During my pregnancy with my first daughter I was about as joyful as a pregnant woman can be. I had some nausea, heartburn and general discomfort, but I was so thrilled to be carrying a tiny life inside of me that it didn't really matter. I bought dozens of adorable baby outfits, decorated the nursery and planned to bring home our beautiful baby. Towards the end of my pregnancy my husband and I decided to enroll in childbirth classes. We were hoping to have a natural, drug free birth and we figured that talking classes geared towards this would be our best bet. We started our childbirth classes about two months before my due date.
I remember the first class well. We walked into the room with several other expecting couples. All told, there were six pregnant Mom's in the class. I looked around the room and felt the same excitement I had for myself with all of these other first time parents. We were all just weeks away from experiencing a true miracle! After a few weeks of class one of the other couples suggested getting together for dinner before class the next week. We agreed on Olive Garden, because pregnant ladies and unlimited bread sticks are a winning combination. My husband and I walked in and the hostess looked down at my large belly and smiled at us, she knew right where we were headed, to the table with all the other Preggos. We sat and chatted with the other expecting couples. It was wonderful to be able to share all of the same feelings of excitement and nervousness. Even after our birth classes ended we stayed in touch with several of the families. Our children have had many play dates together and the parents have become good friends. It has been wonderful to have these new friends that we share so much in common with.
Now with Victoria everything is different. I am no longer the naive excited Mom that I used to be. I have since become involved in the baby loss community. I have made new friends with other baby loss Moms. We share something in common as well, but it is grief. Once I became pregnant with Victoria I found myself feeling a disconnect from this community. Once I started showing I stopped attending the support group that I run with another Mom and let her take over. I remembered all too well coming to the support group one month when I was fresh in my grief and seeing a pregnant Mom in the room. She was a loss Mom as well, but just being around a woman full of new life was too much for me. I went home that night and cried. I couldn't bear being that trigger for another Mom. I felt like I no longer belonged, although I was still grieving. I wanted to jump back into the "regular" Mom community. I considered taking a childbirth class series again since it had been almost four years since I had given birth at full term. But the thought of sitting in a room full of parents that were full of joy was just too much for me. I also felt a disconnect from those parents. The instructor that taught our first classes was kind enough to come over to our house for a private refresher course.
Since Victoria's birth I have attended several Mom groups for breastfeeding support. Every time I go I have a mini panic attack. Will someone ask me how many children I have? How will I explain without upsetting the other person while still acknowledging my twins. What if I am triggered? What if I start crying? So far I have been fine. I want to connect with these other Moms. We share so much in common. But I can't help but feel like an outsider. When Moms start complaining about the day to day trials of caring for a baby I have a hard time relating. Of course I understand the challenges, I face them every day. The constant feeding, attention, crying, sleepless nights. It's hard, I get it. I just feel so thankful for all of that. I have been wanting that again desperately for the past three years.
So now I find myself in the awkward place. I am a baby loss Mom and I am a Mom of living children. I am lucky enough that most of my friends have stuck with me through all of this. I need the support more than ever to continue navigating through these new challenges.