Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I don't know if it's true or not but I once heard of a a poem called "Loss" that a poet carved into a stone fountain. But before anyone could read it he chiseled out all of the words and said, "There are no words to describe loss. It cannot be spoken, only felt."

There is a deep truth to that even if the story is just that; a story.

Over the last week or so one of my good friends has been posting blogs from a woman who recently lost her twin sons at 20 weeks gestation after a few days battling for them after her water unexpectedly broke.

I did not say much about the situation. As I've said before, as extroverted as I am there are certain things that I can find no words for. Some things cannot be spoken, only felt.

I didn't intend to say much about this dear woman, Diana, as it has all been said a million times by dozens of women who know her far more than I do. But something she wrote in her two most recent blogs really touched me.

She said...

I was blessed to be able to have a hospital that let me stay earlier than 20 weeks and when they died – they were recognized. I was never made to feel .. that my struggle was in vain or silly. My children meant something there – and they let me know it.

But so many of you never got that chance. And no matter what you believe or what religion you are or aren’t – choosing to have a baby and then losing it at any stage changes you forever. To not have it recognized before a certain point is cruel and dehumanizing. My boys were born 3 days shy of 20 weeks. It makes so much of a difference every week that went by – somehow to someone they were closer to “real” and after that point, after those weeks, it was ok to grieve. And this truly bothers me.

And then she said...

The thing is – so many want to brush off women’s pain as something to do with that time of the month, hormones, pregnancy, mama bear, etc. But God made us in a different way than most men in this process. While we all grieve differently, it’s hard to grieve and let the words flow knowing that someone is going to try to diagnose or compartmentalize the way you feel. It isn’t done maliciously, ... but we have to stop doing this to each other. As Chrisians we so often feel anger is wrong or a loss of faith in God. Mine is neither. ...
I have a right to be in pain and grieve and be angry – as a woman and as a Christian....

And with that I broke into tears.
Just about four years ago, a few days before Christmas, after trying for months, John and I found out we were pregnant with our first child. On New Years Day we lost the baby. It broke my heart in a way I can't find words for. I suffered a deep loss.

And what drove me to a point of hurt I could even less explain was the reaction of those around me. Those who told me that if I hadn't of tested I wouldn't have known I was pregnant and therefor I would have thought my miscarriage was just a late menstrual cycle. I was treated very much like I was over reacting and that my loss was somehow minimal because.... because what? Because I hadn't gotten an ultrasound of my baby yet? Because I hadn't found out the sex? Because I hadn't named him or her? Because I didn't hold him or her in my arms as he or she died?

Do those things quantify a mother's love? Justify it? Make it any more real?

All I know is that I wanted that baby, badly. And when I learned I was pregnant I celebrated the life within me like the life it was. I talked to my baby. I told my baby he or she was loved and greatly anticipated. My husband talked to the baby as well. Then, suddenly, he or she wasn't there anymore.

That hope, that joy, that expectation... our child was gone.

And people treated me like it didn't matter. Like I was some kind of hormonal psycho. Sure, I may have gone through something sad but nothing nearly as sad as what others have had to endure.

I've never written about this because I have wondered (and often felt) like maybe everyone was right. Maybe I was just hormonal. Maybe my loss was not as great as the loss of others. Maybe my loss didn't matter as much as the loss of those who have something tangible to say goodbye to.

I have been forced to feel guilty for my grief. To feel like I should be thankful I didn't have to hold my child as he or she struggled for those last breaths. I've been forced to feel like I overreacted, made a mountain of a mole hill or that I somehow overestimated the life I lost.

That's right. I've been made to feel like I overestimated my child's life.

And this morning a woman I don't know posted something in a blog I've only read a few handful of times that seemed to give me permission to stop feeling guilty for the pain I experienced.

It was a long time ago and there has been healing and there has been joy. I have two beautiful children whom I love dearly. Though the memory of my loss has faded it has not disappeared and sometimes I wonder about my third little baby. S/he is waiting for me. That gives me comfort.

Diana will probably never read this blog. She'll probably never know how her experience, still so fresh and tragic, has helped me find some sort of post-loss peace, but she has.

I pray for her. I hope she finds the healing and peace she needs. I hope and pray she finds joy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Growing is Good

In about fifteen hours or so my little girl will celebrate 5 months of life (outside of my belly, that is). She's my little sweetheart. My smiley one. My bubble blower and, yes, she's growing up so fast.

As the old cliche goes, it seems like just yesterday I was holding her for the first time and while five months is just a drop in the bucket it can also seem like so much time.

When you have kids and you love them as much as most parents love their babies there is this conflict that seems to kind of tear you up sometimes. On one hand there is this kind of sadness that its going by so fast. People tell you it will. You know it will. And while there are times (i.e. when you're baby is screaming her head off at 2 am and nothing can console her) that it seems like it will never end, somehow it seems to fly by and the sadness comes. You try to cherish every moment the way everyone tells you to and hang on to every second, but all of a sudden they are too big to fit the newborn outfits. Suddenly your baby is growing out of 0-3 month clothes, she no longer wants to sleep in your arms all day but wants to sit up and look around and even tries to start standing and rolling. Yep, there's that part of you that kind of screams, "I'm not ready for you to grow," no matter how much more growing they have to do and how relatively little growing they've done.

But, on the other hand, it's always good to remember that growing is wonderful and something to be so thankful for. I don't have to look farther than my own family and friends to find mothers who've lost their children in infancy. They will never see their babies open presents or hear their first words or give them kisses. Still other mothers have their children but through disease or illness will never have children that grow the way other children might. The disability may mean their child will never walk or talk or see or read a book or sing a song or climb a tree or skip on the sidewalk.

Sometimes I watch other parents talking with their children and I get jealous. I so crave that interaction with my son who is still struggling to catch up in his speech. While he is making daily progress there are still delays that make me ache from time to time. I want to share those moments with him and I'm so eager to listen to what he has to say and share stories and ideas. I can only imagine how much a mother would ache to watch her child who cannot walk take the steps I take for granted in my own children, or say the words or throw the ball or paint a picture or ask for a hug.

My heart breaks for these mothers and I think of how ignorant silly we are when we express how sad we are to watch our children grow and develop. A common phrase I see all over the place is, "I just want to freeze my child like this forever."

I know parents who have children who are frozen (at least mentally, if not physically) at a particular age forever and I'm sure they are far too polite to tell us what they really think. That WE should grow up, get real and thank God that we have children who do and will grow to accomplish new and wonderful things. That we should look at our growing children as a miracle and remember that children who are frozen in time usually come with expiration dates much earlier than children who are healthy and grow in the manner we lament and take for granted.

When I hear mothers lament about how quickly their children grow (or even when I start to get those feelings myself) I have to stop and remind myself how blessed I am to have children who are growing and learning and developing into healthy, beautiful children who, Lord willing, will grow into healthy, beautiful adults.

Olivia and I spent a few minutes before bed laughing and playing as I tickled her feet and kissed her cheeks and hands. Every day it seems she is getting stronger and more coordinated, faster with her hands and steadier in her balance. She's no longer content to sit in her swing, but wants to stand in her walker and for the first time she started to scoot across the kitchen floor yesterday morning.

She amazes me with her strength and new strides every day and I cherish the moments I have with her as my little baby. But I am so thankful and blessed to be here to watch her grow and change. There is so much to look forward to and I cannot wait to watch her grow and learn just like I cannot wait to watch Garrett's progress and growth.

I am so blessed with the gift of growth for my children.