Valentine’s week. Hearts are everywhere to find and collect in Lorenzo’s honor. Back-t0-back birthdays for me and Ryan, turning the age we’ll be when another one of our children is born. One week closer to meeting the owner of the new heart growing inside.
I’m humbled and honored that this particular Valentine’s I was also asked to write a love letter to the women I rarely get to meet face to face, but am pulling for with all my might: PAL Mamas.
(You may read the full letter here.)
I’ve been writing for Pregnancy After Loss Support since the very month I learned I was pregnant again. PALS is an amazing resource for moms on a part of the journey that can be particularly complicated to traverse. Because:
We are thrilled to be pregnant again; we are terrified to lose again.
We want to bond; we are still and always will be grieving.
We hope this time will be different; we don’t have hard, true evidence that it will—and neither do you.
We are running a marathon: endorphin-propelled, exhausted, somehow trusting we will make it to the end, which is another beginning.
Like H. when she tries to leave the house with some seventeen things, it’s hard for one person with two hands and one broken yet beating heart to manage it all. On top of that, our culture here in the U.S. pushes at all costs positivity, silver linings, looking on the bright side, and everything working out in the end. This rhetoric undermines our very real fears that are not based in theoretical worry, but are in fact grounded in profound, experienced loss or losses.
The complexity doesn’t mean I’m not also excited and grateful and daring to decorate a nursery. It simply means I’m not only those things. It means those things are erected over fear and heartache, and the ground beneath it all can give way rather easily. It’s a lot like a sandcastle we rebuild each day with a heck of a lot of courage. Despite those waves and winds, we embrace the sun beating down in the present moment. We build up our hope a little higher than the last time. Here, pregnant, preparing my daughter to be a big sister, there is no denying it is a beautiful day. But that does not mean we don’t remember the terror of the storm, that we don’t sometimes feel like we occupy it still even when the day is lovely.
So, while I am able, I rebuild the castle, its own form of a love letter. I watch H. play in her little sister’s room with many of her old baby things, new to her again. She grabs a book we used to read and crawls up onto the “big chair” with me and we snuggle. I dream, how I dream, of snuggling two here. It is big enough for all of us—our bodies, our range of emotions, our beating hearts, as well as this ache for what the ocean took back from us, yet also somehow gives.