I'm often asked how I came to the name "Life's Light" for my doula work. Below, I have copied the words -- which I wrote while pregnant with my daughter -- that inspired this name. Thoughts on miscarriage, healing, and that dreaded "Can I love another baby?" feeling are included. This is personal, emotional stuff. You have been warned.
I cannot even begin to describe how dearly loved and wanted this baby is. It was a long hard year that led to her conception. Most of you know, as we have chosen to be open about our journey, that we lost two babies along the way. When we finally decided we were ready to try again, I was terrified. The thought of losing another child was unbearable. But the drive to fill the void in our home was stronger. Something was missing. We needed to complete our family.
So we pressed on. Months passed, and I became discouraged. What if the "something" that caused me to lose our two angels, was now keeping me from carrying another? My faith was tested. My hope was fading fast.
And then it happened.
We couldn't believe it at first. We were too jaded. Too afraid. But then, the numbers looked good. And a few days later, even better. Then there was a gestational sac. A fetal pole. A visible, flickering heartbeat. Maybe, this time, there was hope.
The next few weeks passed in a blur of tears. Tears of joy, of hope, of heartache and fear. One long month later, it was finally time to pull out the doppler. I held my breath, and closed my eyes. Then I heard it. That tiny heart was still beating!
And it still beats today. Now four and a half months along, I have been feeling movement from the life inside me for few weeks. We've seen her beating heart, her breathing lungs, her tiny hands and feet through ultrasound; we've confirmed she is a girl. I'm not sure exactly which milestone did it for me, but I believe it now. She's coming. We're really having another baby.
My heart is filled with so much joy, I think it could burst! And yet, now that I have accepted this news as reality, I am consumed by a whole new set of fears. Am I really ready for this? Is our son? How will I split my time and attention evenly between my two children? What if I can't? Will he resent his baby sister? Will he resent me? Life as he knows it will soon be over. I know it is for the best - that a sibling can be one of the best gifts a parent can give to a child - but will he see it that way? And scariest of all... is there really enough love to go around? I know I love this baby now, and my love for her will only grow. But will it be enough? Can I ever really love another child the way I love my precious boy?
And the tears begin to fall... again.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."
That's my son. That's our song. I sang it to him when I was pregnant. I would sit in the rocking chair in his nursery, rubbing my belly, dreaming of the baby that was to be. And I'd sing. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." After he was born, it soothed him. When he cried, I'd sing our song and it soothed us both. We'd lock eyes, breathe deep, and all other sounds would cease to exist. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." He lit up my world. He lights it every day. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."
Last Wednesday, as I lay in bed, I thought about My Sunshine. My son. I thought about my new baby girl, who we had just seen that afternoon on ultrasound. I loved her so much. But it didn't feel like enough. I didn't know how to let another sunshine into my heart. In what world can there be two suns?? It just didn't make sense. I couldn't do it. I laid there, and I tried. I tried with all my might, but I just couldn't love her the way I love my son. It just wasn't the same. It isn't the same. My love for her, and my love for him, will never be the same.
Because she isn't my sunshine. She's my moonlight.
She's the light in my darkness. The hope in my night. She came to me when I thought I couldn't carry on any longer. When I'd lost my way, her light shone bright. She saved me. She's not my sunshine; no. But that's ok. She is still the light of my life. And so is he. He is my sunshine, and she is my moonlight. I love them differently, but I need them the same. There will be challenges, yes. I will make mistakes, I am sure. But what I know now is that I can do it. I can love them both, as much as they need. And probably more.
Yes, there is room enough in my world - and in my heart - for both the sun and the moon.
You light my world, little babies. You are my life's light.