• Shannon Zisa

The Connection

I have yet to find the balance between grieving Adalyn and celebrating this baby that I am carrying. Once you have witnessed how life can change in a split second, and you watch as the plans you once envisioned for your life crumble before your very eyes, you know just how real tragedy is. Alongside of the grief that I carry for Adalyn is unrelenting fear. It is fear that cannot be masked, forgotten, or pushed aside. It is a heavy weight that I carry every day. There is a permanent psychological scar that develops when you lose your child. I have survived the unimaginable but that doesn’t mean that I have been marked off some master tragedy list and tragedy doesn’t play fair. This thought steals my breath every time. I know that I cannot let fear win and so I acknowledge it, I sit with it for a while, and then I keep going. I keep pushing forward, I keep trying to find the balance between grief and gratitude. Choosing to love again, after such an enormous loss, feels like a risky move and I just want a safe move but there are no safe moves for a bereaved mother. So, even though I am holding my breath and riddled with anxiety, I am choosing love.


Even as I acknowledge the importance of love and of hope, the truth is that talking about this baby and this pregnancy has been difficult for me. People congratulate me with such honest sincerity, they are truly excited for me and for my growing family. I see the look of relief in their eyes because to them, this baby means that surviving my grief will now somehow be easier for me. They ask me how I am feeling, and I freeze every single time. How do you answer that question? If I say, “my heart is still broken, and this pregnancy has brought with it a new wave a grief that I didn’t even know existed”, does this new baby feel less loved, less wanted? Do I appear ungrateful for the life I am carrying? So, I momentarily freeze and stand there in confusion. So much of my life has become standing amongst my confusion.


I find that I must remind myself that is okay to still grieve and to feel sad. This pregnancy does not negate the loss of Adalyn. I have to remind myself over and over that it is normal to be afraid and anxious but to also feel excitement and joy. I must acknowledge that excitement and joy feel different post loss, I am a different person now. I love this baby. She is part of my family’s story, this sweet baby girl with a big sister who live in Heaven. I feel her kick and hear her heartbeat, each tiny beat reminding me that despite immeasurable loss, there is hope.


I believe that Adalyn knows her baby sister. I believe that she helped to handpick her for me. I believe that Adalyn knew it would have to be a girl to help heal my heart because she knew the joy that being a girl mama brought me. I believe that Adalyn is sending her baby sister as a gift and as a reminder that I must keep living. In truth, carrying this child is the closest I have felt to Adalyn since I lost her. This child is my direct connection to Heaven, to Adalyn. I feel certain that this baby girl, Adalyn’s little sister, will be my favorite part of the legacy that Adalyn left behind. I gave Adalyn life, but the truth is, she gave me a reason to live, and she has not let her departure from this Earth stop her.


I truly believe that Adalyn shares a special connection to her sister. As their mother, I look forward to witnessing their similarities and their differences. One thing I know for sure is that Adalyn will always be with her sister. She'll be here, deep in her sister's eyes.


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