**This is a throwback post: I wrote it, while I was unknowingly pregnant with our second child, on July 27, 2016. When I found out I was pregnant on August 1st I held off on sharing this post, but I still resonate with the words I wrote back then and wanted to share them.**
Lately I've felt a shift in my sorrow. There hasn't been one day since November 15, 2015 where I haven't felt sadness at some point. Some days it consumes me, but others, I'm able to laugh, socialize, and think about other things pretty effortlessly.
Grief is such an interesting thing to study. You think you can predict what will trigger an onset of emotions, but then something happens, often a small thing, that blindsides you. Just as you think you've been doing so well, suddenly you're back in the throes of grief for a few days. I hate using cliches to describe something, but comparing grief to the ocean is the best way you can describe it. It ebbs and flows, sometimes there's a storm, sometimes it's calm, sometimes you feel like you're drowning and then a piece of driftwood floats by (a kind word, surprise in the mail, sweet text, blessing from the Lord) that you can hold onto and it keeps you from drowning for awhile.
About a month ago I found myself dreading coming into work more than usual. It was so hard to motivate myself to get out of bed and get ready. I was becoming increasingly irritable with the people I work with (all in my mind, on the outside I kept that fake smile plastered on my face.)
One morning, as I was miserably getting ready for work, it hit me: I'm supposed to be on maternity leave. I truly feel like subconsciously my mind knew this and therefore going to work has been especially hard for me since my due date.
It was nice to become aware of why I had been feeling the way I did. And since my due date (6.18.2016), I've become aware of other things as well. I was pretty unsure of how I'd feel after my due date before it came and went. Would I feel relieved? Would I feel worse? Would I get depressed again? Would I feel way better than expected? Would it be really healing for me?
The ache I've felt each day since my miscarriage is still there, just as strong, if not stronger at times. But I've noticed the ache itself is just a little different.
Up until my due date I of course had a longing to be an active mother, but deep down I guess I knew I was still supposed to be pregnant. Even if I hadn't miscarried, my baby wouldn't have been in my arms yet, she'd still be safely growing inside of me. While I longed to be pregnant again, I also had a very deep longing to still be pregnant with the baby I lost.
Now, my baby is supposed to be in my arms. And it is SO hard attending events or doing things where I pictured myself with my baby in my arms. For instance, Vacation Bible School is this week at our church. I've always worked in VBS somehow, but last year when I found out I was pregnant, that was something I remember thinking about. I figured I wouldn't be working in VBS at all because I'd have a one-month-old to take care of. Thankfully I am team leading the oldest group of kids, I've always had the youngest group and I think that would've been too much for me to handle this year.
This past Sunday in church was our VBS kickoff. So during the regular Sunday School time all the VBS workers and participants met in the dining room and talked about the upcoming week and had donuts. That was fine. But in service our pastor was talking about it again, and as he was speaking I could sense the direction he was going in. He was gearing up to invite all of the families with children in VBS up to the front of the church for a special prayer. I was up on the platform because I play the saxophone in our band and I began shaking as I stood there, waiting for the prayer to begin. Then he said, "all you parents bring your children up here; get the little ones out of the nursery, too." And that's when the tears started.
As the prayer began the band started to play again and I had to sit down. My eyes were tearing up too much to even see the music and my mind was too scattered to focus on playing by ear. So I stopped playing and just sat there crying. I didn't want to make a scene, so each time my eyes were clear enough I started to play again. I was either staring at the music or playing with my eyes shut. But eventually I was just heaving; I had been trying to make it look like I was just praying for the families, not that I was sobbing for other reasons.
I felt bad because I knew I was making the people around me feel uncomfortable, but I couldn't help it. The prayer eventually ended, the music stopped, and our pastor got up to preach. And I could still not stop crying; I was a mess. At a certain point the sweet lady sitting next to me (who probably had no idea what to do or say) finally took containers of mints out of her purse and set them up on the music stand in front of us and said, "Help yourself if you'd like any." I managed to squeak out a thank you and suddenly I was crying again. Literally the compassion of offering me mints was just too much. It sounds funny now, but it was overwhelming in the moment.
The message was anointed and I was enjoying the few pieces I was able to catch. But sitting there just trying to listen was too much; my mind was far too prone to wandering. I needed to turn my attention towards something to get my mind off of all the sadness. So I just started to look up scriptures on waiting. I've looked them all up before but it was exactly what my heart needed. I took time to write each one down in the back of my church notebook, and slowly, the crying stopped, and I began to gain composure. By the end of service I was able to put on a good face again and act like everything was fine.
So the ache is just different, but as you can see, it's definitely still there. I want my baby in my arms so badly. And not only do I want her in my arms, I just want to mother. The yearning to mother my child is intense. A lot more intense now that I know if I hadn't lost her I would be mothering her right now.
I was able to briefly "mother" my friend's child the other night when he got upset by something and she was teaching a class, so I took him out and soothed him. I love him anyways, but it was paradise... especially since I was able to soothe him. But I just tried to forget for a moment of what my life is right now and imagined I was holding my own child.
I also have to say that I have extreme guilt because he's the only baby I want to hold. In general right now, babies, especially really little ones that have been born in the last few months or that were born around the time of my miscarriage, scare me. It's hard to look at them because I can so easily picture myself with a baby that size. I don't want to hold them, if I'm being honest I just want to pretend they're not there. And I feel bad. I wish I was like other women who heal by holding all the babies. But that's not me. Maybe I'd actually love holding a baby who'd be close in age to mine if she had lived. But it's truly a fear of mine to be put in a position where I feel like I have to hold a baby. I just don't know if my heart could handle it.
The sweet little one I soothed the other night is my best friend's "rainbow baby" and I helped pray him here and am best friends and business partners with his sweet momma. Plus he's almost 15 months so it's not as hard because he was here before I was even pregnant.
I know I shouldn't feel the need to apologize for the way I feel, but I truly feel terrible that I'm not acknowledging and loving on my friends' children because I'm so consumed with myself and my own feelings of sorrow. I pray that I don't offend those friends or lose friendships over it.
I just never know where a blog post is going to end up. I didn't intend to tell any of the stories that I did, but I just start writing and one thing flows into another and all of a sudden I've written more than I planned and I feel like I'm rambling and should definitely end the post. So this is what has been on my heart lately -- life after my due date and how it's different than I expected.
The hole in my heart hasn't seemed to get any smaller; it just aches differently these days. But I'm thankful for the Lord Who's love goes so much deeper than any void in my heart.
A new dynamic has unfolded since writing this piece because now not only do I wish I was just mothering our first child, never having lost her. My "backup" wish is to still be pregnant with my daughter who I lost in September. It would be ideal to have never experienced any loss, so I ache for the child I could be mothering, but I also ache for the child I should still be carrying in my womb had I not lost her older sibling. It's hard to tell what, or who, I long for most; and I think that's because overall I long for Heaven. I long for a place where there is no such thing as miscarriage, grief, tears, and sorrow. What a day that will be!