But it will be ok.
I tell my preschooler all the time ‘you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit’ but if we are being honest there is a lot of life that is incredibly unfair and if people would listen as adults we would totally throw a tantrum. I mean loved ones get cancer, layoffs happen, people make crappy decisions and you don’t get to choose to just take a ‘pass’ on those things.
I have been very fortunate in my-so-far-short life that very little tragedy has affected my life. I wouldn’t say I was naive or that my parents coddled me but I certainly was more optimistic than realistic about life. I had seen misfortune happen to other people and I had heard of catastrophic things but for the most part it was in another part of the world I visited to help for a week or two only to return to my life. I had experienced death and illness but none were quick and unexpected. For the most part my life was untouched by hardships that I couldn’t ‘pull myself up by the bootstraps’ to change the circumstances.
On November 11, 2013 all of that changed. In mid-October I had peed on a stick and had a positive pregnancy test. What I didn’t know was that not all pregnancies result in babies. Sure you hear 1 out of every 4 women suffer a miscarriage but that was just a statistic. That wasn’t my story… until it was.
That day was most crushing day I have ever experienced. I am not sure what was worse, not being able to see a heartbeat that first time or the waiting period and multiple ultrasounds in between knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do to change the circumstances or outcome. From November 11 until the 25 when I finally had a D&C I was an utter disaster and for several months (arguably a year) afterwards.
But how do you talk about it? How do you heal? How does one cope with dreams that can’t be realized; not because you didn’t try hard enough but because it was never within your power to take them and make them happen?
People don’t know how to talk about it. I don’t at least. I was beyond fortunate to be surrounded by a village. A family and friends who loved me when I didn’t know what I needed and couldn’t express.
Looking back on everything from afar it reminds me of the verse from Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” I didn’t feel far from God but certainly didn’t feel close and I was in no way in a place to articulate very much of anything other than the ache I felt in my very soul. I lived those months and even the months that I was pregnant with Eowyn as an almost out of body experience. I was desperately trying to be present but felt like I was struggling to feel alive in my skin.
On this same date, two years later with the sun shining I leave my ‘rainbow baby’ to nap and my son to watch show with my husband to steal a short mid-morning run and I feel conflicted. I have what I so deeply desired, to hold another baby from my womb. But yet some days my arms still feel empty. I know when I feel that way I try to look to God. I know the sunday school answers of the world being fallen to sin and that some day it will be made whole again and I will see my angel baby again. I know in my head so many things that just doesn’t reconcile in my heart. And that is ok. It has to be ok. Feelings aren’t logical. (which is dumb by the way.)
A wise friend told me that hurts like this are like a scar from a deep wound. They do heal but sometimes when you hit it just the right way it stings or maybe it aches with the changing of the seasons. Eventually the scar begins to fade but it never completely disappears. It is always a part of your story but it doesn’t have to define you.
Fall will always be wrought with anxiety for me. Those days of wondering, hoping, praying for a different outcome than what I could feel in the pit of my stomach. I feel those days still in these weeks. I had hoped having another baby might completely erase them but I am now realizing that it isn’t case.
You don’t always get to choose but this is one thing you can choose. You can choose to honor those feelings, that loss, that ache. Feel them. If a wound looks healed on the outside but is festering inside it will only cause decay. Let it heal from the inside out. It’s ok to ugly cry, to not have it together. It is definitely ok to ask for help. It takes time for the scar to fade.
While I don’t know that I will ever be able to be grateful for this day. I can say that my life has irrevocably changed. Those changes I am grateful for. This scar doesn’t have to define me but it does give me perspective. I love more deeply. I strive to live in the present. I try harder at the things I can change. I look at my babies I have and I am beyond grateful even when they piss me off (daily). I look at Eowyn so different than I ever looked at Lalo as a little baby. I cherish everything, even the midnight feedings and poop-splosions. I see my friends and family who came along side my when I was a puddle on the floor and I am eternally grateful. Dashed dreams and hopes not yet realized have a funny way of bringing out what is really important in life.
So on this day and in this season when feelings are dredged up and I read about people’s babies who have cancer and loved ones dying I try to remember, you don’t always get to choose, but it will be ok. Scars do fade.