days 13 & 14 – regrets + triggers, express your heart

regrets

IMG_1547

i try not to have them. but inevitably a few remain. i wish i had:

not waited even one second to try to have kids. not listened when my doctor told me “you’re young, it will be fine, you have time.” been an advocate for myself sooner. researched more. worried less. paid more attention to amazing son, in those times when i was too wrapped up in my own issues to see him growing up fast. thanked amazing husband more… for everything, really.

triggers

i can’t put a picture here to represent the triggers. no single picture could include the world and all it’s triggers, both as obvious as the pregnant bellies around me to as subtle as a butterfly that crosses my path. i am surprised on a daily basis, just how many things trigger my grief… trigger memories of my babies, the physical experience of losing them from my body, emotions i felt, emotions i am feeling now. how do you disassociate these common triggers and the raw punch-in-the-gut, time and time again? i don’t know how to do that.

express your heart

“for all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.”

-john greenleaf whittier

#captureyourgrief

day 15 – wave of light & babyloss awareness day

wave-of-light1

today is babyloss awareness day

today we honor and acknowledge those precious lives lost too soon by initiating a    Wave of Light.

everyone around the world is invited to light a candle at 7pm in their time zone.

 keep it lit for one hour and you will be part of a continuous wave of light that will flow over the entire earth.

with a heavy heart i light my candle for my 5 angel babies, as well as for all the others who were taken before they began.

#captureyourgrief

days 11 & 12 – glow in the woods, normalizing grief

glow in the woods.

light peeks through the thick canopy that threatens darkness from above.

it breaks through the hurt, shining light and warmth to expose the beauty below.

Crepuscular_rays_in_the_woods_of_Kasterlee,_Belgium

but is there beauty below?

what is left to illuminate but the cold ground. a worn path. empty soil.

the light shines in. exposes it for what it really is.

a chance to grow again.

“normalize grief.” what does that even mean?  bring it back to a usual or expected state or condition. i think this means to incorporate it on a regular basis, to lessen the magnitude of saving it up, boxing it away, waiting for it to implode… instead deal with it day by day. this 31 day focus is helping me do just that. talking to you about it helps me make my grief a little more bearable. hiding it only feeds the hurt. so thank you, for listening…

day 10 – words

seven_script_quotes_ps_brushes_by_russdepress-d7dpc65

words. they are thoughts, ideas, and feelings that move from within our lungs, rise into our mouths and float weightlessly in the air. ironically, they carry immeasurable weight. they are heavy with meaning. words are far more powerful than you may realize. they have started wars. built new countries. destroyed marriages. they can convey undying love from across the world. forge friendships. honor lives lost. build bridges. the problem with words, is that many people forget their heaviness, the intended and unintended meaning that travels with them. this happens because they are not involving the brain in the process. words, as harmless as you may intend them, can be a knife to the heart. i will always remember these words as i walked my journey with loss and infertility, these words that had clearly made a left off the path to the brain.

“when are you guys going to have another?”

“you don’t want to wait too long!”

“he needs a sister already.”

incidentally, these phrases still assault me today from nosy strangers. since when is my sex life or reproductive habits or family planning decisions any of your business? one of my friends who struggled to have her first child used to tell people “well, we are trying every damn day!” with an awkward laugh… i used to tell people with a blank stare “i’ll have another baby when they stop dying in my uterus.” that would shut them up pretty quickly. what? it’s their fault for sticking their nose where it most certainly doesn’t belong.

i remember these words after telling people i lost a baby…

“it wasn’t meant to be”

“it’s better this way, clearly there was a problem”

“it’s so much better you lost it early rather than late”

“don’t worry, you’ll have another”

wow. just wow. minimizing the fact that i lost a future child makes me feel so much better. you’re right, this child is totally replaceable. i didn’t want to have and love THIS baby. next time your loved one dies i’ll be sure to tell you “it wasn’t meant to be” or “don’t worry, you’ll have another dad.” oh wait, you won’t, that’s right. and i will never have that baby either. just because my baby did not live long enough to take a breath does not make it unworthy of the same grief and sympathy you would give to one who had put his feet on this soil. words can hurt. regardless of the best of intentions behind them.

the truth of the matter is this… most people just don’t know the right words to say, when it comes to loss. infant or adult loss, there is really no difference. people get all weird and uncomfortable and feel like they have to say SOMETHING, and oftentimes verbal diarrhea spews out of their mouths. let me let you in on a little secret… there are no “right” words to say. the only words that are appropriate are “i am sorry” and “how can i support you?” i have been so blessed to still have my parents alive on this earth, but one of my best friends lost her dad years ago and i will never forget what she told me following his death. she was incredibly hurt when people would say to her “he’s in a better place now.” in her time of sorrow, platitudes and cliches made her feel even worse.

so please, the next time you want to know when Fertile Myrtle is going to have her 8th baby or Barren Betty her 1st, please hold your tongue and think about your words. it truly is NONE of your business after all, but more importantly, your words may twist a knife that is already piercing her heart.

