• Kim

Balancing grief and hope: preparing my heart for the road ahead.

This clock in our living room is always set to 3:06 PM, the exact time of Aria's birth. It's just one of many little reminders and memories of Aria's brief life sprinkled throughout our home.

As we progress through our first IVF cycle, I've been allowing myself to believe more and more that we may actually end up with a take home baby after this. But mixed in with all the hope and excitement that brings, is some anxiety over how a new baby will change things.

I worry about my ability to balance parenting my child in heaven and my child on earth. I look at all the pictures of Aria around our house and wonder where a new baby will fit. I never, ever want my other children to feel that they are only here because Aria isn't. I want them to know that they aren't replacements or expected to be cures for my grief. I want them to know they are loved as individuals. They share an equal space in my heart, alongside their sister.

One of the hardest things I've realized is that by the time our next child turns one day old, they will have infinitely more experiences than Aria had on this earth. Exponentially more photos, more milestones, more moments of joy than sadness. So while a new baby absolutely brings hope and happiness, it also subliminally highlights every single thing we didn't get to do with Aria, and that is really hard. I just wanted so much more for her.

This is why I'm constantly saying that grief is a lifelong process. You don't just get over it. You simply learn to feel both joy and sadness, at the exact same time, without one negating the other. I am so happy to be feeling the hope and anticipation that comes with IVF, and I am also sad that Aria isn't here. I feel both things equally and simultaneously. And I guess that's the exact reminder I needed to remember that I can love my child in heaven, and my child on earth equally and simultaneously.

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