Of course you have. We all have heard a mom say that as she held her sweet child upon "meeting" him or her for the first time.
But I always wondered if I would have that same reaction when holding Laura Kate for the first time.
Hear me out.
I wondered if my love would really suddenly grow to epic proportions simply because she was out of my belly and in my arms.
My love for her began a year ago. She was conceived almost one year ago to the day. November 7, 2012.
My little rainbow and 10 other little embabies who weren't meant for this world were conceived in their little Petri dishes and I was instantly in love with them the very moment I knew of their existence.
Like head over heels, madly in love, do anything to protect them all kind of love from that very moment. The moment Dr. Saleh called to say they existed, they were growing, I loved them.
The same love I felt for Hannah, for Audrey, for Sam.
I never have understood why others make that statement the moment they hold their baby in their arms rather than the moment they first saw that positive pregnancy test. I'd have given my life for all of my babies, stabbed my eye out with a fork to protect them kind of love, if I thought it would have saved even one of them!
A little graphic huh?!
I loved them more than anything, more than I ever knew was possible from the get go.
Now I don't think for a second that other moms felt anything less than what I felt. I don't think I'm the exception. I think most moms do feel an overwhelming love from the very moment they learn their child exists.
I think you don't REALIZE it until you've lost it if you're unlucky or until they are in your arms safe and sound if you're lucky!!
Once your baby is gone and you're filled with the heaviest sadness you've ever experienced, so thick you can't breath and are sure it'll suffocate you. Then you say to yourself, "I never knew I could love someone so much!". Because I never knew I could hurt so much.
When I first laid eyes on Laura Kate in the flesh, when I held my sweet child for the first time my love for her didn't suddenly grow.
My happiness did.
I never knew someone could make me so happy!
I never knew that love could feel THAT amazing!
That's what caught me off guard. And I'm pretty sure that's what most moms really mean when they say "I never knew I could love someone so much.".
So to all my fellow babyloss moms, especially those new to this community. Do not feel guilty for your grief. Do not think for a second that you are weak.
What brought this post on? It irritates me when I hear that someone tries to "comfort" a newly bereaved mother by saying "at least you lost the baby before you really loved him or her".
No, You lost them before You got to experience all the joy that comes from "meeting" them. But not before you loved them.
A mother with living children knows the difference. She knows the love is the same. But a mother with no other living children is left feeling guilty and shameful, weak, and lonely. Wondering and worrying if she even has the right to grieve for her child who she didnt know and who the rest of world says she couldn't have really "loved".
I felt that way after my losses, like I was weak because even after months and then years I still couldn't go a day without fighting back the tears and putting on a fake smile and just going through the motions. And now other moms, brand new to this babyloss community are being told the same thing.
And I hate it.
But you are not weak.
I totally believe that an early miscarriage is very different from a late miscarriage from a stillbirth from an early infant loss from the loss of a toddler from the loss of a teenager....
But when we start comparing one loss to another we are shaming mothers into thinking their loss is insignificant.
Is it different?
Yes. It's different from one mother to the next. Losing a baby in pregnancy is not the same as losing a baby after birth. It's just not. But the initial grief isn't any less intense. The love is no different.
I never knew another person could make me feel such happiness. But I've known since December 10, 2009, that I could love with such intensity. That has never changed.