This sentiment came up on my news feed at the beginning of August and I could only hope it would be true.
As the month progressed, my cleaning career took off, Chad got a really great job that he wanted, Oakley is using the potty like a big girl, I sold one of our fillies and the list goes on.
Good thing after good thing… whenever this happens to us, we usually wait for the bomb to drop as too much good is usually to good to be true.
And then it happened.
We have had an inkling and today our inkling was confirmed.
The Backwoods Ranch Mama is pregnant.
ME, I’m pregnant with our third child, our rainbow.
OUR RAINBOW BABY.
There is a God.
Tears of joy and sadness have been creeping down our faces all week-long.
We have danced, laughed, cried and had moments of incredulous terror.
We have longed for the baby that gave us this beautiful gift and we have thanked her.
There isn’t a child in the world that could replace our sweet Willa but if things were different we wouldn’t have this current amazing blessing.
Everything is confusing, it’s weird to feel happy and sad and nervous and scared and unbelievably thankful all at the same time but that is what we are.
THANKFUL, unbelievably freaking thankful.
We decided after we lost Willa that we would let nature take its course and when the time was right we would be blessed with another baby.
Five months later and our pregnancy journey has begun again.
My body must have felt healed and ready to bare another life, to give another life.
We have decided as a family to announce earlier than the norm as we now know that there is absolutely no “safe zone” in pregnancy and we want to bask in every moment of our greatest blessing.
With the circumstances in which happened with our sweet Willa we have also decided that god forbid something happen during this pregnancy or not, we would rather have you on this journey with us from the beginning, so you can love us and support us through it… it takes a village to raise a grieving family up from the ground.
It is going to be a walk like no other.
There is going to be healing and grieving and anxiousness that we don’t even yet know exist.
We are once again due in April, if that isn’t a sign from above I don’t know what is?
We will be having additional screening, ultra sounds and an early induction but every single second of it is going to be worth it because we are determined that this journey of life is going to end with the greatest gift… hearing our baby cry.
Tears, so many tears.
We are sending love, light, healing and so much happiness out into the world.
Thank-you for loving us through our journey of rain and now for following our rainbow.
The Backwoods Fam.
PS. WE’RE PREGNANT. OMG.
Often when you are pregnant you don’t feel like yourself.
You feel as though so many parts of who you are, are missing and incomplete.
You travel through a journey of being someone else’s home for 40 weeks.
Your body changes in ways you never thought imaginable.
Many of these changes are visible to the eye of others, while many are not.
You constantly wonder who you are going to be when your journey has ended.
You wonder how you will manage becoming a human in charge of the life of someone else.
You wonder how you will possibly manage more than just yourself, when on the best of days life is hard enough as it is.
You wonder how long it will take to get your pre-pregnancy body back and feel concerned about the stretch marks, the extra skin and the blemishes that have shot out of no where.
You wonder if your brain will get back to the head space where it used to function.
After trying for multiple years for our sweet Oakley, I was so baffled to find out that we were pregnant.
I embraced every. single. second. of being pregnant.
Everything was different with Willa.
It happened so fast, that being pregnant just felt like my new norm.
I took it for granted.
I didn’t document it the way I did with Oakley.
I was hardly through my “fourth trimester” with Oakley when we found out we were being blessed again.
I was recently medicated for postpartum depression and anxiety and wasn’t myself at all.
I knew we were having a girl from the beginning, I pictured them playing together everyday.
I felt as though if I just got through the 40 weeks it would all be over with and I could be myself again.
I would have my girls and figure out me, again.
I regret that… every single day.
Yesterday I was triggered.
It happens more often than not.
Every pregnancy, every crying baby, every glowing bump, every pair of little sisters…
I was caught off guard and didn’t know what to say.
Someone asked me “hows your girls? You have two now, right?”
I just awkwardly nodded and got in my car and left.
“I don’t know how they both are…I wish…I did.”
Looking through pictures this evening, I have a total of 5 belly pictures of Willa…5.
I had asked Chad to take pictures of some clothing I had refurbished.
It was freezing cold.
I was miserable.
I remember being and acting miserable towards him.
I was mad that I looked fat in all the pictures.
I remember taking the camera and deleting picture after picture.
“My face was too fat, it was a bad angle, couldn’t he just get it right.”
