It’s no secret that pregnancy doesn’t really agree with me. Every day I progress is hard-fought. It’s more than just dealing with the physical ailments and restrictions; now that I’ve carried Binky farther than her sister, the mental battle is intense.

Many preemie moms carry the guilt that their bodies failed their babies. Even if we know on an intellectual level that they didn’t, no matter how many times we may be told it’s not true, we can’t help but blame ourselves. Every day in the NICU I would apologize to Madeline that I couldn’t keep her inside longer.

It’s hard to believe in a body that let me down the first time. I am constantly looking for signs that something might go wrong, convinced that if I am extra diligent I might be able to prevent history from repeating. At over 31 weeks, I am in uncharted territory where I don’t recognize any of the aches and pains. Are they normal, or the other shoe dropping?

I work every day on trusting my body. I talk to my people about my fears, and we work through them and try to put them in a little box in the back of my mind. I try to be kind to myself. It’s not the easiest thing to be. I remind myself constantly how far I – we – have come. That I am so close to a victory baby.

I think about how much I enjoy feeling her move around inside my belly. That I am never alone, because I carry her with me wherever I go. I tell myself that these moments are almost gone, and then I will long to feel those flutters and stretches again.

It is a battle, but I have to remind myself that thinking about the prize doesn’t jinx it. It’s OK to look at the light at the end of the tunnel.

I will carry her

obligatory heart on belly shot

belly magic