness of Nash not being there. What a horrible thing for this baby to be born into…already missing a brother he or she will never meet. Born to parents who are the saddest they have ever been. In the beginning, I wondered how much love I had left to give this new baby. I would tell my family this and they would say that everyone feels that way about their second child. It’s then that I realize people truly don’t understand. I know in my heart that they are just trying to comfort me, but it’s not a question of loving this child as much as Nash. It’s the question of whether or not I have that same amount of love left to give.
Sometimes I fear something is going to be wrong because I have these thoughts. Like I’m going to be punished for having fears or doubt about our next child. Then there is the inevitable guilt I have explained before. You feel guilty for being happy. You feel guilty for being excited. You feel guilty that you are going to give this child things the other wasn’t here long enough to get. I think about holding this next baby and smiling and loving all over him or her like I did with Nash and then feeling guilty that I’m doing that when I can’t do it with him. I’m nervous that I won’t be the mother I was to Nash. I worry that I will resent the new baby. These are fears I wrestle with every day, and I hate that I even have these thoughts. I pray that I will surprise myself like I have been doing so far. There have been times when family members have told me how much this next baby scares them and stresses them out. How scared they will be until he or she is at least two years old. Even though these are thoughts that I have myself, I instantly get defensive. Almost the same feeling I have when I pick on my little brother, but I’ll be damned if anyone else does. I remember one time in particular after something along these line was said to me. When Todd and I were driving home, I was filled with anger and protection for the new baby. I looked at Todd and said, “They are going to love this baby dammit and treat him or her no differently or I will freak out!” Todd smiled at me and said, “And you are afraid of how you will feel about the new baby? You are already being a momma bear.” I smiled. He was right, it gave me hope. Hope that I will be even half the mother I was to Nash. Hope that I will love them equally. Hope that I will not set an unreachable standard for this baby to live up to. Hope that when I see him or her all that I will feel is love. Love and that amazing connection I felt with Nash.