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I should be right around 6 months pregnant right now.

It’s easy to remember because Elliott was due only 5 days in the month before Maddy was due (Maddy was due January 20th, Elliott was due January 15.)

So 5 years ago this month, I was 6 months pregnant with Maddy, we moved into our current house, and I went on bedrest for the first time.

I remember how I felt. I remember which maternity clothes I was wearing. I remember approximately how big I was at this point.

I remember going through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with a big belly, lots of contractions, bedrest, and lots of expectation.

This year, the January due date still looms in my mind. Except this one is empty. This one holds no great expectations.

With our loss of Olivia, I was very caught up in the timeline. I always knew which week I should be on. I was painfully aware of others who were traversing through the milestones with a live baby in their belly. I hated myself for it, but I was insanely jealous. And insanely angry that it couldn’t be me.

With Caleb, I intentionally did not allow myself to dwell on which week I’d be on. To be honest, I really just did my best to suck it up and take it like a big girl. I had times of jealousy, but those were tempered with the knowledge that my relationship with that pregnant person would move on, I would come to love their baby, and and my feelings were normal and would eventually subside.

Intentionally forgetting the milestones has been harder to accomplish this time around.

I realize that I was ONLY 5 weeks along. Barely pregnant, as some would put it. (As though people would say you were barely engaged or barely married … But that’s for another blog.) But maybe because that week that I knew I was pregnant was going so RIGHT, I really thought this was it. I don’t know why, but I really thought I was getting a baby out of the deal.

I have not mourned this baby like I did with Olivia. I have not spent endless nights crying, pouring my heart over my blog, or telling everyone about my loss.

I have made myself do things before I was really ready. I made myself move forward before I could fully think about what (or who) I was moving FROM.

But this experience has been like a phantom for me. My baby is gone, flushed down a toilet at a gas station. And yet the pregnancy, in my heart, lives on as a shadow. Something that hints at what is real, what should have been. But is clouded, dark, and has no tangible form.

I cannot tell you how often I remind myself of how early I was. That it was a mistake to get attached, a mistake to care. That it is silly to name this baby. That truly, I am the only one who cares for his life, the only one who mourns what it could have been.

And yet, this shadow on my heart remains.

Baby Elliott … You may not have been with me long. And maybe you didn’t get the mourning you deserved. But I can tell you that I really did love you. I really did want you. And i’m really, really sad that January 15 will come … But you never will.

Love you always,

Momma