If you ask any woman before she has children, 'what do you think life will be like as a mother', I'd bet you'd get a lot of dreamy sweet responses of beautiful nurseries, successful breastfeeding journeys, and perfectly sleepy nights with their child. I like to remember my naive 'knowledge' of motherhood and laugh (and cry) a little bit.
The hard truth is that no one ever thinks about motherhood being a time of great loss. But for some of our sisters, it is and may always be.
I found myself 21+ weeks pregnant with our oldest daughter, Sophie, and a diagnosis of Anencephaly. A Neural Tube Defect that would claim the life of my unborn daughter before she would ever have the chance to live. Never for a moment did I think my journey into motherhood would start off with such despair, grief, and pain. But never-the-less, it did.
Miscarriages, still births, and infant deaths happen. We all know this, but we never really get to see much of the healing process, unless you yourself are going though 'it'. First off, let me say: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
You hear me? You. Are. Not. Alone.
You are part of a tribe of women that love you, cry with you, laugh with you, and grieve with YOU! If you're experiencing fresh grief, I promise you will not always feel this way. You will learn how to deal with your new normal of parenting a child beyond this life. About 2 years after Sophie's birth/death, I had a mental 'place' for her and my grief. Every so often I go in and 'unpack' that box, feel the feelings I need to feel, and then put it back up on my mental shelf. She would be 7 this year and a day doesn't go by where I don't think of her and smile, yes and cry too.
When I first 'met' Tracy I was responding to her post on a community Facebook group about a bunch of baby girls clothing that she was wanting to sale (sizes NB-2T). Everly was still in Newborn size clothing and me being 'done' after Bellamy got rid of almost everything. I offered this sweet lady a trade; her baby clothing for a family session. Coincidentally, she is a client of a friend of mine from church and already was set on family photos. However, she did want to take a few images of her with these clothes. She told me her story of loss and longing for more children, but that it just wasn't in the cards for their family. She also expressed to me that she had struggled to put a 'price' on these outfits, because they were so precious to her, but this trade felt 'right'.
I felt so very inspired by her journey and honored to immortalize these sweet outfits that her precious rainbow baby wore. As a mother who has lost a child, I completely know how hard it is to see those rainbow babies grow up, knowing they will never fit into that special sleeper or hospital outfit.
During our shoot we shared a few tears, it was so tender, her love and gratitude for her sweet daughter is so very apparent.
Motherhood is a journey unlike any thing else in this life. Your heart and soul is pressed into cells so tiny you cannot even see them with the naked eye. But from the moment you see those two pink lines, you are in love with that life. Unfortunately, the dreams are sometimes dashed. I don't know why, I stopped asking that question many years ago. But what I can tell you, is it is all so very worth it.
Take heart momma, I promise it is all worth the heart ache, worry, loss, and fear. It is the greatest journey of love you'll ever go on.