Saturday, January 30, 2010

This is me, tonight

I think the reason I have been avoiding my blog lately, is because I really don’t like a lot of the thoughts and feelings I’ve been having. I’ve also been feeling so scattered that to sit down and try to make sense of it all at the keyboard is no easy task. My feelings and my faith have both been on a roller coaster lately, so much so that my mind cannot even keep up with what is going on inside my soul…Some days I feel a strength and a peace from God that keeps me going, and even brings a joy to my heart. Other days I just feel so conflicted, confused, lost really. Even after 8 months I still don’t know how to navigate in this unfamiliar territory of loss, and especially pregnancy after our loss. I’ve felt so many different things since our last appointment for Baby June, some triggered by the problem seen on the ultrasound, some by a decrease in his movement that turned out to be nothing, and some by finding out we’re having a boy.

I had a feeling there would be some issues attached whether we were having a boy or a girl. In fact, if we were having Eliana’s sister instead of her brother, I would probably be wrestling with a similar set of thoughts. But, in all honesty, I have been missing her so much more intensely since learning Baby June is a boy. I feel guilty to even type this, but at the same time, it is the truth, and I will feel worse if I don’t face my struggles head on.

It’s not that I am actually disappointed to be having another boy. We’ve been so happy each time we’ve learned we’re having a son, and love them so much, all three. When I was pregnant with Eliana, I was completely prepared to hear we were having another son, and so surprised when they told us she was a little girl. During her pregnancy, we thought we would probably have at least one more, and would have been equally pleased with a boy or a girl. I am completely happy that my 4th child is a little boy. What I am hurting over so much though, is that I didn’t get to keep my third baby, my little girl…

I have always wanted a little girl so much. I was so happy to have our two boys first. We planned to have a larger family and wanted some of each, so I always thought I would get to raise a daughter. I grew up with two sisters, and we had so much fun together, I imagined reliving some of those things with my own daughter someday. Once I found out I had indeed been given that little girl I had dreamed of, I was so in love with her, and couldn’t wait for everything her life would bring to our family.

I wanted to see how she would melt her Daddy’s heart, and how her big brothers would want to protect her always. I wanted to brush her silky hair and put it in little pigtails and dress her in the cutest clothes. I imagined her as a little ballerina, and also hoped I would have a shopping partner, especially on family vacations that are currently often spent going to zoos and reptile museums. But, I knew that even if she hated shopping and the color pink, and was more interested in going fishing with the boys than wearing tutus, it wouldn’t have made a difference to me. More than anything, I just wanted to be her Mommy, and love her for whoever God intended her to be.

Now, she is gone and I will never know how she would have turned out. There is nothing that can ever change that. Of course that would be true even if we were having another girl. It is not just the idea of having a daughter I am missing, it is her sweet little spirit that my spirit aches and longs for. She was given to me, and then taken away, and nothing can ever fill the hole that is left permanently in my heart.

There are so many unfulfilled dreams I had for her, and still just so much love in my heart that is meant only for her. Sometimes it’s so much I feel like I will fall apart because I can’t contain all the love that I am not able to pour out in the active role of mothering her. My soul still longs so much to hold her and take care of her. God creates a mother with a boundless overflowing sea of love for her baby for a reason, because that is what the night and day, exhausting, beautiful task of caring for a baby requires. But, I will never get to do that for her. I think it is even more exhausting to long for her than it would be to take care of her. Caring for a baby is a physical drain, but grieving for a baby is an emotional and spiritual drain that leaves you ragged and scattered.

I look for ways to remember her, and honor her life, and while it feels good to do something for another person in her name, at the end of the day there is still just a restless kind of emptiness that nothing can lessen. No amount of good things I can do in her memory can ever make up for the fact that no one will ever call her by name, see her smile, or hold her close in this life. Even if I succeed in keeping her memory alive, it is only the memory that she existed, because no one has a memory of who she is. We didn’t even get to catch a glimpse of that.

Even as I type these words, I know in my heart the spiritual truth that has comforted me in the past, that she IS known, fully and intimately by her heavenly Father, who calls her by name, and loves her perfectly for who she is. He is the only one who she needs to be known by. It is me who needs for her to be known and recognized on this earth, she has no need for that, and isn’t really missing out on anything.

