Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How I'm Doing, Really

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It's been nearly six months since I held my daughter in my arms for the first and last time.

How am I doing?  The truth is that I have no idea.

People ask me how I'm doing, and how our rainbow baby is doing, all the time.  They do this out of love, and I am grateful that they ask.  But I feel frustrated, because I just don't know, and don't know how to answer.

But there are some things that I do know.

I know that becoming pregnant again less than three months after our first baby died and was born has halted my grief.  I am shut down emotionally.  I expect that when our second baby is born, the terrible emotions of grief will rise again.  I think that I am looking forward to this, because feeling nothing is even more terrible.

I know that being pregnant again so soon after Eve's stillbirth is scary.  This week I have begun to wonder if our rainbow baby will be our last living biological child, because I don't know if I have the courage to go through a third pregnancy.

I know that I am dreading Mother's Day.  This is not because of the day itself, but because of the deep and painful questions that I am grappling with going into Mother's Day.  It is my first Mother's Day as a mother, and my child is dead.  So who or what am I now?

I know that it is hard to do anything.  Every task is overwhelming, even ones I found enjoyable before.  I just want to go to sleep and not wake up until I feel like a real person again.

I know that I love my children, both the daughter more alive in Christ than I am and the tiny little one growing within me.  I know that grief is a product of love, and even though grief is hard, it does not make me afraid to love recklessly.

I know that I am exhausted.  All I want to do is rest, and yet when I finally slide beneath the bed covers at night, sleep eludes me. 

I know that every night, I remember.  Once the lights go out, the memories of Eve's labor and birth wash over me.  I remember what it felt like as she made her way out of me, and how devastatingly alone and empty I felt when they took her away to clean and clothe her.  I remember how I sobbed when my husband showed me our daughter's body.  I remember the purse of her lips, the smoothness of her cheeks, the dark curls of her hair.

I know that I am loved by the Great Lover of our souls.  I know that I am not forgotten, even when I feel forgotten.  I know that I am held, even though it feels like I have plunged off a cliff and will be falling forever.

I know that death is not the end of our stories, for those that make their home in Jesus.  I know that He longs for us all to come Home.  I know that I will meet my daughter again in His heart.

I know that I am alive, that I am surviving, even if I don't want to be, even if I don't know how that can be.  I am here, I am breathing, there is life and Life within.  I am not yet finished.

How are you doing, really?

Linking up with...

22 comments:

  1. Alive, surviving, not yet finished - these are all good things. I hope that on Sunday, your first Mother's Day, that you celebrate. Celebrate you, Beth. Because you are a mother. A beautiful mother. A wonderful mother. Remember Eve, the daughter who made you a mother, and think about holding your second child in your arms because that's an awesome thing - but celebrate YOU. You ARE a mother. Right now. To Eve AND your rainbow baby. Two children is how many you have. One with your Lord and one inside you. Being happy to be a mother doesn't lessen your sadness over Eve's death. So, on Sunday, on Mother's Day - I hope you can take at least a little while and just celebrate you.

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    1. Thank you, Goog. Thank you and thank you and thank you. Your sweet words made me cry, but they are not bad tears. Thank you. Biggest hugs.

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  2. beautiful post beth, you articulate this journey so well. thank you for telling us how you are really and for asking too. not many people ask me that anymore, almost 9 months later. most have forgotten or moved on, or think i am or should be "back to normal." i feel like life is illuminated in all aspects. i feel sorrow deeper and i feel joy stronger, those elucid moments of joy that happen in between the grief. i feel guilt and grief and loneliness but i also feel hope and joy and gratitude. we are beautiful mothers, given tremendous gifts - the opportunity to feel the depth of our love for our children. they have changed us forever, in ways we will continue to discover.

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    1. You said, "i feel like life is illuminated in all aspects." That is just perfect! I agree completely. ALL things are so much more intense -- pain as well as beauty and joy. It's quite amazing.

