"You have to wait until it feels right for you. You can't let anyone else tell you when you need to try for another baby. Besides, you still need to honor your son."
I need to still honor my son....my mom's words rang in my head for days. Honor my son...would it be a dishonor to him if we were to try again as soon as possible for another baby? The earliest we could start trying would be September. Would it be a dishonor to conceive again before what would have been his birthday? It was after the memorial when my mom said this to me. Apparently my mother-in-law had been talking to my mom about how she hopes we get pregnant as soon as possible. This is no shock to me. My mother-in-law has made it very clear that she wants us to be pregnant again. And to be honest, I don't feel too much pressure from it. A little I suppose, but not too much. My husband and I are too stubborn to ever do anything we don't want to do. If we're not ready, then we won't start trying. Although my mom was trying to tell me in her own way to wait until we feel ready and not let anyone else pressure us, I don't think she realized how her wording still left an impact on me. To honor my son. That phrasing in it's self left me wondering if trying early would be considered inappropriate and disrespectful of my son's life. I don't want anyone to think we'd be trying to replace our son. That would be impossible. In fact, I keep worrying if I'll even feel as connected to the second child the way I felt connected to Joey Jr. I wonder how I could possibly love them as much. I worry that, if I do feel a growing love for the next child and start to feel the excitement for the new baby if that will mean I love Joey Jr. any less. What if the moments I have with the second baby are happier? What if all the moments of actually having a baby alive and there will over-shadow the memories of Joey Jr.? Would I start to forget? All of the thoughts scare me. Having another baby could never replace Joey Jr. I could never see it that way. In fact, I worry if they could ever live up to the love I have for Joey Jr., but I worry that my feelings for Joey Jr. might set up an unrealistic standard for my next child to live up to. I don't want the next child to feel like I love them any less or like I idolize their sacrificing brother over them. No. I want them to feel just as much love and I want to be just as close to them. But I'm also afraid to open myself up again because of the fear of losing another baby.
Never could it be a replacement. I would always see it as having two separate children, unique individuals.
In our attempts to feel a little closer to the next baby, we figured we should give them a nickname. Just like Joey Jr. was nicknamed "Pickle", the name made him feel closer and more real. When we were planning for him, the name gave us more feeling of purpose and reality. I didn't want the next nickname to be anything like "Pickle" for fear I might accidentally interchange the names, but nothing seemed to fit. My husband then suggested "Sunshine."
"Sunshine?" I asked. "Why Sunshine?"
"Because," he replied, "every time we have had difficult times after losing Joey, the sun has come out. Joey also gave us the knowledge of what we need to do next time to have a successful pregnancy. Joey has given us Sunshine. Get it?"
I thought about it for a moment. It's true, even when I was giving birth on a rainy day, right as I was about to deliver Joey, I remember the clouds breaking and the room filling with the soft glow of sunshine.
"Suuuuuuunshine!" my husband said in a sing-song voice.
I giggled. "Sunshine....hello Sunshine....man Sunshine is kicking me a lot....goodnight Sunshine..." I gave the name a test drive. It felt right. Joey would be giving us Sunshine, his little brother or sister.
We also talked things out and I think we feel more comfortable getting pregnant after Joey's birthday. It would not sit right with me to be pregnant before or find out around the date of Joey's birthday. If it's even a week after we find out, that's fine. As long as it's not on or before Joey's day. He needs HIS time, and I don't want to over-shadow that with his brother or sister. I think that will be my way of honoring him. Even if we're trying during that time, that's fine. Just not finding out before his birthday. My feelings might change in time, but for now, that feels right to me.
So now we begin our journey, the three of us preparing for Sunshine.