Grieving My Baby Belly

Today I did the arduous chore of cleaning my closet. I’m not just talking about hanging a few fallen shirts and pants. I mean unpacking bags from the hospital to sorting through summer and winter clothes. And in the midst of the closet chaos lay the reason I had put off this chore: my maternity clothes.

Two weeks ago as I was leaving the NICU, I passed empty storefront windows that clearly beamed my reflection back at me. I stopped and stared. My elastic wasted maternity jeans were barely hanging on to my hips. My once round and beautiful bump had vanished. Gone.

I climbed into my car with tears rolling down my face. This is not fair, I thought to myself. I had been robbed of half my pregnancy. I would never feel her kick or hiccup inside me again. I would not have the anticipation of counting down her due date or countless other joys of pregnancy. It was all gone. Just like that.

I’ll be the first to admit I struggled this summer with my changing body. This second pregnancy was harder thanks to a big move and busy toddler. I certainly do not feel guilty of my struggle or pregnancy complaints. Find me one woman who has floated through her nine months without a complaint. It is normal and all par for the course.

What I find myself grieving is the experience and joy of being pregnant – pains and all. I actually loved being pregnant. My favorite part with both my son and daughter was reaching the point of pregnancy where my belly was big and I could feel every move and hiccup.

I had just reached that point with Marjorie when I ruptured. I was just getting to know her. Two weeks prior to the rupture, I would lay in bed every night with my shirt raised watching my belly move around. Marjorie was like clockwork. Every night at 9pm she would start dancing in my belly. Jordan and I would laugh as one side of my belly would become hard with a butt or elbow poking out. I miss her nightly parties. I miss feeling her growing in my belly.

In the weeks following her birth, I hurt every time I saw a pregnant woman. My heart sank when I started receiving the “You look great” compliment. I did not want to ‘look great,’ I wanted my baby belly back. I wanted to be big and round. I wanted to wear elastic pants and big sweaters. Most women after birth worry with getting back their “pre-baby body.” What I would give to get my baby belly back. What I would pay to have my daughter back safe inside me.

I have allowed myself to be sad and even angry, but have tried my best not dwelled in it. I know that the grief and everything that went with it would pass in time. And it certainly is not gone, but today I was finally able to approach the pile of maternity clothes without crumbling into them.

It has been a hard day for me. But like all days, I do the best I can. I do not run from the grief. I move through it knowing tomorrow is a new day. And while I would give anything to be pregnant again, I also feel so very blessed. I did not have to wait nine months to meet my precious baby girl. Most go a lifetime never experiencing a true miracle. Not only did I experience a miracle, but I get to watch her grow every single day for the rest of her life. And I get to share my miracle with all of you.

Yes, a little perspective can go a long way. Just another lesson from my Miraculous Marjorie.

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  • Reply
    Carrie Willard
    November 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I get it. I actually bought almost no maternity clothes because I had bleeding due to SCH from 10-18 weeks, then pPROM at 21 weeks. I never thought he would make it and didn’t want a bunch of maternity clothes to sell.

    Today at Starbucks my barista was hugely pregnant. I showed her a picture of Josiah and said to enjoy the discomforts of her 3rd trimester because I never got to.

  • Reply
    Cindy Broughton
    November 3, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    I’ve been following your journey and reliving my own. I had a 3 yr old boy when my baby girl was born at 26 weeks in a hospital in Bangkok in 1996. You are an amazing storyteller. I cried a lot following her birth even though she was my miracle girl. Be strong and share your truth. You are an inspiration to others.

  • Reply
    Vicki Shreves
    November 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I feel for you & I will never forget every detail of my son’s birth at 22 weeks. It’s been 20 years & my son is amazing – a sophomore at peabody conservatory in bass performance. He’s perfect – smart, talented, sweet, handsome & very loving. I still find myself staring at pregnant women & feeling a bit sad. I too felt robbed of my pregnancy. I wanted to do everything your supposed to do during pregnancy & after delivery, like buying maternity clothes, visits to the doctor with my husband, a baby shower, nursing my baby, etc… I was on bed rest from day one until I delivered him 22 weeks later. I am extremely grateful and feel so blessed to have my healthy thriving son as you are! Thanks for sharing your story!!!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    I thought I was the only one who ever felt this way. My baby girl was 5 weeks early and although I was so relieved she was healthy & strong I too wanted her back where she belonged. In my belly, safe & sound. My baby girl is now 11 & we both are so excited watching Miraculous Marjorie grow!! You both are in our prayers!

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