One of the hardest things to do after any great pain is opening up. As humans our natural response to pain is to recoil, to pull back, to hide. There is no pain that compares to the heartache of losing someone you love, especially your child. So when your rainbow comes along, even if they are wanted, planned, prayed for, it can feel easier to recoil. To ration your love in little pieces. Or, to withhold it entirely. To keep your hopes low until it is “safe” to love them fully. This is no way to live. This is no way to love your child.
I’m not here to criticize you, because I’ve done the same. I refused to plan Easton’s nursery until we were out of the first trimester. I peppered my sentences with if’s and maybe’s. I felt unwilling for a long while to talk about his future; to really imagine him coming home with us. Even now I find myself tempted to refrain from putting all my metaphorical eggs in the one basket that is our little boy.
The following quotes are a collection I’ve put together that I feel like capture the necessity of keeping your heart open after loss. Read until the end for a challenge as well as a free download.
“I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” -Vincent Van Gogh
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” -Theodor Seuss Geisel
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” -Nelson Mandela
When you first get those two pink lines, the countdown begins. With so many weeks left to traverse, the idea of just getting through the first trimester, much less making it to delivery seems like such a long journey. I can still vividly remember the feeling that 14 weeks was unobtainable, a lifetime away, and now there’s only 14 weeks left in this pregnancy.
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” -Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela back at it again with the powerful quotes! In all seriousness, I’m a huge subscriber to the idea that happiness is much more a choice than a feeling. That choice could be something as simple as starting your registry or looking through a baby name app. Don’t hold your breath in fear of what could go wrong. Step in faith no matter what potential outcome may be consuming you.
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
“I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance” -Tony Arata (from “The Dance”, recorded by Garth Brooks)
The hardest part of pregnancy after loss is no longer having that naivety. Until you walk this path, even if you can wrap your head around how often it happens, there is still this innate idea that child loss only happens to other people. Yes something could happen again. No one knows that like those who’ve been there before. But you can’t let that keep you from embracing what you have now. If someone offered me the chance to have never felt the pain of losing our babies, I would say no in a heartbeat. Because it was worth it. Getting to be their mama was worth it.
“Our children are only ever lent to us. We never know how long we will be able to keep them for. So kiss them, cuddle them, praise them, and hold them tightly. But most of all, tell them you love them every day.” -Carly Marie
Dare to Love
Whether you’re pregnant with or planning for your rainbow, or even if you’re not there yet, I hope you take these words to heart. These quotes have one solidifying theme, dare to love. Dare to love the life you have, dare to love your new normal, dare to love your rainbow. They will not -they could not- replace what you have lost.
So that’s my challenge for you this week: dare to love.
Here’s where the freebie comes in! Download the “dare to love” desktop wallpaper and set it as your background for the next seven days (or more!). Use it as a reminder to embrace today and to keep your heart open.