Becoming a Mother after Miscarriage

 
Photograph by Justine Milton

Photograph by Justine Milton

When we found out we were expecting for the second time, our hearts filled with all sorts of emotions - we were happy, excited, scared and nervous... but most of all, we were grateful. Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and left me thinking that there was something wrong with my body, that it would be hard for me to have kids one day. The tragic ending made me fearful for those first few months of this pregnancy - every day I wondered if it would come to a sudden end the way it did last time. After the first trimester ended and the chance of miscarriage decreased significantly, the fear of losing the baby never fully went away - I didn't truly believe it was real until our eyes met after 16 long hours of labour. And although I was in disbelief at my growing body, I celebrated every wiggle, hiccup and beat of his little heart until the day he decided to come earth-side. I loved being pregnant - the fact that I could be a comfortable little house for my babe brought me so much joy, even when I went two weeks overdue in the insanely hot heat of July.

July 25, the day Remington James came into the world was pure magic. Labour, delivery, and everything that happened that day was more than I could have ever imagined. It was beautiful and intense, and the most emotionally raw experience I've ever had. It's something that you can't explain to women who have not yet had a baby - something that is beyond comprehension. The minute your eyes meet the tiny human you've been sharing your body with for the past 9 months, your body fills with an overwhelming love - a love like you've never felt before. In that moment you know without a doubt that for the rest of his life, you will protect him, love him, and do everything you can to be the best mother you possibly can, for him. In that moment you feel as though you've known this tiny face your whole life - he's been a part of you, you understand him... and it's always been him. All of the things that you've done up until this day were merely leading you here, to him. 

During my pregnancy, and even now during the first weeks of Remington's life, I haven't thought much about the proper, or textbook way to parent. I haven't read as many books as I would have liked, and haven't researched the ways to get your baby to sleep at night, or when and how to introduce foods. I've decided that for me taking everything as it comes and doing what feels right is the best way to approach motherhood. I like that when my baby gives me his hungry cries, I feed him, when he wants to be held, I hold him, and when he seems tired I let him sleep. I like not having to worry about the textbook way of doing things, and love the idea of growing and learning with him. I love that he is changing my life as much as I am helping shape his, and we're doing it organically... by just listening to each other.

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Throughout this pregnancy, I learned that women are absolutely incredible - we not only make humans, we birth them and then feed them with our bodies alone - we teach them, and help shape them into respectful people with morals and values. I also learned that miscarriage is not something that we should feel ashamed of - we need to get rid of the stigma attached to it. Women need to feel as though they can talk about it - tell people when they find out they're pregnant and share in that joy the same way they should be able to tell people of a loss and have the support of friends and family through that time. The 'don't tell people for three months' rule needs to be forgotten because making a human is hard, and stressful at times, but also the most beautiful thing ever, and feeling supported through all of that is so important. We will all get our rainbow babies one day, and when that day comes, it is the most monumental day of your life. 

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Motherhood is a complete mental shift - it is a selflessness that you never thought possible, a love bigger than you've ever imagined, a connection you'll have for the rest of your life. It is looking into the eyes of the tiny human you brought to the world and seeing yourself, but also seeing him - seeing a unique person with his own personality and purpose, a person who chose to be on his life journey with you.

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