I wrote this post last year, shortly after I found out I was pregnant. Pregnancy hormones can be a doozy, but couple that with the deep and dark pain of losing your first husband and you get a woman who is a bit of a mess. I cried the entire time I wrote this, and wasn’t sure if I would ever share it. Baring your heart for the whole world to see is tough, but in some ways it’s also therapeutic. At least for me it is. I’ve never been all that great at expressing my feelings vocally, but I’ve found that I can write them out pretty easily. Thank goodness…because if I wasn’t able to express them somehow I think I would explode. All of that being said, here are the thoughts and feelings that this widow experienced after finding out I was expecting a child with my second husband:
I’m pregnant with my first child, and while it’s a happy and joyous time, I do have a pang of sadness that gnaws at me relentlessly. I love my husband with my whole heart, and I know I will love this baby in a way that I never knew was possible, but this child that I’m carrying is not the child I initially dreamed of having. I lost that child and that dream when my first husband Dimitri was killed in Afghanistan while leading his Soldiers over 4 years ago. Not only did I lose the love of my life, I also lost the dream and the future I had with that wonderful man. The baby I imagined had dark hair and dark eyes, just like him, and I was so excited to one day see Dimitri become a daddy. Every step of this journey through widowhood has been excruciating, but this pain I’m feeling right now was unexpected.
Initially, the loss of Dimitri and thinking about the pain he went through was all I could think about. Then I moved on to thinking about the future that was no longer there, and I mourned that as well. In fact, I still do and I always will. Even turning 25 a few months after he died was difficult because I knew we would never be the same age again. I never knew if I would love again, but in time I did. I’m so thankful that I met my husband Tom, and I’m grateful he brought joy and happiness back into my life. He gave me a future to look forward to, and I cannot wait to go on this journey of parenthood with him. I can’t help but feel like I’m leaving Dimitri behind on another journey though. How will I talk about Dimitri to this child? I loved Dimitri from age 19 until he died when we were 24. He was a key part of my West Point experience, he taught me how to open my heart to love, and he made me a better person. He made me “me.” There’s no way he can just be omitted from my past and my story, but I know the baby will never understand who this man was and they won’t know why he’s so special to me.
In time I’m sure I’ll figure out how to share little bits and pieces of my past with this child of mine. I know that they will never know Dimitri, but I pray that they have the same zest for life that Dimitri had.
Even though Jack isn’t the child I originally imagined having, I now can’t picture my life any other way. I love this child with every piece of me, and I pray that I’m able to teach him that even when the world knocks you down there is always hope for a happy tomorrow. If that wasn’t the case, and if I hadn’t picked myself back up and continued living life then I never would have had this sweet baby boy who makes my life complete. Life is messy and beautiful at the same time, and I’m thankful that God gave me the resiliency that got me through the dark valleys of grief and that he has allowed me to finally experience this wonderful gift that is motherhood.