Still, even as that knowledge comforts my heart about her current state, it doesn’t change the way it feels down here. I am lonely and broken, lost and disoriented without her. I try to move forward, only to find myself so many steps behind. I try to bring God glory only to find myself stumbling in the dark. I know He is there, helping me take every breath, every step, and loving me all along the way even as I falter. But sometimes it is so hard to feel it down here.

My sister who is due a month before me, and already has the only granddaughter on my side of the family, just found out yesterday, she is expecting another girl. I’m happy for her, but at the same time, it also hurt to see how brightly her face lit up when she came back from her appointment and told us. Then I sat and listened to her call our list of loved ones saying each time “It’s a girl!!” and sensing their excitement on the other end. That same excitement they are supposed to have over my little girl, instead of just sympathy and sadness. It made me relive the feeling of overwhelming joy from that day we had Eliana’s ultrasound and found out she was a girl. I know I had that same look on my face, and made those same phone calls. Now those happy memories can sometimes feel like daggers when I think of how quickly all our joy turned into this sadness.

That’s one thing I hate the most about all of this pain. The way things that once brought me the greatest joy in my life, have become sources of sorrow that I sometimes have to avoid. Everything to do with babies has always made me so happy. I have always loved seeing new babies, whether children of strangers, or of friends and family, and while I still enjoy them now, there is always a sadness that accompanies it. Pregnancy used to be such a joy, and now it is accompanied by so many fears and so many reminders of the pain. It hurts to look at my son’s baby pictures and remember their births and newborn days, because it reminds me too much of what I didn’t get to have with Eliana. Those were some of the very best moments of my life, and I can only pray that my heart will heal to a point where I can look at them that way again. And of course, those few precious memories of Eliana, that I will treasure in my heart for a lifetime. I wish so much that every memory of her could bring nothing but joy, but they still bring such sadness, hurt, and disappointment over what could have been.

I know all of the other mother’s out there who have lost children understand where I am coming from. I wish this wasn’t the place I am in right now, but it is. I wish I had a more encouraging, uplifting post, but I just don’t have that tonight. Ask me tomorrow, and I am likely to be on a much better plane. It’s funny how grief can do that to you, one day can be one of the most difficult, and the next day can be a happy one. And of course, being pregnant I am shifting that much more easily between emotional states. This post doesn’t reflect my overall outlook, or my constant train of thought by any means. It reflects some of the worst of me, and my thoughts at this specific, tired moment.

I am still holding on for dear life to my faith, and God really is carrying me along with His mighty strength. I am loving this baby He has given me with all I have, and just doing my best to move forward for him, and his two big brothers. Most days I really am okay, but I have been feeling all of this underneath the surface lately, and a couple of recent meltdowns have prompted me to just sit down and try to figure out what is really going on inside of me.

I’m so thankful that when I am at my weakest, I have an opportunity to rely on the strength that only comes from God. When I feel my steps begin to falter, I can count on Him never to let me fall. When I can’t walk on my own, I know He will carry me.

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.
Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death.
Psalm 68:19-20

When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Psalm 94:18-19

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

PS: To my pregnant sis if you ever read this, you know how much I love you, love my niece and nephew, and now love this new little niece on the way. She will bring so much happiness to all of us, and I look forward to seeing J. with her little sister. My feelings described here are just that, my feelings, that only have to do with how much I miss my own little girl. Don’t feel bad about your happy news, or being excited around me. I know you can understand how I can be both happy for you, sad for me not having my daughter, and yet happy about my baby boy, all at the same time!!


  1. You just wrote the words I haven't been able to express lately. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Jess I feel like I could have written this. It's been *SO* hard lately. I feel too that pregnancy is only magnifying whatever emotional state I happen to be in. It's hard, so hard. I wish none of us knew what is was like to have our joy robbed of us with the loss of our babies and our dreams for them. We did miss out on so much. You always do a good job at remembering that heavenly perspective. THank you for that.


  3. I totally understand where you are coming from with all of this. I am totally hoping for another little girl and I would be lying if I said that I wouldn't be disappointed if we found out we're having a boy. I'd get over it eventually though once I came to terms with it. I am glad that you are writing your heart.