It’s been almost exactly three years since my dad passed away. Losing a parent in your 20s is a crazy, weird thing with which I’m still dealing. No matter how old you are when you lose a parent, you go through a similar grieving process. Since sharing my experience of that first year after he left us, I have received numerous emails from others going through a similar ordeal. Our stories are all so different, but yet so much the same. I was lucky enough to have my dad at our wedding, but now that we’re expecting our first little one, I’m cognizant that he won’t meet our first child. I’ve been thinking a lot of having a baby after losing a parent. Here’s what I’ve decided so far…
Having a Baby After Losing a Parent
My dad always loved babies, so I can only imagine how happy he would be to be a part of this experience. Everyone thinks about death a little differently. I, for one, know my dad may be physically gone, but I still feel that he’s watching over my family. He was just too nosey not to!
Because of my mentality, I don’t feel as though we’re doing this whole thing without him. Instead, I think he got to know the news first. And when I was nervous about the health of our little one, I often asked my dad through prayer and meditation to help me make sure it was going to be ok. So far so good!
Paying Homage to Him + His Family
Though my dad isn’t here to guide us, I’ve been thinking of ways to include him during this time. For us, this will likely come in the form of picking a name. Jewish naming practices – my dad was Jewish – dictate that babies are named after someone in the family that passed away at least one year before the baby is born. It can be just the same first letter or the same name. As we come up with names, we’re keeping this in mind for either the first or middle name.
Since our baby is going to have my husband’s last name, I think it’s important to include something from my family in his/her name as well. We haven’t decided on anything yet, but this is helping us come up with names. It’s also really helping me feel as though my dad is a part of this momentous experience!
How everyone handles having a baby after losing a parent will obviously be different. I think a lot of it depends on how long your mother or father has been gone and where you are in your grieving process. Talking about it, however, is absolutely the best thing we can do!