5 Things I've Learned From PAL (So Far...)

November 26, 2019

By Sanda Rathamone


"Sometimes, painful things can teach us lessons that we didn't think we needed to know."

1. The present moment is a gift.

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That's why they call it the present." This old saying repeats in the back of my mind every time I start to think about what happened or what will/will not happen. Thinking about the past and wondering about the future caused so much unnecessary anxiety. So much so that I would lose sleep, become overwhelmed or highly stressed, and unable to communicate/accept my thoughts and emotions.

It wasn't until I had someone ask me how I was feeling about the pregnancy (in which I had said that I was afraid of another loss) that I realized the present moment was the only thing that really mattered. I could either enjoy the present moment or worry about a time and space where I had no control over/had way too many possibilities.

Affirmation: "I am pregnant today. I don't know if I will be tomorrow or a week from now, but today I am pregnant, and that is a gift."

2. It's okay to be scared, what's not okay is to live in fear.

Right off the bat from finding out we were pregnant, both my husband and I were excited.... and then scared that the pregnancy would be short-lived and that we would have our hearts broken again. We've both had moments of fear and doubt, sometimes to the point of arguing. But, I later learned the difference between "normal" fears and fears that control your life.

"Normal" fears are fears that can be reassured with emotional support. Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone who can understand or are going through a similar situation. On the other hand, fears that control your life is when you become so fearful that there is no room for hope or positive outcomes. Often, these fears dictate every action/inaction, conjuring up even more fear and frustration.

I learned that it's okay to be scared, it's okay to express fear. It's natural to worry. However, faith feels a lot better than fear and I would rather have the courage to open my heart and live life rather than to live in constant fear where everything feels desolate and nothing seems possible.

3. Use the "What Ifs" for the positive.

I had someone comment this on my post the other day and I love it. For something so simple, it made a huge impression on me. It had me realizing how hard I can be on myself and how I didn't allow myself to dream or imagine the wonderful things that could happen, or even deserved.
Trade: "What if something bad happens (again)?" for "What if something good happens (this time)?" It's not about giving yourself false hope, it's about giving yourself the opportunity to celebrate and feel good about this special time in your life.

4. Give yourself a break.
Need I say more? Pregnancy is hard. Loss is harder. Pregnancy after loss is... on a whole other scale of one of the hardest experiences in motherhood. But, like all pregnancies, pregnancy after loss is a journey. I take a break when I need to, cry if I need to, vent if I need to, worry if I need to, and I so much deserve to. Taking great care of my heart and health is most important. I've been through more than enough in a lifetime.

5. Make as many memories as possible. Because once in my life, photos are all I had left.

My regrets from my last pregnancy were waiting until after the first trimester to announce and not taking more than a few photos of my belly. Losing to a second trimester loss didn't give some family members (and ourselves) enough time for it sink in that we had been growing and bonding with our baby. I was disappointed that after loss, some family members didn't share anywhere near the same amount of love we had for Elijah.
 
Initially, we wanted to wait until the second trimester to announce with this pregnancy, since we lost at 20 weeks, but I felt that if another loss had happened, it would be much better to have the support early on. Talking about the pregnancy (to friends, family, and even strangers) earlier than what is "traditionally" expected allowed me to document more memories and to be more present with the pregnancy.
 
Also, I didn't want my past insecurities of "not looking pregnant enough" to keep me from taking belly photos. I would wish so hard that I had more photos of when I was pregnant with Elijah. I didn't know that photos and keepsakes would be the only things left behind, besides a gigantic hole in my heart and a lot of love with nowhere to go.

Our Little Rainbow
Due April 2020

With love,
Must Read:
Read Elijah's Story, "From Gender Reveal to a Spontaneous Delivery"

Photo: potterybarnkids

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