Life, Motherhood and Grief.

On September 5, 2018 by Bethany

Some people believe life begins at 18 days…

or 12 weeks…

or 20 weeks…

or when a baby has taken it’s first breath….

I’m not that person.

I believe life begins at conception.

And I believe that every single life is precious and whole.

—-

I’ve been talking with a lot of men and women about this miscarriage. It’s been so freeing. So healing. So hard and beautiful. I’ve heard pain and heartache, been comforted and encouraged and most of all, I’ve experienced an unexpected level of support and love from this special group of people.

But one thing I’m learning is that there’s one piece of this journey of loss that parents don’t often share with others. It’s this confusing balance of mourning and grieving their loss, but also knowing other couples have “lost more” and grieving for them too, in a way. When you’ve experienced the grief that comes along with a miscarriage, you get the smallest glimpse of the pain that parents who’ve lost children older than yours, must be feeling. And I put “lost more” in quotes because it isn’t fair to compare grief… but then again, maybe it kind of is, too. It’s true that other parents who’ve had a baby pass away farther along (or after they are born) have an experience and heartbreak far different than a baby lost in an early miscarriage, maybe even completely different but the lesson pulled from these conversations? The pain of others doesn’t negate the pain you are currently in. It doesn’t make this baby not “enough” to be loved lavishly and the grief to not feel overwhelming. It doesn’t mean that this baby isn’t as real to me as Rockwell in my arms as I type this.

Folks like me who struggle with this “is my level of grief normal?” question. So I just want to say this to you and to anyone else out there who may be struggling and most of all, for myself:

I believe that a baby, no matter how small, is a whole and complete life. A whole and complete human who has the right to be honored and grieved over. That they count, that they matter, that they are important. A life that will forever be intertwined in the hearts of those who loved them, and who love them still.

Grieve that loss.

Honor them how you can.

And lift up other parents who’ve experienced loss, as well.

It gives me great comfort to know that men and women who’ve had miscarriages in the past, are praying for us, because they know exactly where we are right now. They have been through this, they know this pain.

Some people may find motherhood annoying. I don’t know, maybe you find me annoying. If so, that’s alright.. I know everyone isn’t wired like me and how I feel so deeply and how I write so much and how I really really like those ice-eating videos on Instagram. Maybe you are appalled and disappointed that a woman would want a baby (or 7), more than she wants that full-time career she’s worked for, or more than a full passport that she used to dream of when she was younger… or more than a fancy house that she used to sketch up in her notebooks in high school. You may be convinced that she is selling herself short or somehow giving up a piece of her dreams or her future for her children.

I’m not that person.

I believe that my dreams have shifted. My goals have changed. My heart beats in time with 4 other people’s.

I don’t sell myself short or not live out my dreams because of them. That’s not me.

I don’t believe my kids are my identity. I don’t believe they are the center of my universe – that my husband and I don’t matter. I don’t believe their wants trump my wants. I don’t believe that I have to throw myself under the bus and run myself ragged to be a good mom. That’s not me.

I believe in the value of self-care, date nights and time away from my kids.

But, I’d be lying if I said that I’m not a different person than I was 4 years ago.

What used to be dreams for a career, turned into a passion for this season I’m in… this season of raising up incredible men (and women maybe someday) who will follow whatever callings the Lord has on their hearts.

What used to be dreams of traveling the globe before 30 (solo) have been changed into traveling with my family. And my heart is at peace with putting traveling on pause for a time and shifting into raising Kingdom-workers, (who’ll spread throughout the globe if that’s what God’s calls them to do). Until then, my travel will be for expanding the Kingdom and taking my kids along.

What used to be dreams for a big house, turned into valuing experiences over possessions and a close-knit family over lots of space to “spread out”. ” Side rant: why are Americans SO obsessed with this need to “spread out?”

If you’re wondering if my husband talked me into this, you’re wrong. I have the most supportive husband in the world. If I wanted to stay home – he’d support me. If I wanted to be an astronaut, he’d help me with my space-homework. If I wanted to go back to school, he’d fill out the applications with me. And if I wanted to be a fortune teller, he’d buy me the best dang crystal ball there ever was.

This has nothing to do with someone else. It’s me, my choice, my love of motherhood.

