This week, we are sharing about the effect our loss(es) had on our children (sibling grief). If you did not have children at the time of your loss, we are also sharing about subsequent pregnancies (after the loss). If you have not had a pregnancy following the loss, yet, you may share your feelings about facing your next pregnancy. (You can read my original sibling grief post here.)
When Carleigh was born Kyndra was 15 months old and Hannah was 9.
Kyndra was at an age where she just really didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t realize mommy was going to have another baby or that there was anything wrong. When Carleigh was born Kyndra was a little curious about her but mostly she was sleepy since it was so early in the morning. I remember the most she really touched Carleigh was to poke at her a couple times.
I often took Kyndra to the cemetery with me when I went to visit and it was a wonderful time for both of us. She really enjoyed going and playing and running. She’d trace her fingers over the lettering in the headstone and it melted my heart when we would go to leave and she would hug and kiss the stone. We don’t visit near as often as we used to but she still enjoys going.
Hannah was older and able to grasp more of what was going on. We explained to her what was going to happen and what was wrong with Carleigh so that she wouldn’t live. It was me who helped explain it more so she could understand it better. Hannah never met Carleigh in person or held her or even went to the funeral. It was a decision that her mom and Anthony made that they thought was best at the time. Of course, we know now that she should have been there. She herself has expressed that she wish that she was. At the time Hannah was living out of state (13 hours away) and that also was part of the decision in not having her present. We did take her to the cemetery though when we had her that summer.
Anthony and I started trying again just 6 weeks after Carleigh was born. For some people, trying again so soon doesn’t feel right but it did for us. We knew before Carleigh was born that we would try again soon. However, we did not conceive until 9 months later, which was often frustrating to me because I conceived Kyndra in 3 months and Carleigh in just 1 month. I do believe it was God’s timing though because as soon as I gave it over to God I found out I was pregnant. Sometimes I need a lesson in letting go and letting God.
Pregnancy after loss is definitely a ride like no other. Pregnancy is never the same after you’ve experienced a loss. I was more anxious, fearful, and worried that something was going to go wrong and that I would lose another baby. Even in all my mixed up emotions I still had faith in God that He was there for me. Toward the end of my 1st rainbow pregnancy I began getting more anxious and emotional. My fear of something going wrong when we were so close to the end was something I tried to overcome daily. When I finally went into labor I was calm and at peace and our daughter Lainey arrived safely into the world via waterbirth (something I’ve always wanted).
I am currently 24 weeks pregnant with my 2nd rainbow, another little girl named Evanee. This time around my emotions of things going wrong aren’t as strong and I’m glad about that. It doesn’t help me or my baby to be stressed out about the what-ifs that I can’t control. I’m putting my trust in God for us to bring another little girl home.
One thing I know for sure is that I want all of my children here on earth to know about their sister Carleigh. I don’t want her to be a subject that is taboo. Kyndra is 4 years old now and I talk to her about Carleigh. She asks me about her and about her head. I’m honest with her about everything, but in words she can understand. Lainey is 17 months old and she has a cloth picture book that has pictures of family members and I included a picture of Carleigh. I feel it’s important for my girls to know about their sister. I want them to know that she is loved and never forgotten and that she’ll always be a part of our family even if she isn’t physically with us.