As mammas we are too hard on ourselves.
As pregnant women we are too hard on ourselves.
We are bearing another soul within ours.
We are literally feeding and pumping life into another living body that has made a home within ours.
If I could go back…
I wouldn’t delete a single photo.
I wouldn’t think that my face was fat, that it was a bad angle or that I just hated the way I looked.
I would relish in the fact that my baby was healthy, I was alive and I was blessed….even if I only got her for a short time.
These photos were taken exactly one month before our sweet Willa joined us.
I was counting down the weeks, days and minutes.
I was looking forward to breast-feeding, dressing a tiny little girl and getting my body back.
I had filled the dresser in the living room half were her things and half with her sisters.
I had brought in some of the baby goods we would soon have to use.
I took two more photos after these and they were on the night we lost her.
I have decided that when we are blessed again, I won’t take a single moment for-granted and I am writing this so you do the same.
Every single moment.
The morning sickness, the weight gained, the stretch marks, the worry, the love, the plans.
Enjoy every single second of it.
Oh’ how if I could do things differently I would.
I would take every photo.
I would document every change, in every day.
Just so I could remember what things looked like, smelled like, sounded like and felt like on each glorious day that you were being carried within me.
I wouldnt automatically clear the house of all of your things.
I would leave them there for awhile, so everything didnt feel like a dream.
In a sense this has made a daunting task worse, because one day I will have to go through all of those things again and I don’t even remember what is there.
We are so blessed to have had you with us for 39 weeks and 5 precious days Willa.
We love you more than you will ever physically know and are soaking in the photo memories.
We know one day we’ll meet again but until then we are waiting for your rainbow.
We love you tiny angel.
Thump, Thump, Thump.
The beating of a heart on a doppler that you only hope… belongs to your baby and not to you.
Thump, thump, thump.
“I’m sorry we still couldn’t find anything.”
A ringing in your ears like you’ve never heard before.
Everything is different, but yet, the same.
My baby is not alive.
After everything has finished and your baby is here and then gone, you sit in silence watching your loved ones by your side trying to sleep.
You notice as their chests rise and fall, the quiver in their lips, the grimace on their faces, the pain.
You want to wake someone so you don’t feel so alone but instead relish in the fact that you aren’t alone… with the presence of their warm bodies around you.
You sit staring at the same place on the wall for what feels like hours, but yet only minutes go by.
You startle at 3:00 am as your phone rings.
It’s your older sister, just wanting to make sure you’re okay.
You pick up the phone not wanting to talk to anyone.
You try not to cry and tell her “everything will be okay.”
Everything was not okay, she knew.
She responds: “Bec is here and we are flying out first thing in the morning.”
You tell her, “please don’t, I will be fine.”
But deep down you know, that the people whom you have fought with, compared yourself too and admired your entire life, were the only ones you truly needed in that moment.
So you backtrack on your previous response and just say: “okay see you tomorrow.”
When you live two provinces away from your immediate family you want every single moment you get to spend with them to be joyous. You want to celebrate how much you have grown as individuals and laugh about all the previous arguments you’ve had.
Never in my life did I think that MY two adult sisters would be coming to my rescue because I had lost my child.
But they did.
They were there.
They sat beside me in silence, they cleaned my house as I slept, they held my hand as I decided what I wanted to do for my sweet baby and kissed my head as I fell asleep with tears running down my face.
They held me in the shower at 2 am as I uncontrollably cried and was mad at the world, they let me kick and scream and be incoherent.
They saw every ounce of my naked body, the deepest parts of my soul and every insecurity I have… and do you know what they did?
They cried alongside me, they laughed when I laughed, they didn’t judge my new postpartum body that didn’t have a child to show for it and they lived for me when I couldn’t.
They played with my toddler in ways that I wasn’t able to at the time.
They lived and breathed every fucking awful second of my life beside me as I tried to learn and navigate what it meant to now be a mother, a wife AND a grieving parent.
These two people are reasons why I thank GOD that I’m alive.
I am so thankful, that I have SISTERS.
I Love you guys,
“Get a grip on reality.”
Those are words that were said to me today, from who? It doesn’t matter.
But, I will tell you this.
It is hurtful to suspect that the way a family who has recently lost someone that they hoped and prayed for, for not only nine months BUT years could and will take offence too.