I believe motherhood is the greatest adventure I’ve ever had. Far greater than watching the sunrise in Belize or building houses in remote Haiti… Greater than any travel, greater than a career, greater than any possession. It’s the over-arching theme of the life I want. Of the life I choose. It’s in my bones, my DNA, who I want to be, how I want to live.

You don’t have to want that. It’s okay. We are all different human beings.

But this is me.

Like so many other women, I feel a connection to my children so deeply that some days, even when we are only apart for a few hours, I ache. This deep ache in my chest that makes my eyes well up with tears and my feet start moving in their direction before I can think to stop myself. It’s not every moment, of course, because this is real life – not a Hallmark movie. There are some days I feel like I’m going to pull my hair out if I have one more booger wiped on my pants when I’m not looking. And just this morning I threatened to light up the fire pit out back and roast this stinking Lightning McQueen matchbox car on a spit because they WILL. NOT. STOP. FIGHTING. OVER. IT.

It’s real. It’s ridiculous and it’s the best.

But y’all, whatever the chaos brings, I treasure these gifts of mine. I want to do my best to raise them well. I want to show them how to adventure alongside their dad and I. To crave exploration and see the world, in all it’s colors and complexity, with their own eyes. To love fiercely and run down every path the world opens before them, with abandon. To push open the doors, run through the house, throw back the curtains and let the sun beam down on their face and feel it’s warmth in their soul.

 

Motherhood is the hardest road I’ve walked.

Motherhood is a the greatest honor I’ve ever known.

Motherhood is me.

 

And so this life… this tiny, precious, whole and complete life left my body two Mondays ago and is waiting on us in Heaven now and I feel like my whole world has stopped. Well, my world has stopped, but the rest of the world just keeps on going. Isn’t that the craziest part of grief? It’s like part of my heart has been carved out and given as a gift to someone else, yet again, except this time around it’s not running circles on two feet in front of me while I change a diaper…. and it’s not begging me for a another cookie at 6 am… and it’s not throwing muddy boots in the shoe basket even though I’ve said it a thousand times, “muddy shoes stay outside.”

Instead, this piece of my heart is resting far above me, far from me, out of my reach.

I’d love to say I’m okay – and I mean, in a sense of unwavering faith, I’m okay. I have Christ and for that, I will always be okay at the very foundation of my soul. I have Him to cling to and His promises to hold onto in the good and bad times.

But emotionally, I’m not okay. I’m feeling empty. I’m feeling so very sad. I’m feeling mad.

Mad that I don’t get to hold you in my arms like your brothers and smell your hair just after you were born.

Today I am selfish, I want you here with me, in my body, safe and growing. I want to have been able to feel you kick and I want you here, not there.

Today I am full of guilt and lies from the devil. I know there’s nothing I could have done differently, but that fact just refuses to travel the few inches from my head down to my heart.

But, today I am also full of hope. Hopeful and focused that I will hold you in my arms one day. And I will kiss your face a million times and learn every wrinkle that makes you, you. And I will watch your big eyes sparkle like your brothers’ do and I will thank the Lord for letting me see how He was with us all along and I’ll praise Him all the more for His goodness.

Because I know He loves you far more than I can ever imagine. And today, that alone brings a little piece of peace. A little string to pull on. A little light in the midst of the dark. He is with you while I cannot be.

 

And so today, we are going to keep grieving for you – for us – for our family.

We are going to talk about you together and what you might have been like.

We are going to give you a name. Just me and dad, by ourselves, to honor you… you know how we love names.

We are going to cry and laugh and miss you.

Because you are our baby and we claim you. It’s important to me that you know that.

We rejoice over your life, even if it was only for a few shorts months with us.

I am a mother of 4.

He is a father of 4.

3 on this earth and you, waiting on us in Heaven.

 

Ou se jwa nou.

-Bethany

2 Responses to “Life, Motherhood and Grief. ”

  • Thank you for sharing your heart. I have loved reading your blog and am honored to have a glimpse into your life. You’re a beautiful woman and such a giving soul. I will keep praying for you, your family and your little baby in Heaven. Hug to you. Jen

  • So beautifully written. My heart and prayers go out to you. I had three miscarriages myself, and each one was hard and sad. Be gentle on yourself, grieve how you need to grieve and know that you are not alone on this journey. Love, friends, family and God will help you heal in time. There is a wonderful book a friend of mine told me about recently that it written for loss. You may want to check it out…A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. Love and hugs to you as you heal.

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