If you ever asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had two answers–mom and doctor. That was always it for me. As I got older, I realized that the medical profession was most definitely not for me, but my desire to be a mom has always remained. More than anything else, I have wanted to be a mom.
In 2019, that dream came true and was ripped away from me at the same time. I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl, and then she died. My heart was shattered. I was devastated. I cried, sobbed, every night for what seemed like forever. The pain, the heartache, and the grief felt like they would never end. My dream was shattered.
I was still a mother. But I was a mother in the most devastating way possible. I was a mother to a baby that never got to come home.
Our home was quiet, sad, empty. It was not a place that we wanted to be.
Four months after losing Ava, I found out that I was pregnant again. I thought my first emotion would be happiness, but I was wrong. My first emotion was fear. What if I lost this baby, too? What if this baby was sick? How would I be able to survive another heartbreak?
Pregnancy after loss is no easy feat.
It’s terrifying. I felt like I did not deserve this baby. I was still grieving. My husband was still grieving. It felt wrong to be happy and to celebrate. We knew that no baby would ever be able to replace our sweet Ava. We weren’t trying to replace her. There was no way we could ever replace her. We just knew that there was a sadness, an emptiness in our home, and that we needed another baby to love.
I felt isolated.
I was terrified to share our news. What if we lost this baby, too? What would people think of me? Could I love another baby as much as I loved Ava? Would this baby know how deeply they were loved? How could I grieve one baby and be happy and hopeful for another? My husband and I were happy but scared, and we felt alone.
Then a global pandemic hit. As scary as this was for everybody, we were able to see a blessing in it. I was able to go through my pregnancy privately. Nobody had to know. I didn’t have to face my coworkers. There would be no big social media announcements. We wouldn’t have a baby shower. All I had to focus on was my little family and my grief.
My pregnancy was not normal. In fact, I will never know what a “normal” pregnancy looks like. I was monitored closely. Ultrasounds were frequent, and genetic tests were welcomed. Our baby was healthy. It felt too good to be true. I went to every appointment terrified that something would be wrong.
We only ever got good news.
Our baby was healthy and was going to be able to come home. Still, most people didn’t find out about the baby until after he was born.
Carson Henry Lobato was born on September 30, 2020. He was a bright spot in a very dark time in our lives. And he was born in the very same room that his sister was born in. He was perfect.
Carson is now a very active toddler. He loves Toy Story, sports, trucks, and his Mama. Carson is healthy, and he is SO happy! I can’t imagine life without him.
To this day, I struggle with a mix of emotions.
If Ava was here, Carson wouldn’t be. I want Ava home with me, but I also want Carson here with me. I cry because I miss my daughter, but I celebrate everything about my son. There are good days and bad days. Grief still comes in waves, and I know that it probably always will. I have learned that I need to allow myself to feel every emotion that comes.
I feel incredibly lucky to be a mother to both of my children.
Carson hears stories about his big sister. He can tell which photos are of him and which photos are of his sister. He celebrates Ava’s birthdays, and he takes flowers to her grave. Being the little brother that he is, Carson does think Ava’s name is Buzz. I choose to see this as a bond between brother and sister.
We all love and remember Ava in our own ways. Ava is celebrated, but so is Carson. We grieve, but we celebrate. We are sad, but we are happy. Grief is something that we have all learned to live with, and it will continue to be a part of our home.
If you are reading this and struggling, I need you to know this.
You will be happy again. There will be good days, and there will be bad days. You are not alone in your grief. Joy and grief can coexist. You can celebrate and be happy even when your heart is grieving. We grieve because we love. Grief only exists where love existed first.
I have learned to welcome the grief. It is still a beast, but one that I can sit with. It reminds me that I am human. In order to really appreciate the good days, I need to allow myself to have hard days too.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.