#captureyourgrief

(i apologize for the lateness of this post, [again], i’m playing catch up. let’s just say i had one helluva week and am just now able to rejoin the living world. i would have grouped this post with other challenge days, but this one deserved it’s very own dedication.)

days 8 & 9 – wish list, family

wish list

IMG_1447

well let’s see. it’s pretty slim these days. if you asked me 10 years ago what was on my wish list it would go a little something like this:

  1. win the lotto. duh.
  2. meet the man of my dreams (which at the time i knew had to be amazing husband, i just couldn’t figure out how to make HIM see that)
  3. marry said man of my dreams
  4. have 3 kids (twins and a singleton, i had this sh*t planned out), white picket fence, blah blah blah. (on a side note, why the hell was i hoping for twins? 25 year old me was stupid. 35 year old me, after having a single child, can’t imagine doing all that and then doubled at the same time. MoMs you have my utmost respect)
  5. travel the world (this is how stupid i was, thinking i could travel the world with 3 kids in tow)

25 year old me was dumb. i wasn’t even thinking of going to nursing school. no idea what i wanted to do with my life. but i did have a bit of sense… i knew clear as day that amazing husband was someone important in my life, and that i saw myself surrounded with children. i could let go of the fence. i prefer natural wood color anyway. 

here we are today. 35 year old me has whittled my wish list down to the most important things.

  1. the first of which is still to win the lotto. seriously, like that would change? 
  2. spend time with my family.

family

there is nothing more important than those i love the most. the time with them is opportunity to love on them more, a gift… something to seize and never let go. and it is fleeting. i feel like the day (or week, or month) evaporates in the blink of an eye. i turn around one day and standing before me is this little boy, my baby long gone. the calendar pages flip faster and faster… hey there, it’s nearly christmas already. again. didn’t we JUST celebrate christmas?   there is never “enough time.” not enough in one day, or one week… the months and years fly by and soon enough you are sending him to kindergarten. high school. college. i just can’t even.

as much as i know i can’t slow down time, i will still wish for more of it. and for time gone by. i wish i had spent more time holding his little baby body tight. definitely more hugs. more nights rocking him to sleep, so i could study his perfect little nose. listen intently to his coos, commit them to memory. i wish with all my heart i could wake up surrounded by every single one of my babies. i wish i was not meant to feel this level of pain. time and time and time and time and time again. i wish no one had to suffer this grief. i wish i had answers. not that the answers would lessen the pain, because they wouldn’t. but perhaps answers would help me find closure, or guide my feet to walk a direct path. instead i wander about, lost in the limbo, trying desperately to grow my family. and heal the brokenness within me. the dictionary tells me to wish is to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

thanks, webster.

#captureyourgrief

days 5 – 7 empathy, books, memory

yes i’m posting three days’ worth in one post. no i’m not that lazy. i decided to group these three days together because they are so very much related to one another. today i capture my grief by revisiting a book. a book of fond memories. one in which i hardly recognize the girl in the pictures. 
 
this book. allllllll the feels. at the time when i was documenting my rainbow baby journey, i would occasionally get an eye roll from amazing husband as i slapped yet another sticker on my ever-expanding belly. “take my picture!” i would say earnestly. it was such a thrill to collect these moments, and be able to place them in a keepsake. and at the time i thought maybe one day i’d want to look back,… reminisce. little did i realize i would open this book at the strangest of times… 3AM when i couldn’t sleep. that one afternoon after coming home from the hospital, empty-handed that time. this book of memories has brought tears of joy and also of sadness.

this book, and today’s “challenge,” make me contemplate empathy. empathy for the bereaved mother. let us not confuse empathy for sympathy, the latter of which is essentially pity or all the sad feels for her. empathy, more importantly, is the ability to understand AND SHARE her situation. her feelings. her grief. but i cannot expect empathy from those who have never walked in my shoes. what i can do, however, is share my story and help those more fortunate to understand the bereaved mother. help them begin to share her feelings through learning the process of loss and grief and healing. i encourage you to try to avoid sympathy for my situation and instead try to empathize with my struggle. thank you for walking this journey with me 💔

#captureyourgrief

day 4 -dark + light


the dark is always threatening to swallow up the light. the grief.

or despite the odds, is the light piercing through the shadow.

that my friends, is the rub.

if there is room for light i cannot succumb to the darkness. and yet in the darkness i connect more closely to my loves lost. this rub hurts. i learn (over and over) things are never black white in this world, simply  varying shades of grey. the in-between between dark +light,… between here and there. the nothing between everything.  but the rub.

i long for black and white.