My daughter Alix just turned 2 in January. Since the approach of her 2nd birthday I had many mixed emotions because we lost our first daughter, Alexia aka “Bug” 2 weeks before her 2nd birthday due to cancer. I really don’t know where to begin talking about my emotions but I want to share them because I know there are mothers just like me out there who have not just lost a child but decided to have another after. In my situation I had 2 more but my 1st after was a boy and I had different feelings having a son than having a daughter.
I want to make it very clear we never had a child to replace another. Alexia was our 2nd and what we wanted to be our last child but when we lost her we did not plan on having any more but as time passed and we enjoyed our time with Adam we just got baby fever and decided to try for another and that is when we had Adan. We were surprisingly blessed with Alix 2 years later and as much as we planned on Adan being the last we were just as excited because it all felt right when I found out I was pregnant.
Another misconception people think is that we named Alix after Alexia. I had got that question many times and it really irritates me. There was no inspiration behind the name, my husband limits our kids names to begin with A and I love “boys” names on girls so Alix just fit perfect.
Now that I have rambled with a back story I want to talk about my emotions about having a daughter after losing a daughter. As I was planning Alix’s birthday it brought back memories of when I was planning Bug’s birthday party. I felt guilt because Bug never got to experience a 2nd birthday. Coincidentally Alix got a real bad cold before her birthday and had an ear infection then I had a fear that Alix would get very sick and not make it to a 2nd birthday. It may sound like I am exaggerating, over analyzing or being dramatic but truth is this is my reality. Grieving never goes away and I cope with it everyday and some days are great and some days kick my butt. I appreciate my life everyday but that doesn’t change the fact that I miss Bug.
On Alix’s birthday we spoiled her just in the same way we spoil all our kids. Also coincidentally Alix is into the same things Bug is into shopping and food. We spent the day taking her on a shopping spree and eating at her favorite places just like we did Bug on her first birthday. Although I was so happy to spoil Alix and enjoy a day of things she enjoys I still had the guilt of being happy celebrating the birthday. On the day of Alix’s party I made it fun, happy, and memorable but still the guilt held over me.
As Alix has been growing and 100% being my mini , tom boy yet super chic, loves coffee and can chill with me and watch Friends and reality tv I have become so infatuated with her personality. We have been getting pedicures together which she really enjoys and so did Bug. Yet I had been feeling this overwhelming cloud of guilt. I tried to suppress it so that I can continue to live on and be the mom I want to be for Alix.
I know that most people seek therapy for this but when I tried it was not my thing. I would rather talk to the person that knows me most, my husband. He is not only a great listener but gives me great advice because we are going through the same things together. One night it got too much for me so during our nightly talks I told him how I felt. I told him how I feel so much guilt being close to Alix. How I think people think I had Alix to feel my Bug void and how I think that people assume that I do these things with Alix to make her more like Bug. That I was only able to create a little less than 2 years of memories with Bug and the more I create with Alix I feel the guilt. How it all comes down to the comments I got when we told people we were naming Alix.
He reminded me that the opinions of others doesn’t matter. Bug would not be angry at me for loving her little sister and if she was here still she would be doing all this with us. That he knows I love Alix as an individual like all our other children. It occured to me that I was over analyzing my love for my kids. There are no limits to the amount I give them and each one deserves my love and attention like I have been giving them.
So far all you other grieving parents that have had the same feelings as me, it is normal to feel guilt but just keep your heart open because your children deserve that individual love and attention.