The way a family of loss portrays themselves to the world and to the public is completely different from what is happening behind closed doors, behind tired eyes and aching hearts.
If you want to completely shatter someone, those are the words you should speak.
Grief COMES IN WAVES.
I have said it before and I have said it a thousand times and I will say it a billion times more.
Longing for your child whom you held in your heart for forever and in your womb for nine months without getting to hear her cry is not something you forget overnight, in a few weeks, a few months or a few years. It is something you hold with you for forever.
YOU DO NOT GET OVER IT AND YOU DO NOT “GET A GRIP ON REALITY.”
THIS IS OUR REALITY.
We live every single day longing for the child that we never got to hear cry, bring home from the hospital or grow alongside her tiny sister.
I watch her father every single day try and ease the pain as he walks on eggshells around the topic of everyone whom is expecting, who doesn’t look at the tiny turquoise box upon our dresser, doesn’t like to look at her picture hanging on our wall and likes to avoid the topic of future babies.
I watch as her big sister, kisses her sisters photo, says baby, constantly touches my belly with a questioning look and questions who the baby on the wall is.
I sit by myself in my car and listen to her song, I watch the weeds grow in the garden that was once filled with so much love and longing and photoshoots of bellies that were meant to birth our next smiling giggling little girl.
I witness every single trying and expecting person around me afraid to talk about their expecting babies and worse yet I see fear in my friends eyes as they worry that what happened to us, could and may happen to them.
We have showed nothing but love and excitement for everyone in our lives who is blessed to have a healthy, happy baby coming soon, still with pain in our own hearts I may add and just so you know it takes a lot of effort as my heart aches for my baby.
We count every milestone, every day, and every moment that she is not here with us.
We have bins of unworn clothing, an empty baby swing and packages of frozen milk that our baby never had the opportunity to drink.
THIS is reality.
So next time you feel the need to insensitively ask for something for the need, “that we don’t need it and someone else CAN use it”. Remember this:
We have not forgotten.
We will never MOVE on.
Another child will never fill the void.
Words DO hurt.
And ultimately there is no need to “get a grip on reality” when we are still and will always be grieving.
Think about the things you say to everyone and especially to individuals of loss.
The smiling faces you see, aren’t always what you would suspect.
This is us, this is backwoods.
Life: constantly changing, constantly moving, constantly growing.
I have seen this a lot this summer.
It has been three weeks since I last wrote, I haven’t been able to find any words to fully describe what I’m feeling because I am feeling fine.
I have been constantly changing, moving and growing.
And I am fine.
When you are feeling okay after just losing a child and others surrounding you are not yet feeling that, you almost feel guilty or like somethings wrong with you. You wonder if something worse is yet to come, if a tsunami of emotions is soon to hit you and it may.
All you want is to be…ok.
And when you are, it feels weird.
I will tell you this, grief is weird but you learn a lot about yourself and the people surrounding you throughout the journey.
I have learned that people stare, gawk and scrutinize your capabilities. People wonder if you are okay, they wonder if you are coping, they wonder if you are adequately caring for your live child, husband and responsibilities. People judge you for staying home and they judge you for letting loose in public. It doesn’t matter what your situation, lifestyle or current state is… people get involved and make you their project.
The things I have learned about people throughout this grief journey are; you have to tell people straight up, you have to cope the way you are meant to, you have to grieve the way you are meant to and you have to journey through this new-found path you didn’t ask to be on… in a way your heart intends you to without worrying about the scrutiny that will come your way.
CRY, LAUGH, DANCE, DRINK, MELT DOWN, SWEAT, DO NOTHING.
Just do you whatever the fuck you want.
I haven’t meant to be absent from this space but have felt the need to keep my opinions and feelings to myself for further fear of judgement and scrutiny.
This is all: Don’t mistake my kindness, normality or willingness to be assent for weakness. I am kind to everyone and put my heart on my sleeve always but when you scrutinize my life or how myself or my family are coping… kind is not what you are going to remember about me.
(maybe I’m in the anger stage of grieving….well here it is.)
That is all.
If you have been truly wondering and concerned about how we have been doing, here is some of our summer.
And it has been FINE.
Happy four months tomorrow Sweet Willa Hain <3, we love you and have not forgotten.