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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Shouldn't be here

I've just been thinking lately. If Jenna hadn't had Trisomy 18 and had been born and lived, this baby I'm carrying now wouldn't be here. I can say that with certainty because we did not want more than two children.

I am overjoyed we are pregnant again. Yesterday, I went to the store to get some things for our camping trip and made a stop in the infant section. I can't wait until I can start buying things for this baby. I want him or her here. We are talking about names, what color we are going to paint the nursery, whether I'm going to keep my part time job after he or she is born, when I'm going to start back to school, etc. I can't wait for November to be here.

But, in the back of my mind, I keep wondering if I'm somehow hurting Jenna's memory by being happy that this baby is coming. After all, if Jenna was alive, I would be enjoying my fourth month old now and not waiting on a new baby to come in December. How can I reconcile my happiness over the new baby with my sadness over losing Jenna?

And then, I think about years from now, when I'm explaining to this baby about Jenna. Surely, he or she is going to realize s/he wouldn't be here if Jenna had lived. How is that going to affect him or her? I don't want them to feel like second best, because I don't feel that way at all.

It is so confusing feeling this way. I already love this new baby so much, but it feels funny to know s/he wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Jenna's death. I think I'm going to have to keep that one a secret from him or her in the future.


amy said...


Being filled with joy for this new baby is wonderful, and exactly the way it should be -- and it in no way hurts Jenna's memory. They're different children, and you will forever love ALL your children equally -- but in unique ways, because they're unique people.

Jenna's life mattered and always will matter. She educated me and touched my heart, both of which are thanks to you for sharing her story. And your new baby's life already matters. Your his or her mom -- of course you're excited and thrilled! That's how it should be.

As for the future -- my mom had a miscarriage before she had me, and she told me about it when I was old enough to understand what a miscarriage was (I think after I'd learned about reproduction). She told me very simply, and she told me how sad she'd felt to lose that baby. I felt sad too and asked her a few other questions about how she'd felt (physically), and she answered them simply and honestly. Years later, I figured out on my own that had my older brother lived, I'd never have been born (because of the timing and the exact egg and sperm to make me, etc.) -- and I had a few conversations with my older brother and with God about it to try to sort out how I felt.

And NEVER ONCE did I feel like second best to my mom, even when I figured out that if he'd lived I wouldn't be here, not even when she told me how sad she'd felt to lose the baby. The way she said it, I knew she was sad about losing part of our family -- not about having me -- and that I was allowed to be sad about it too, because he was my family too, even though I wasn't born when it happened.

My emotions about it are complicated -- I still haven't figured them all out, even at 34 -- but my mom told me in such an honest, simple way, open for as much or as little discussion about it as I wanted and no pressure either way, that I knew she loved us all and that...well I'm starting to repeat myself. But I hope you're getting what I'm trying to say -- you love ALL of your children, and you can tell them family stories (even sad ones) in simple, honest, age-appropriate ways.

Let your love and your mother's intuition guide you. And rejoice in the new little life! Your family will always miss Jenna, and baby things will probably always be bittersweet. But don't feel bad about letting the emphasis be on the sweet.

Sorry for the long post (and I know you don't know me, I've only commented on your blog once but I check in here daily), but I really wanted to tell you all of that. More hugs, thoughts and prayers to you and yours. :)

Beth said...

I've had ALL of these same thoughts. I've come to realize though that I want ALL of my children. I love Eleanor just as much as I love Ada, and vice versa. I wish Ada was with me, but it doesn't make me any less happy that Eleanor is growing away inside of me. I just know that I have done - and continue to do - everything I can for both of my children. I honor Ada's memory and I plan for Eleanor's future, and that's the best I can do. I'm sorry you're going through is definitely tough. I was pretty upset about it a couple of months ago but now I have peace with it all. I hope you'll feel the same in a few months. And I'm glad that you're excited about this little one!

Kasey said...

I am a self-proclaimed blog hopper. I"m not even sure how I first came across your blog, but I stop by every so often. I don't have children yet, so I cannot begin to understand all you have gone through. But your post today made me think of this one that I came across recently.
I am passing it on in hope that it may bring you some comfort.

Brendan and Brenna's Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KaraY said...

That has to be hard to deal with. Another way you might want to look at it is Jenna's life--and death--made this new little life possible. Jenna HAD to come 1st in order for this little one's life to begin.

My mom had several babies who did not live, all of them before I was born. Her very 1st baby died at 2 months old. If she had lived, with many disabilities, my parents may not have had ANY more children. One was fullterm stillborn & another was a miscarriage. When I was old enough, I realized that had ANY of these children lived, I would not be here, nor would my younger brother. Our family would have been drastically different.

As strange as it sounds, I am grateful to those children for helping to shape my family into what it was.

As for feeling guilty for the joy...just imagine sharing Jenna's story with this new baby, eventullly sharing her beautiful pictures, and helping your new little one know that Jenna was & will always be part of your family.