Motherhood is messy… and I’m not talking physically messy with Mila playing in mud, food, and whatever else she can get her hands on. It’s also mentally messy and challenging, especially when parenting after loss.
Last week, I got tagged in a comment on a blog post about how grief slightly lifts after a rainbow turns a year old. I read it and had to think on it for a long while. Then today when I was looking in my memories on Facebook and on my phone (the little baby Mila pictures are just too adorable), I came across a blog post I wrote a year ago today. Essentially, it’s all the post birth/days after I had Mila triggers that I didn’t expect to have. I never had the ‘typical’ bring your first baby home and everything feels magical moment and bringing Mila home didn’t really change that.
Don’t get me wrong, Mila is magical in ways I can’t even explain. She makes me smile everyday and keeps me on my toes. Anytime I’m sad, she’ll snuggle me and I love watching her explore the world. My life has been improved because of her, but I wouldn’t say my grief has lightened. It’s evolved like it had before she was even made.
Now that we’re past the year mark, I would say certain parts have lightened. I can be around babies more and not worry so much. Pregnant women still get me because I wonder if they’re going to be the 1 in 4. And Mila, she doesn’t trigger me in ways that I thought she would. I love seeing her grow and I wasn’t worried about her getting hurt or pushing the limits as much as I thought I would. I encourage her to climb and if she falls, I don’t freak out. She isn’t my trigger, but the absence of Jensen and not seeing him get bigger is the worst. Maybe they go hand-in-hand, but I won’t let my brain make that sort of connection.
I sort of think there’s this misconception where a rainbow baby comes and there’s a lot of happiness. This hasn’t be the exact case for me. There’s a TON of happy days with Mila, but grief still happens…
After Jensen was born, I was pretty well aware of how many weeks had passed, then months, and years. Those first few months, I was in this huge fog and couldn’t accurately picture how big he’d be. With Mila, I can see her growth and try to picture Jensen there. I make it a big deal to capture her growth every month. I don’t want to forget and deep down, I still think she could be taken away from me. On Jensen’s birthday this year though, I felt like I was on the verge of tears a lot of the day. It was a good day, but thinking how he’d be so into blowing his candles out and wondering what his reactions would be seemed more intense to me. I think his birthday will always be somewhat tricky, especially with hers only nine days afterwards. The other milestones I’m weirdly aware of at the moment is that he’d be starting preschool this fall or those huge ones.
The holidays still suck for me. I love watching Mila get to enjoy them, but it’s in the back of my head that he’s missing. Knowing he’s missing when all the other kids are around… hurts. I want him there. It’s hard to know there’s always one more that should be with us. I do hope the holiday grief will lighten in the future.
Random Grief Attacks
There’s just days when grief knocks me on the ground. I try to distract myself and pour myself into Mila, school, projects, my house, and a ton of other things, but it doesn’t help. I can be completely fine on the outside and managing but the grief is like a fire inside of me. This time of the year is awful for me. Their birthdays and the holiday and the thought of spring bringing rebirth has gotten to me since he’s been born. When she was younger and would cry so much, I can remember just feeling so down on myself. Like, I would just want her to stop crying for a minute to just give myself a second, then I would feel awful. All I wanted was to hear Jensen’s cry and I was wishing for hers to stop for a minute. I felt like I didn’t deserve her. Then that would kickstart my head to somehow blame myself for Jensen dying. Grief is crazy and it’s random like that. Even now, I’ll get frustrated when she doesn’t listen or if I’m just tried and need her to go to sleep. Then those thoughts creep up.
Grief and all the triggers haven’t went away. They’ve changed and hit me at different times than they did before. I’m learning how to distinguish negative thoughts and seeing what part of me needs to be looked after. Losing Jensen has completely changed my life. It’s changed the way I view the world and others. He’s taught me how to love fully and not want to lose loved ones. Losing him has taught me to be a better parent to Mila than I thought I ever could be.
My motherhood is messy from grief, but wildly full of love from my two babes. There’s no ‘right’ way to be a mom or journey through life after loss.