What If This Is Our Last Baby? Parenting an Only Child After Loss

4 years ago

I didn't expect this to knock me over like they did, the words of this one mama. I started to read her article about why she has decided to be a mother of only one child because I was curious. And then my eyes met this:

“I’ve had my daughter . . . . I am so grateful to have my one beautiful daughter. I don’t wish to have any more.”

And those words, they were met with tears. Are met with tears now, as I write this.

Because ever since my daughter died and my second pregnancy's ultrasound revealed a son, I've been holding onto the dream of having another daughter. One that stays, that breathes, that I get to dress in tutus and Easter dresses and ribbons, if she'll let me.

28 weeks pregnant with our son

I've refused to consider the possibility that maybe God doesn't have any more children for us. Maybe the only curly, dark-haired baby we'll have is the one who lives in Heaven.

And I must admit, since having our precious, beautiful, sensitive son who looks so much like his daddy (even though his dad protests that fact), I've been wondering if I have it in me to give this boy anything less than my whole heart. That is, if I want to divide this mother-love that I have for my children more than it already is divided. Because what division is greater than Heaven and earth?

So those words, of having only one child on this earth -- they rocked me. And I now I sit here in my son's room as he resists yet another nap (stubborn like his mama!), talking to God and writing to you, because what else is there to do?

I ask Him, "Is this it? Am I a mother of two only? And do I only get to be a mother to one?"

I can't hear Him answer.

So I breathe and cry and breathe and try to let it go -- the hope that I've held since those two lines appeared on the pregnancy test almost two years ago now. The hope for a daughter.

I think I can do it, release this dream. After all, I am more blessed than some, who dream of children yet whose arms are never, ever filled. I do have the daughter I hoped for. And she is beautiful and has her mother's hair. She's just not here.

But to let the dream go... oh, it hurts. Grief upon grief.

And it's scary to release that hope of a second daughter, because it means putting all my eggs in one basket, as it were. This world is a terrible place, and to send all of my mother-heart out into it in the hands of just one child petrifies me. What if something should happen to him, too?

Fear upon fear.

And yet -- joy upon joy, too, because this boy... oh, this boy.

When I am wondering if my heart will survive without the daughter I long for, without the daughter I have, I look at him and know -- this is enough. No, not just enough -- this is blessedly extravagant, fill-my-whole-heart-up, more-than-I-could-ever-want in His hands.

I can be the mother of one on earth and one in Heaven, and be well.

Because no matter how many children we happen to have, all of them will leave, because all children must leave their parents. And it is my job to help them to leave, and in the end I'll have no children snuggling in my arms anyway.

In the end, always, it is just God and me.

So I let the dream go, and even though it hurts, even though it makes me weep, I know that my tears are seen and caught and cherished, every one, by the One who is ever my beginning and my end.

That has to be enough. I know that, eventually, in His hands, it will be.

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