By Rachel Lewis
I sit here tonight, and try to envision what life will be like with you here in my arms. And when that day comes, I’ll have to remember what life was like before you entered our world.
Looking ahead, or looking back, my vision shifts. As I focus my eyes on you, there will always be another baby in the picture.
There was another baby, you know.
But of course, you couldn’t know. You haven’t met your other siblings yet. How could you know about the baby who is no longer here? The one that came before you?
As I feel your small flutters, an incandescent sensation reminding me that your presence will be felt more and more with each passing day … I’m reminded that while time brings you closer to us, it is taking our other baby further away.
Memories, once sharp and crystal clear, dull with the passage of time.
And as I bond with you, I let go a little more of the hopes and dreams we once had for them. As hard as I might try, I can no longer hold dreams for all of you.
How will I tell you about the other baby? The one you’ll never meet. The one we had to say good-bye to in order to say hello to you.
How I wish I only knew how to say hello … Never good-bye.
How can I tell you that you were both so wanted? ARE still wanted? And that if I could change anything in the world, it would be to be able to have you both in my arms, and not just both in my heart.
One day, you might notice the far away look in my eyes, the single tear of remembrance rolling down my face. It comes when I envelope you in the soft, downy blanket we held onto after our loss. When I look down at you, and catch a glimpse of our other baby looking back, just for a moment. When I rock you in the chair I rocked your brother in.
What will I say to you when you are old enough to ask?
Will I say that loving your sibling prepared us to love you more? Will I tell you that our world felt dark and gray for a time, as though nothing would be right in our world again … And then you showed up and gave us a ray of light in that dark place of grief? Will I tell you that the way I parent you, the way I love you, has been forever altered by a soul you’ve never met? And that the impact of that one life will affect you for the rest of yours?
At times, it doesn’t seem fair. That you must come into a family that has already been broken. One as familiar with grief as it is with hope. To be loved by hearts not yet fully mended. To survive in the shadow of another’s loss.
A heavy burden it seems to place in such a tiny baby.
But my deepest hope is that through the holes of our brokenness, our hope, love and light shine through to you all the more. That our torn hearts can actually stretch bigger now, holding both you and our other baby in it. That the shadow you live under is not a burden, but a guiding light.
We will never forget the baby we loved before you. A part of our hearts will always wonder, “what if?” We wish we could say that you complete our family, but we will always be a bit incomplete. And there’s nothing either of us can do about it.
But that is not to say you are not enough. In fact, you are more than enough.
You are more than we dared hope for. More than we could have imagined in our wildest dreams.
You are beautiful, magnificent you. An adventure we can’t wait to share. A gift we cannot wait unwrap. A soul we cannot wait to cherish and share with the world.
You are what we always wanted. We had just hoped we could have shared you with all of your siblings too.
You are a rainbow baby. A promise of hope, a sign of God’s favor, after the darkest storm. One day you might feel the wind and the rain as the remnants of that storm blow over us time and time again.
But I do promise that even if I occasionally cry for what once was, I will love you fiercely through it all. That I will choose gratitude … Or rather that gratitude had already chosen me. That I will do my best to honor the memory of your sibling, as I work hard to create the best memories with you.
My sweet little baby …
I will not wait. I will tell you now about the baby we had before you. A child your dad and I loved with everything we had in us. A wanted baby, just like you. One day, I will whisper their name to you. I will share with you the memories we once made. I will introduce you as best as I can, even though I know you will never meet.
And one day, you will also whisper their name and share in their memory.
I can’t wait for that day.
Thank you baby, for being here. For making it. For fighting hard. We thank God for you … And for our other baby … Every day.
Love always, eternally,
About the Author: Rachel Lewis is a foster, adoptive and birth mom. When she’s not chauffeuring her kids around, you can find her shopping at Trader Joes, drinking coffee, or writing about her journey as a mom at The Lewis Note. Connect with Rachel on Facebook and Instagram.
**Photo credit: Liane Knack Photography