Sometimes I feel like I've recently mastered a whole new language. No, not Chinese. No, not Spanish (two years in middle school and four years in high school, and I still can't do more than tell you my name and that "I am wearing a blue shirt"). No. The language I now consider myself fluent in is the language of Baby Loss.
The Secret Land of Baby Loss really is it's own little world. When I first entered this place, it took me awhile to figure out what was going on, what all these "rainbows" and "triggers" and "new normals" were about.
So I figured someone should come up with a little glossary of commonly used terms for this place. A crash-course for new residents and foreigners alike. Rosetta Stone for the language of Baby Loss, if you will.
Here it is.
Rainbow baby: Contrary to what you might assume, a rainbow baby is not a baby whose parents do not care to find out the gender (you know, like they don't care if it's pink or blue...or purple or yellow...). A rainbow baby is not the child of gay or lesbian parents. It's not just a particularily bright and cheery child either. A rainbow baby is a baby born after a loss. A "rainbow" after the horrible storm that is having your child die. A rainbow baby will never "replace" your lost child (a fact that certain friends and family will remind you of on many, many occasions), but it will help patch up the hole in your heart that they left behind.
Noun: "I am really hoping I get my rainbow baby soon!"
Eventually, you're desire for one of these "rainbow babies" will almost certainly turn into an obsession. When (not if) it does, you'll need to become familiar with the following terms:
- TTC: Trying to conceive. You may think how do you really "try" for a baby? I mean besides the obvious. There are more ways than you could ever imagine. Handstands, butt-propping pillows, lube that comes with plastic "applicators" that can only be described as little plastic turkey basters. While "TTC," you may find yourself eating the cores of pineapples, trading your evening wine for a nice big glass of raspberry leaf tea, and talking about your "cervical mucus" as if it were a normal, everyday topic of conversation.
- 2ww: The two week wait. The approximately 14-day time period between Oing (ovulating) and getting AF (the evil Ant Flow, your period) or a BFP (big fat positive). It's called the 2ww, but it always ends up being more like an 8-day wait, because you'll no doubt start taking pregnancy tests everyday, using FMU (first morning urine), of course, starting at about 8DPO (days past ovulation).
Noun: "My triggers include little girls with curly hair and babies with blue eyes."
The New Normal. After the initial 4-6 weeks after losing your baby, you'll most likely to go back to some sort of daily routine. You'll greatly resemble a normal human being, but you'll never be the same again. Your life as you know it will be forever changed. In this new life of yours, it will be "normal" to wake up crying most mornings. It will be "normal" to keep your eyes peeled to the ground when you walk through Target so that you don't accidentally catch a glimpse of a pregnant lady. It was be "normal" to feel a slight ache in your heart from the minute you wake up, to the moment you go to sleep at night. All of these things will become "normal," everyday occurrences, nothing more unusual than brushing your teeth or taking the dogs on a walk. Take a shower. Cry yourself to sleep. It's all just a part of your "new normal."
Noun: "Resisting the urge to bring up my dead daughter in every conversation I have is just a part of my new normal."
Angelversary: The day your child went to heaven and "became an angel." Even if you're not into the whole angel thing, calling that day their "Angelversary" sounds much better than calling it what it is: their "death day." The frequency at which you "celebrate" Angelversaries will vary as time goes on. Right after your baby dies, you will probably think of each day as its own Angelversary ("today is my baby's six-day Angelversary.") Eventually, it might change to remembering your baby's weekly Angelversary. Then, maybe monthly. One thing is certain: you will never, ever forget it.
Noun: "I can't believe Stevie's three-month Angelversary is coming up already."
What other terms should be added, dear readers?
Baby girl, I'm missing you bad tonight. Why couldn't I be mastering the language of "mommyhood" right now? I want to be an expert in Breastfeeding and Baby wearing and Elimination Communication. I want you here with me.
I love you.