So, last night I gathered with a group of people who get it, who KNOW, who are part of the club you never want to be involved with. And we celebrated our babies together.
We headed up with Winter Park for a night out, to the Celebration of Life for the Finley Project. I wasn't sure how I felt about all this - a bit overwhelmed, a bit guilty, a bit unsure. But also excited, grateful for a chance to feel understood, to not feel like I needed to just get over it. Because, we learned nearly 5 years ago, that just never happens. And I struggle to function in everyday environments, feeling like I have to pretend to have it all together, trying my hardest not to cry or scream or break down at the sight of every pregnant woman or newborn baby. Trying not to go to the dark and bitter place, trying not to blame God for this awful new normal I am living.
So, yesterday, I could just be me, Meghan mommy of 5, desperately missing 2 of my babies. I arrived early to the event and was sent up to a suite for some time of pampering with the other mommies. This involved massages, hair, and makeup, a chance for me to not have to worry about getting myself put together because someone else would take care of it. As I sat there, I battled through guilt - guilt at being out, at relaxing, at allowing myself to be pampered. And I battled the ever present bitterness, sitting between pregnant women rubbing their bellies, thinking that was EXACTLY what I should be doing now. And yet, there we were, all women with all different stories, yet deeply connected. We shared in the loss of our children. For without that, we never would have met, would have had no reason to be together in this room.
And, for the first time since Lucas' memorial, we got to talk about our sweet boy. We were able to share about him and a bit about his story. We got to hear about the other boys and girls who are his new playmates. We connected and bonded over this indescribable pain as we shared the beauty and heartache of our stories. It was emotional, sure, but so wonderful to have people who asked real questions, who didn't cringe or become silent, who hugged us even though we had never seen them before. I even met another mommy who also had 2 stillbirths. I've often felt like I was the only one, the only one who has had to endure this not just once, but twice. And it's helpful to know there are others out there too, and that we are all making it through. Overall, it was a beautiful night, a great way to honor our sweet Lucas.