To The Mom Learning to Parent After Loss

By: Kelley O.

You should be enjoying life as a new parent but you can’t. You feel guilty about being happy since you’ve lost so much in the past. The joy you feel about your new baby is in competition with the sadness brought about your past losses.

As if being happy about a new baby means you’ve forgotten about your previous losses. I know what you’re feeling. I’ve been there.

After surviving four miscarriages in five years, God called my husband and I to adopt through foster care last year. In January 2018, we were placed with a 15-month-old foster son who instantly had our hearts. We had waited so long for a child and God had the perfect fit for our family. He was exactly what we needed, when we needed him.

Just as we were adjusting to a life of 3, I found out I was pregnant. For the first time in five years after taking a pregnancy test, I laughed! When I went to my husband, he did the same. We thanked God for blessing us abundantly, and said, “Okay Lord, if this is your plan for us, we are ready.” Going from no children to 2 under 2 in 10 months was unexpected, but we had gotten used to the unexpected, so this was nothing new. Except, we had never been parents before.

As we learned to be parents for the first time, I had a hard time adjusting. I was so thankful for the child we were blessed with, and the one on the way, but I felt guilty.

Guilty that I was moving on and worried that I would forget the babies I lost. My husband gifted me a ring that had a birthstone of each of our losses. This was his way of letting me know that I’d always remember them.

A friend of mine, who had gone through a similar journey of loss and was blessed with twins told me, “the past is a good reminder of how far we’ve come, but if we keep looking back, we will miss what is right in front of us.”

This motivated me to be the best mom I could be to the two blessings we were given. I took advantage of every moment I was able to spend with our foster son and found blessing in every ligament pain, wave of nausea, and pound I gained throughout my pregnancy. I wasn’t going to let my past keep me from enjoying all the new things I was experiencing as a new mom and pregnant woman.

A few months after our daughter was born, our foster son started having more visits with his biological parents. After a month of increased visits, overnight visits started, and then the trial home visit where he went back to live with his mom for a trial period. This was like a punch in the gut. We had been told at the beginning that his case would go to adoption and we were a pre-adoptive home. So needless to say this was not what we were expecting at all. We had our foster son for 17 months. He truly became a part of our family in that time.

The day came that we had to watch him leave with all his clothes, toys, stuffed animals, and books that we bought for him, and I felt as though I had suffered another loss. Only this time, he had been there in the flesh. We watched him grow in so many ways, and we got to be a part of that. He learned his numbers, his colors, how to pray, read, share, and give hugs and kisses.

As I watched him leave through the window, I prayed for him. That God would keep him safe, and that he would know how much he is loved and for peace that passes all understanding. We have a good relationship with his mom, and we know we will see him again. But it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt. When your home goes from longing for children, to having two, then down to one, it takes some adjusting. We have done a lot of that in the last 18 months.

My advice for you as you adjust to life with a new blessing is to take each day at a time.

Give yourself time. Time to adjust, time to be thankful, time to pray, and time to remember how far you have come. Be gracious. Allow yourself to make mistakes, have a messy house, and move forward. I’m not saying it makes it any easier, that’s where faith comes in. God’s mercies are new everyday, and yours should be too.

God’s word says, “The peace I give is a gift the world cannot give so do not be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).

Rest in the peace from the Almighty, and move forward with your life with the blessings He has given you. You have persevered through obstacles and discouragement, and now it’s time for you to enjoy what’s been given to you. The Lord is faithful, and He fulfills his promises. He will give you rest, when you need it. Give yourself time to adjust, and enjoy every moment.

You will find ways to remember those you’ve lost, and you will love your new little blessing that much more because of where you’ve been.

About Kelley O.

Kelley and her husband Dustin currently live in Indiana. Kelley recently left her full-time job as a Marketing Assistant to stay home with her 7-month-old miracle Maggie. Dustin is now working in Construction after spending the last 4 years in law enforcement. They have two dogs, Domino and Riley and are very involved in their church’s young adult and kids ministries. In their (rare) free time they enjoy camping, motorcycling and spending time with family in Indiana, Alabama, and Texas.

1 Comment

  1. Laura on February 12, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Thank you for your sharing of heart-wrenching realities…I/we have experienced a stillbirth and miscarriage through our son and daughter-in-law. Grieving as parents and grandparents, the waves of grief can feel unrelenting. I am so pleased that this horrific time can now be openly discussed and supported…as even 35 years ago when we started our family, this subject was still not openly discussed.

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