There is a question many loss parents ask. “Will we ever get pregnant again?” Some families have spent thousands of dollars on IVF just to have their little one pass in an instant. Some families have a child who is born still and wonder if the pain of loss is worth risking again. As for James and I, we just couldn’t see the point of getting pregnant again knowing that we were already part of the 1 in 4 club.
I remember two weeks post D&C sitting with my therapist telling her I wanted to take all of my baby items and put them in the fire-pit in the back yard. I was only half kidding. Something about imagining those cute onesies go up in flames gave me a way of seeing my pain become external. I was worried I’d regret it, so I never burned them. I kept the ones specific to our sweet pea, tossed a few, and put some less specific things in storage. I do have to admit, throwing away those few items felt liberating.
“I’m never doing this again!” I told my therapist. “Why would I put myself through this?” She reassured me that I didn’t have to. “How stupid of me to get brave? How stupid of me to stop birth control on purpose!” I barely got any more thoughts out and finished that session with more tears than words. When I got home I told James and he agreed. I leaned on his shoulder and said, “I just can’t do it. I just can’t risk going through this again.” “I know.” He reassured me. “We don’t have to. This is our family and we get to make those decisions.” What a relief.
After a few months I went from crying constantly to only crying once per day. By the summer I was only crying a few times a week. When we left for The Netherlands it was only once per week. “Time heals all wounds,” they say. I have to disagree. It’s what we do with that time. I spent tons of money on therapy. I had to quit a job that I loved. I had to distance myself from people who were making my grief more difficult.
I remember arriving at our new flat in Rotterdam, NL and wondering when I would cry. I’m not naive enough to believe that a new setting would keep me from grieving my first child. We met a new friend at church and he invited us to dinner with he and his wife. Having not met her, we didn’t know she was visibly pregnant. We finished dinner and even went for a local beer after our meal. As soon as we left, James looked at me with concern and said, “I didn’t know they were pregnant. We don’t have to see them again if you don’t want to.” He’s such a supportive spouse. Surprisingly though, I was ok.
It had only been 5 months since our baby died and I didn’t cry. Time didn’t heal me. Therapy and self-care did. Time didn’t show up for me. Compassionate friends did. Time wasn’t on my side. God was. Time can’t do anything for us. Healing is hard work. Those first days after our loss time stood still. All I could do was put together puzzles and watch Gilmore Girls. The clock kept ticking. Pushing off my grief and pain wasn’t going to help. Finding a community of loss moms would.
James and I came to realize that therapy and work would allow us to have more children if we wanted. Time may not have healed our wounds, but space and faith would. Our hearts needed to find ways to honor our sweet pea before we could think about parenting another little one. Time didn’t heal us enough to get pregnant again. Love did.