How to be a parent after loss

After miscarriages #1, #2, and #3, my biggest fear was that I would never get to be a mother.  I wanted nothing more and the thought that I would not get to someday be a mother just paralyzed me.

Then I had my Sweetie and being a mom just felt natural.  It just felt SO right.  I didn’t have many of the fears that I heard other first time moms talking about.  This is not to say I thought I was better or doing everything perfect, but I really just felt at ease.  I knew I was doing the very best I could and I didn’t sweat the small stuff.  I really worked hard to enjoy every moment (I know, the cliche that most moms can’t stand).  I loved this Mom role so much that I couldn’t fathom not doing this again.

And then I had two more early miscarriages before my Sweetie was even 15 months old.  And my 3rd loss when she was 19 months old.  I look back at pictures from so many memories with her that should just be happy and I instantly remember:  “Oh, that was the trip we took right after I miscarried #4, I couldn’t take Sweetie swimming because I was still bleeding.”  “That was the Thanksgiving we celebrated right before miscarriage #5.”  “That was our happy family vacation when I was 6 weeks pregnant with Abby”  Now I feel like her entire life has been so marked by my losses of her potential siblings that I’m just doing her a huge injustice.

I am less of a mother since losing my Abby.  I regret that more than anything else (and that’s saying a lot).  Where I used to have (pretty close to) endless patience and be playful and fun and sing songs, now I’m on edge and constantly fighting back tears.  I can’t sing so many songs to her now because I just start crying (try singing ‘You are my Sunshine’ when you’re depressed/grieving without crying).  I don’t want to look at pictures with her because I play the ‘before miscarriage/after miscarriage’ thing in my mind and it drives me crazy.   I use so much energy during the day trying to act ‘normal’ or like my old self with Sweetie.  And there are so many moments when I just want to scream–  not at her (and I don’t) but because she doesn’t understand and I just want to explode.  But I shudder to think what will happen as she gets older and does understand.  I can’t handle my guilt now, how will I handle it as it grows exponentially?

Sweetie is so into ‘baby dolls’ now like many other toddlers her age-  she brings them over to me and says ‘Mommy feed baby’ or ‘Mommy read to baby’ and I just want to throw the baby doll across the room.  I want MY baby, her little sister.  Not some lifeless plastic doll that reminds me yet again of what I’ve lost.  I’ve tried to hide the baby dolls, and then she cries and wails and asks relentlessly for them.  Believe me, that’s far worse.  I hear myself in her and it breaks what little is left of my heart.

Parenting is hard.  Parenting after losing 6 of your babies is harder.





4 thoughts on “How to be a parent after loss

  1. I am not the same mother I was before my losses either. I have a hard time not watching my daughter grow and change, and not thinking about the fact that I will likely never get to experience a moment like this with a second child. Loss and grief changes who we are, so by default, it changes our parenting as well. Try not to be hard on yourself- I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a child seeing pain and grief. Life is full of it, and as long as you’re not handling it in a way that is damaging to the child (and I’m sure you’re not), they may as well have some exposure to it from a young age. Hugs to you- it’s always hard to reconcile who we are with who we thought we would be.

  2. You’re doing the best you can. You’re grieving the loss of lives that were to be your children. It’s incredibly painful and life-changing. You obviously adore your daughter and are a good mother.
    I can see myself feeling just as you describe. Right now, I’m at the terrifying point of worrying if I’ll ever be a mother. If my current pregnancy brings me a healthy baby, I know I’ll want to try again soon. I’ve always wanted several children. But then– is it better to quit while I’m ahead and enjoy the baby I have in case I just have more losses? I’m sure I won’t be able to stop trying.
    I’m sorry you’re hurting, but don’t blame yourself for how you feel. It’s a lot to handle.

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