I never thought I’d be among the one of four women who experiences the loss of a baby. I’d had two easy, healthy pregnancies under my belt, and I naively thought my future pregnancies would be invincible.
I never thought I’d carry twins, either. But I did.
When I was eight weeks pregnant, I found out that my twins had stopped growing when I was around five weeks along. One’s heartbeat was very slow and eventually faded to silence, the other was already gone. My body didn’t realize I wasn’t pregnant anymore, so I still had cravings and my belly still grew. Even after a month of stilled heartbeats my body held onto them, so I had to have a D&E. It was incredibly painful in every way; my arms and heart ached to hold or see them just one time, but there was nothing of them left to hold or even say goodbye to.
in my subsequent four pregnancies that followed the miscarriage of my twins, I felt so much fear that I would experience another loss. I was scared that I wouldn’t know that something was wrong, that my body would just keep tricking me into thinking my baby was alive with its symptoms, but it’d be a lie once again. If I hadn’t had an ultrasound with my miscarried twins, I’m not sure when I’d have known something wasn’t right, and that scared me. Obviously, I took physical measures to assure that all was well with a home doppler and a quick ultrasound in the early weeks, but in between those times of reassuring myself I still had fear.
One day in particular, I was filled with fear. I was a few weeks along with my first rainbow baby, almost a year after losing our twins. Fear chased and engulfed me, paralyzing me to move forward or to simply enjoy the present moment. That’s when it hit me– am I going to let this fear rule? Am I going to let it take away the joy of this new life growing within my womb?
From them on my motto became, “Don’t let fear steal your joy.”
The motto was simple, but it helped remind me that I can’t let my fears take away the gift and happiness that a new pregnancy brings. While fear worries and wonders “what if,” choosing joy helps us find the best of where we are right now. It lifts the soul for this moment, right now, today.
It’s a re-shifting of focus, from negative to positive. It’s trusting the process. It’s hope. It’s focusing on the here and now, that in this moment, our baby is healthy and thriving. It’s allowing love and happiness to take over instead of letting anxiety win.
It’s letting go of tomorrow’s worries and what if’s, because we can’t control what happens next. All we can do is control what we think, eat, and do right now to ensure the healthiest pregnancy possible.
Our babies feel our feelings. Studies show that they respond in the womb to our emotions through little chemical signals sent through the placenta. Mental, behavioral, biological, and medicinal effects have been shown in studies of babies born to anxious mothers during pregnancy. So, learning some self-coping skills as a pregnant mom benefits not only us, but our babies as well. Having a motto to cling to in times of fear is a good first step to take in doing that!
Sure, we’re not guaranteed tomorrow– for ourselves or for our babies. But if loss were to happen, would we want to look back and know our baby was fully treasured during their time with us?
To the mommas pregnant with their rainbow baby, I encourage you to embrace where you are right now– pregnant! That’s a beautiful thing.
Don’t let fear steal your joy of the gift you have right now.