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  3. I could relate to a lot of your thoughts. I too became pregnant with my rainbow 3 months after my son died. In fact, my rainbow was due the day my son died (I always go super late and she came early & was born on his 1st birthday). I really really struggled during my pregnancy with my emotions....fear, the grief, etc. Like you said, I think some of my grief got pushed aside until after I had her. I am 21 months into my grief journey and I still have "those days" at times.

    I also want to agree with Goog, you are a mother to 2 precious blessing and deserve to be celebrated on Sunday, though I understand the emotions of not having Eve here to celebrate your first Mother's day. Huge {{hugs}} and prayers.

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    1. Thanks, Jenn. It makes me feel better to know that I'm not alone in having my grief pushed off by this rainbow's pregnancy.

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  4. Speaking as a mama of her own angel and now rainbow baby, and also as a certified professional counselor, I can tell you that there is absolutely a light awaiting you... I agree with all the posts above that you should celebrate as you are a mother! You will have your opportunity to grieve, when you are ready to face it with an open heart and with support and God's grace. Hugs to you. <3

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  5. Beth, this is a beautiful, honest post. I appreciate how you articulate how the question we (as a culture) have turned into a non-question (because, even though it's asked, how many people listen to the honesty when it's truly answered?) and allowed yourself this space and us the honor of witnessing with you.

    Thank you.

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  6. Last year was my first Mother's Day. My baby had died 16 weeks earlier. It was a day that I had been so looking forward to. 40 years old, 1st baby, 1st Mother's Day. Then boom, SIDS. It was, and honestly still is, so hard to answer the how are you question. I still don't have a good answer, so I usually say ok. It is exhausting being "ok". Be gentle with yourself. Grieving is hard work. Praying for you

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    1. Thank you, Jamie. You said it exactly right -- that it's exhausting being okay. Hugs.

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  7. I love this post Beth, most of the time I do not know how I am doing. People ask but I feel like they do not want the truth, they want to hear I'm better or I'm fine. I don't enjoy thing either, I feel numb and like I just go through the motions. I know it is so unfair to my living children. I can not imagine how hard it would be to lose your first then be pregnant again. I am saying lots of prayers for you I know mothers day will be hard for you because it will be hard for me and I have little ones. Just know that you are a wonderful mommy, Eve loves you and is rejoicing that you are her mommy. You really honor her life so well. I will be praying for you.

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    1. Oh my goodness. Tesha, I feel just about exactly the same way. Thank you. Big hugs.

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  8. I was looking at cooking blogs to follow and came across yours. What a powerful first post to read. A very personal introduction to your life. This is worlds away from anything I've ever been through, but my heart aches for you. My relationship with the kind lover of souls you speak of is not like yours, but I send you so so many happy thoughts and positive energy because you are seriously a very strong woman. I look forward to reading more of your posts and wish you the best.

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    1. Thank you so much, Bee! I really appreciate that you took the time to leave a sweet note, even though this blog is not exactly what you were looking for. Big hugs. p.s. I do have some recipes on here! ;)

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  9. Beth,
    As difficult as Mother's Day is going to be for you - you are Eve's Mommy and it is your day to celebrate her gift. I wish you a moment of peace to escape on Sunday to remember what an amazing woman you are. Much love to you ♥

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    1. thank you so much, April. big hugs.

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  10. Hi Beth,

    Thanks for being open. I dislike the question too. I usually just say "OK" and try to get away as fast as I can. If I have to really start explaining, I just cry and then really have to get away.

    Hugs to you. Try not to expect that you will feel a certain way. It is ok to stay in that "I have no idea" place...that is the "God has it, let Him have the idea" place I think.

    Love you

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    1. love you, friend. I think about you all the time.

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  11. I know it depends on who's asking for me. Even 2+ years out, I know who is just filling time with a stupid question, or who really wants to know my heart. Of course there are those who want to "know" but only to give you advice on why you aren't healing fast enough...meh. I think it sounds like your time frame and how you are doing is normal, and uniquely you. Don't rush or feel you have to be something. Wishing you as peaceful a weekend as possible - it's a tough one, but you, Eve and your newest one are thought of.

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"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King