Monday, August 13, 2012

The New Normal

After the loss of a child, whether from miscarriage, or stillbirth, or even a living child, one of the first questions is often "will I ever feel normal again?" and while that might seem like a yes or no question, it is much more complicated than that. Feeling normal again, entails going backwards, it means getting back to where you used to be, and the harsh reality is that this is impossible. You cannot go back to where you used to be, because you aren't who you used to be; loss, grief, and mourning changes you, you become a new person, with a new life. That new life contains many new things, many things that weren't a part of the old normal; it contains hurt, grief, sorrow, loss, loss of innocence, and the single most thing that will change you the most is the child who you are no longer able to carry. Each one of these things changes the core of who you are, it changes how you view the world, it changes how you relate to people, it changes how you love those close to you, it changes your level of compassion, it changes the way you think and feel, you are a new person; even if you could go back to your old normal, it wouldn't feel right, you would feel out of balance and out of place. Rather than going back to normal, you will move forward into normal, a new normal, where you learn to function in spite of the grief, where you push forward through the painful days and relish the days you can smile, where you have greater compassion for the hurting souls around you, where many old problems seem trivial and many new ones feel insurmountable, where you love a child who is a part of you, but not near you. While you can never go back to the old normal, there will come a day when you are able to get out of bed without trying, when you find yourself laughing, when the sadness doesn't cripple you, and yes there will come a day when you realize you just don't hurt as badly as you once did.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grief is exhausting

Grief is exhausting. You spend your days asking question after question, trying to make sense of your loss, trying to understand why this has happened to you, and if that isn't tiring enough there is the business of trying to hold your life together. Chances are, you have someone in your life who is relying on you, someone you have to care for, someone who needs you to maintain some sense of normalcy, which is a daunting task in itself. Not only are you trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for those around you, but you are also trying desperately yourself to feel normal again, to escape the sadness, desperation, anger, depression, hopelessness, the void left by loss. The spectrum of emotions brought that is the grief experience can make your head spin, it's downright tiring not knowing how or what you will be feeling from day to day, even minute to minute. And the loneliness grief can bring can make you feel like throwing in the towel yourself. I'm sure on more than one occasion you have thought or said "I'm just tired," and have probably wondered to yourself if you could find any sort of rest, reprieve, a solace from your grief, and you can! Matthew 11:28-29  states "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Do you know that there is someone out there who wants to carry the burden of your grief ? Who wants to carry you? Who wants to give you rest? Do you know that you don't have to be alone in your pain and suffering? Do you know that Christ can bring an end to the exhaustion? Not only can He carry the immense burden that is weighing you down, but He can carry you, and He wants to be the one to hold you, He is waiting to take your heavy burden, and to give you His, that is light and easy, you need only ask Him to. Grief is exhausting, don't you want to rest?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Unanswered Questions

When you lose a child to miscarriage (even stillbirth) it can often leave a lot of questions in your life, many of which will never have answers; for me the biggest questions will always be "what happened?"  "How did my baby die?" "Was it my fault? Did I do something wrong?" And as my son grows, I have to wonder what my angel would have looked like, sounded like, smelled like, acted like, I always have this desire to know the person she would have been; I have always thought that as time passed and our family grew, that I would wonder less and less about life with my first baby, but time has me wondering more and more. Every milestone my son hits has me asking what my Sparrow would have looked like doing the same thing; would she have loved mushrooms and zucchini like he does? Would she have used one foot and one knee to crawl like he did? Would she have gotten mad when I tried to hold her hand while she was walking like he does? Would she have loved to give kisses and hugs like he does? Would she have jammed out with daddy while listening to loud music like he does? Would she have loved to cuddle and nurse with mommy like he does? Who would this little person have been? Would you call me crazy if I said that I often picture my son in a dress and headband with a few strawberry blonde curls, just because I am curious? And then I find myself asking what life would have been like with her in it; every time a little girl plays with my little guy, or gives him a hug, or tries to help him do something, I can't help, but picture this as my daughter and son, imagining that I have both of my babies, that it is my little family, and then reality snaps me back to a world where I can only wonder what my sons life would be like with a big sister in it. I suppose all of this sounds a bit hopeless, but I don't mean it to be so, my intention is to normalize the dreams, to normalize the questions, to let you know that you aren't alone in wondering. We may never get the answers we are looking for, but many times in life I have found that those unanswered questions are often much less painful than knowing, and that sometimes God doesn't let us know the answers to protect our hearts.