Every once in awhile, I’ll look across the room and David will be sitting or playing on the loveseat in our living room. It is such a beautiful juxtaposition for me. That is the loveseat Jason & I sat on the day we received our prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for David. We told Jason’s mom the news on that seat. Jason sat in silence with tears running down his cheeks on that seat. We sat underneath a cloud of sorrow on that seat. We were confused and scared and overwhelmed on that seat. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think about that day without thinking about the loveseat and the shock and grief we experienced there.
And now there’s today. Almost two and half years to the day after receiving our diagnosis. Every single thing has changed. We still have the loveseat, but it’s filled with joy. Our biggest surprise and sweetest blessing plays on that seat. It is truly a seat of love (yep, I went there)
There are a million things that can go through ones mind when you get a positive pregnancy test. For many people, it’s excitement. For some, it’s dread and denial. For a select population, it’s fear. Fear is honestly such a normal part of pregnancy but I’m going to speak specifically to the population of women that only experience fear.
For any woman who has had a traumatic pregnancy event, fear is practically the only emotion experienced when seeing a positive pregnancy test. After a miscarriage or still birth or infertility diagnosis, the rose-colored glasses are off. Gone are the days of running excitedly out of the bathroom to show your partner the little stick. Excitedly calling parents & best friends are a memory if they ever existed at all. You are filled with a fearful hope and begin preparing yourself for the inevitable loss rather than get swept away in dreams of the future.
There’s another group of us that fall into a similar category – Moms who are pregnant after a special needs diagnosis. We’ve seen the “other side”. We’ve gotten the call or sat in a somber room. We’ve met with professionals & heard the statistics. And regardless of how blessed we feel to have our “special” kiddos, there’s a fear that rests in the back of your heart. At every appointment and visit, we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. We’re waiting for a similar yet completely different diagnosis. Cleft lip? Missing limbs? What surprise issue will this new little one have? It can be scary to even hope for “typical”.
I was chatting with a fellow therapist recently about my current pregnancy. I was quick to dismiss my feelings of anxiety & fear but she stopped me. She reminded me that my pregnancy with David was traumatic and I don’t need to minimize it. I love my son & wouldn’t change him for the world but that doesn’t mean I didn’t experience heartbreak during my pregnancy with him. It definitely doesn’t mean that I’ve accepted anything that comes my way & by default this latest pregnancy has been blissful and calm. Quite the opposite! I look back on my youthful naivety when I was pregnancy with Ella and almost laugh. In comparison, this pregnancy has been quiet. That’s the best way to describe it. We’ve been reserved, haven’t made any major announcements or even told everyone we know. We kept it to ourselves & didn’t even tell our parents until the end of the first trimester and our blood work testing for all Trisomies had come back negative.
It’s been a journey. It’s been emotional. It’s been a process. Every day we get a little closer to calm & blissful. We are more than delighted to be surprised blessed again & know we’re lucky. But I don’t want to minimize the journey. I don’t want to put on a brave face and be inauthentic. I think that’s detrimental to other moms. It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed. Pregnancy doesn’t have to look like a TV commercial. It can be messy with lots of tears. There is no shame in taking each day for what it is and trying again the next day. This is our journey and we get to determine what it looks like, tears, fears & all.