But this post is a bit more serious. I have had some insights into my grief lately that I wanted to try to share as concisely as possible. Since I've been pregnant, my grief has manifested itself differently. One thing that I have found is that for the most part, I haven't felt anything towards this baby I'm carrying. I could care less about anything baby related, and I almost dread thinking about her arrival. Not exactly how you would hope to feel and certainly not how I have felt with my other kids (although I did have my own worries). This has concerned me, but not enough to push me to figure it out.
I still see a therapist every few months just kind of as a check in, to keep an eye on my grief and help me manage life and take care of myself. My last appointment came just a few days before I had my 20 week ultrasound. I shared my apathy with him. And I shared that I am nervous about this baby taking the place of my forever baby, Holland. And what I discovered was that in my own way, I am trying to keep Holland alive. I don't feel like I am generally, because I don't talk about her a lot, I will mention her, but I don't feel like I have been over the top. But internally I feel this huge obligation to still take care of her in the ways I can, now that she is dead. Whether that's by visiting her grave, letting people know that I had a daughter that died, or making sure we involve her in family things. I feel an immense amount of guilt if I fail with one of these things, because I am her Mom and she's my baby and I have to take care of her right?
(the freaky one eye open while she's snoozing).
I had to remind myself that Holland doesn't need me anymore. She is doing great. I am her mother, but she doesn't need me and it is impossible to maintain the same kind of relationship with someone that is not physically present. I have my memories, and I have my sweet experiences with her every now and then. But that's it. And by trying to maintain this close relationship, I am trying to keep her alive in a way. I have been afraid what having another baby would mean to that relationship, and so I think I have just dreaded it. It's scary to think of letting her go because what does that mean for me?
So often I engage in these behaviors, particularly as a Mom, because Holland died. Example: I check on Briz in the middle of the night every night. She doesn't need me to and I certainly never did that before Holland died. It's not by any means some extreme behavior, but I do it simply as an obligation to Holland, to try to hold on to her and the meaning of her death. Letting go means that I don't define my behaviors as a mother from her death, that I simply parent as me. And it means that this baby girl inside of me has nothing to do with Holland.
It will be a process to really let this sink in, but I already feel a bit like the "old Lexie." And I already feel more open to connecting with this baby girl. I have a lot of stubborn moments, where I think "No, I can't completely let her go. It's too hard." But I am now finally starting to understand what the final phase of acceptance is. I thought I had already accepted, but being pregnant, and starting a new stage has helped me realize that like always, there is more work to do! :)