I dreamed my whole life of becoming a mommy. Well, I dreamed first of my wedding day and had that all planned out. And my second dream in my life plan was to be a mommy. To have lots of babies. My biggest fear about being pregnant was that I would have morning sickness or get a stretch mark. That was how naive I was...I didn't have a clue. Never did I dream that I would endure so many medical treatments/needle pokes/surgeries to conceive, that I would never parent my first 2 children, that I would deliver a small, still little girl who would never laugh, that my living children would spend their first 3 months living 35 minutes away from me, that I would have 4 therapy appointments each week (and only 4 cause I do the PT myself). Life is nothing like what I "dreamed" it would once be. I am so incredibly blessed, and yet I can find myself spiraling down into self pity. You'd think as time goes by that this would get easier, there would be fewer moments of crushing despair, but it's just not true. Maybe after 2 years? Maybe 5? Maybe never.
I have met several amazing women through my journey of loss, and there is a general consensus that people don't know what to say. And honestly, it's a no-win situation for friends and family. Do I bring it up? Do I ignore it? Where's the balance? And, as time goes on, it because less awkward to avoid the conversations and that's what happens the majority of time. This is not geared toward my specific family or friends, so please don't think of it like that. But, as I've gotten to know these women who have also experience stillbirth or infant loss, there are several things that are important to all of us across the board. As this blog is no longer just shared with family, I thought I'd take a moment while my heart is longing for my sweet daughter to put those thoughts into words.
First, please do not forget to ask about our children or how we are doing. As the days pass, we rarely have an opportunity to talk about our heavenly children. It feels as though the entire world is moving on, though we know deep down that is not the case. When you think of our child, please send us a note or text to let us know. It is SUCH a blessing to me to know that Reagan had an impact in life, that her short time on earth was meaningful to someone other than her parents. The same is true of every other woman I've talked to.
Second, please realize new babies are always hard. It doesn't matter how many years have gone by, seeing a newborn always reminds us of our precious little ones. For me, even seeing my own children reminded me of Reagan and her perfect little face. I am thankful every day that God gave me boys and not a little girl, because then I might struggled even more. For me, every little baby girl picture I see takes my breath away for a second. Those who lost a boy, it's the opposite. For those precious women who have lost both...I don't know how you hand it. Yes, God is molding me every day into a new person, helping me to see things in an eternal perspective, helping me to forgive. But something about newborn babies takes me right back.
Third, holidays stink. Always. Every single one of them. This is across the board, from all women I know. I am praying that gets better with time too, that I will be able to celebrate Christmas with Warren and Dean, watch the joy on their faces, attend a Christmas Eve service, etc without holding my breath and waiting for a moment when I can slip away, curl up in a ball, and sob. Easter this year was the only holiday I really wanted to celebrate, only time when I could be thankful Reagan was already in heaven. Every other time it was supposed to be a large family gathering...Reagan's first Thanksgiving where she could have eaten some turkey, seeing her little stocking hanging on the mantle, watching her excitedly open presents, etc. None of those things happened. It's heartbreaking. So, please be a little extra sensitive during holiday times, as emotions and hormones are raging, especially that first year.
And finally, please pray for all of us. I am overwhelmed at the number of women who experience a loss so deep, each and every week. I am constantly seeing on our Hope Mommies page new moms who have had to say goodbye to their children just too early. As someone who was completely oblivious that this even happened, I am shocked at how frequent it is (1 in 160). That is so many women. I cannot imagine enduring such pain without my faith and trust in Jesus, knowing he died for Reagan and that she is in heaven now. But, so often, that is not the case, and there is just emptiness left behind. Whether you know someone who experienced infant loss or not, lift this group of women up in prayer...for healing, for peace, for strength, for them to be open to God's glory no matter how difficult.