I wonder if the sting of receiving pregnancy announcements will ever go away.
My newsfeed and inbox have been filled with images of ultrasounds and smiling older siblings and tiny baby clothes and gender reveal cakes. Beautiful pregnancy announcements that cause a sad smile to wash over my face.
I can honestly say that I am happy at the sight of these announcements, but it's a happiness that's combined with envy and longing.
And I don't like to admit it – this truth of mine. I don't like to acknowledge the ugly feelings that swirl within me.
But, that I can even feel a bit of happiness towards someone else's pregnancy, means that I've made progress and have experienced a certain level of healing. In the early days after loss, I guarded myself against such announcements, even praying that God would keep such news from traveling into my grief zone. It was such a devastating place to be. I watched others walk right on by, carrying babies and carrying on with life. I was paralyzed by the landscape of my life, while others enjoyed their view.
And now, as I've watched that landscape change, I wonder how these ugly feelings still exist. I have the gift of two living children. One, the result of a textbook pregnancy, and the other, a rainbow after the storm of a stillbirth.
I suppose pregnancy announcements seep into the wounds of loss that have never fully healed, and perhaps never will this side of heaven, exposing them and causing raw pain.
It was one such announcement that showed up on my newsfeed the other day, setting the wheels of envy into motion – an old friend, announcing her fourth pregnancy, her fourth child. Her post warmed my heart. It really did. But at the same time, I felt my blood go cold. I, too, have been pregnant four times, but I kiss two children goodnight, instead of four.
The sting of losing babies, the groan of longing.
Are these permanent fixtures in the land of loss? Even when life has bloomed again?
My family doesn't look the way I thought it would. There is a quiet ache in knowing that I will never again carry a baby in my womb. There are scars from two pregnancies that ended in loss. There is regret in my failure to enjoy my final pregnancy. There is a desire for another baby who will never be conceived.
And so when I see another's gain, I'm reminded of what I lost and what I won't have. And it stings. Burns.
And yet, I'm grateful for the discomfort, because it means I'm still here.
To love the two I've been entrusted with in this life. To tell them about the two in heaven. And to take in the beauty of my current view, because if I know anything, it's that it won't last forever.