Friday, February 27, 2009

Not just hope, but having faith

I don't believe that it's enough for me to "hope" that God has a plan for my life. That sounds too much like I'm making some random wish. I need to have faith in the promise that through seeking his will, he will reveal his purpose and plan for my life. It's so easy to get caught up in telling God what you want (and getting angry when he doesn't give it to you) instead of asking him what he wants. But it's so much easier said than done. 

I confess that I had a bit of a temper tantrum this weekend and for the first time in 6 months, I did not go to church on Sunday. I was angry with God and I was going to let him know. The pain of losing Robert hit me harder than it had in months and I could not understand how God could let this happen to me? And even worse, why it still has to hurt like this? But then I remembered Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." He doesn't want us to labor over trying to figure this out; he wants us to know that he's already got it covered. Within my finite reasoning, there are so many things that I can not and will not fully understand. Within his infinite love and plan for my life, I don't have to. Isn't that an amazing promise?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hebrews 11:1

Three types of people

In the last six months, I've come to the conclusion that I know three types of people since we lost Robert. First, there are those who've experienced this kind of loss and have nothing but love and support for me and for our family. They ask me how I'm doing (even six months out --- what a novel idea), they tell me that they're praying for me, they ask me about my son. Next, there are those who've not experienced a loss, but they desperately want to love us and to understand as best they can. They also ask me how I'm doing and admit that even though they don't know what it's like, they still care about me and what my family has experienced. And last, there are those who've not had a loss and just can't handle my loss. They show neither compassion nor friendship. They avoid me like the plague or even worse, just pretend that it never happened. I believe this to be the ultimate in selfishness. Or beyond comprehension, they actually blame me for what happened or say that I deserve what happened to me, that it's no wonder I lost my son. I know, it's hard to believe that these types of people even exist, but unfortunately, I have heard it all.

So to my friends and family who fit in the first two, I am grateful everyday for your love and support. I feel your prayers and love, and it has made a difference in my life. As for the third (and there are a few of them), I can only pray to God that this pain never touches your life. I'm not angry anymore, but I have moved on.

TTC and other stuff

With hope and fear, we are TTC again. We're on our third cycle, which is actually a  first for us (with Mason it was only one and with Robert, a matter of a few weeks). Waiting is one of the hardest parts of all of this. And then there's that disappointment when there's no BFP and only AF. Almost feels like insult to injury; to have a child die and to not get pregnant again. You can't help but to wonder "why me?". Even after all the tests came back and we were told that we'll definitely get pregnant again, I can't help but to wonder if there is something wrong with me. I know it probably sounds ridiculous, but I still can't help but to blame myself in small way for what happened; after all, it was my body that couldn't give him what he needed. 

It's also frustrating that my cycles have been so crazy since I delivered Robert last August. I'm so tempted to test, but I'm scared of being disappointed once again. So I just wait until AF arrives, then it's back to square one. At least it's fun trying.

I know that so much of this comes down to control. I want to try to control something that is not up to me, but up to God and his planning and timing. It is definitely the hardest lesson that I've learned so far: God is in control; I am not.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Today was the first time in months that I looked at Robert's pictures. I've had them tucked away in the special bag that I was given at the hospital, along with his baby blanket and other mementos. When we were in the moment, I didn't want photos. Now I regret not having more. Even without them, I can still see him perfectly in my mind. Although I was almost 5 months pregnant at the time of his death, he was weeks behind in growth. I'm truly amazed that he made it for as long as he did. He was so tiny but so perfect. In the scheme of how many babies are born every year, there are very few parents that have the chance to see their baby when they are only in the second trimester. It was truly such a miracle to see all of him, from his cute little ears and nose, all the way down to his sweet baby toes. Truly unbelievable. God is truly unbelievable. 

20 Things parents of angels wish you would remember

I recently came across this. I love that it's so succinct in summing up how this whole journey feels. Although I relate to all of these, I've made bold the ones that really say it for me.
  1. I wish you would not be afraid to mention my baby. The truth is just because you never say my baby doesn't mean he doesn't deserve your recognition.
  2. I wish that if we did talk about my baby and I cried you didn't think it was because you have hurt me by mentioning him. The truth is I need to cry and talk about my baby with you. Crying and emotional outbursts help me heal.
  3. I wish that you could talk about my baby more than once. The truth is if you do, it reassures me that you haven't forgotten him and that you do care and understand.
  4. I wish you wouldn't think that I don't want to talk about my baby. The truth is that I love my baby and need to talk about him.
  5. I wish you could tell me you are sorry my baby has died and that you are thinking of me. The truth is it tells me you care. 
  6. I wish you wouldn't think what has happened is one big bad memory for me. The truth is the memory of my baby, the love I feel for my baby, the dreams I had and the memories I have created for my baby are all loving memories. Yes, there are bad memories too but please understand that it's not all like that.
  7. I wish you wouldn't pretend that my baby never existed. The truth is we both know I had a baby growing inside of me.
  8. I wish you wouldn't judge me because I am not acting the way you think I should be. The truth is grief is a very personal thing and we are all different people who deal with things differently. 
  9. I wish you wouldn't think if I have a good day I'm "over it" or if I have a bad day I am being unreasonable because you think I should be over it. The truth is there is no "normal" way for me to act. 
  10. I wish you wouldn't stay away from me. The truth is losing my baby doesn't mean I'm contagious. By staying away you make me feel isolated, confused and like it's my fault.
  11. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be "over and done with" in a few weeks, months, or years for that matter. The truth is that it may get easier with time but I will never be "over this".
  12. I wish you wouldn't think that my baby wasn't a real baby and it was blood and tissue or a fetus.  The truth is my baby was a human life. He had a soul, heart, body, legs, arms and face. I have seen my baby's body and face. My baby was a real person.
  13. My babies due date, Mothers Day, celebration times, the day my baby died and the day my baby was delivered are all important and sad days for me. The truth is I wish you could tell me by words or by letter you are thinking of me on these days.
  14. I wish you would understand that losing my baby has changed me. The truth is I am not the same person I was before and will never be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to get back to "normal" you will stay frustrated. I am a new person with new thoughts, dreams, beliefs and values. Please try to get to know the real me --- maybe you'll still like me.
  15. I wish you wouldn't tell me to have another baby. The truth is that I want the baby I lost and no other baby can replace him. Babies aren't interchangeable. 
  16. I wish you wouldn't feel awkward or uncomfortable talking about my baby or being near me. When you do, I can see it. The truth is it's not fair to make me feel uncomfortable just because you do.
  17. I wish you wouldn't think that you'll keep away because all my friends and family will be there for me. The truth is, everyone thinks the same thing and I am often left with no one.
  18. I wish you would understand that being around pregnant women is uncomfortable for me.
  19. I wish you wouldn't say that it's natures way of telling me something was wrong with my baby. The truth is my baby was perfect to me no matter what you think nature is saying.
  20. I wish you would understand that what you are really saying when you say "next time things will be okay". The truth is how do you know? What will you say it it happens to me again.

Not ready until now...

And even at that, I'm going to take this slow. I've become very aware at how many moms blog to work through the grief of losing a child. I know that I will never forget Robert, but I have hope that God will help me to manage his loss.

It was six months ago this weekend that we learned that our sweet Robert was gone. Grief is a funny thing (but not in the "funny ha-ha" sense). I couldn't possibly have planned for a loss like this, so I had no idea how it would feel to be here. Even six months later, I grapple with the "why's" on a daily basis. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about what I've lost, about how my life would be different with him here. About how our family would be different. But losing Robert has also made me acutely aware of all that I do have, of just how blessed I really am. 

I praise God everyday that my marriage has not only survived losing Robert, but that it has thrived. I feel closer to Bob than I ever have. We made a very deliberate decision while I was even still recovering in the hospital that with God's help, we would make this journey together. That's not to say that we haven't grieved differently and separately at times. It was always very important that Bob recognize and work through the grief just as much as I am. After all, losing Robert happened to him as well. 

And then there's my beautiful boy, Mason. Though too young to fully comprehend the death of his brother, so aware that something is different. Ironically enough, I was sitting with Mason on Saturday evening, reading books before bedtime, when he looks at me and asks, "Mommy, why don't you have a baby in your belly anymore? Don't you like babies anymore?" As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I told him once again that he went to be with Jesus but that we'll have another baby again. He innocently continued reading with me while meanwhile, I felt crushed. I know that there'll be days like these.