On the morning we saw those two pink lines indicating that we were parents to another little life, we were floored. Excitement, hope, and dreams of the future were only slightly marred by the memory of 9 months earlier and our previous, traumatic loss.
After getting that positive, Dan and I were sitting together, smiling at one another every few minutes, and I remember saying to him… “even if we lose this baby too, isn’t it amazing that God entrusted us with another life? That He created another child, another soul for us to be parents of?”
“Yes, and we can’t forget that.” Dan said.
But I do forget it sometimes. I forget the blessing because the pain hurts so much. I am at the same time grateful but also angry. Life is never black and white, cut and dry, one or the other. It’s so often a both/and. I think wrestling with the two sides is part of what helps us grow up. To live with the tug-of-war existing within you is to learn maturity.
Going through this at Christmas has felt like salt on the wound. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I love everything about it. But this year it all felt cruel. I wanted to dive into it all but my joy couldn’t be full. My heart wasn’t present. Everyone says they feel angry that the world goes on as normal when you suffer a loss and it’s true, it feels mean. But Christmas… Christmas going on as normal feels even worse.
At the Mass on Christmas day, the priest spoke of the birth of Jesus and asked the question, “what changed with his birth?” Because if you look around there’s still pain, hunger, death, war… all these horrible things. If God came to earth then why is earth still hurting so much? He said the answer is that God didn’t come to fix all our problems, that would require removing humans’ free will and making us robots. No, instead He simply came to be with us in the midst of the mess. The reason Christians can live differently is that we believe God is with us. He is here, the Kingdom of God is now. We can live in the life of grace because God brought salvation and forgiveness of sin and redeemed the human race. He is here.
It’s a both/and. The world sucks and is painful and sometimes we lose the ones we love… and God is here, He is with us, He knows our pain. I am both grateful to be the mommy to two little souls and also my heart is shattered. I love Christmas and Christmas is a hurtful memory for 2017. I feel angry and I feel nothing, a numbness associated with grief.
There are so many layers. It’s so complicated to be human. This is why I constantly remind myself, and I beg you too, to be compassionate. You just never know what someone is going through. Every friendly retail worker this year helped me get through my day by smiling at me and wishing me a happy holidays. And they don’t even know it. You will never know how your smile, or a kind word will affect another person. We are all going through so much.
And yet, would we choose any different? I don’t know. I keep thinking about that. If I had known I was going to lose this baby too, would I have wished he or she didn’t exist? You know that kind of annoying song, “Mary, did you know?” that Catholics love to split theological hairs over? It hit me this year, whether she did or did not know the suffering her son would endure… would she have changed anything? Would she have said “no” to the Angel Gabriel asking her to carry this child into the world?
I don’t think so. I think regardless of the fears amidst the hope and dreams for her little family, she was unhesitant in her yes. It was a both/and — the anxiety of the unknown and the joy of being a mother.
I know what that feels like. Everytime we take the risk to become parents, we risk our whole hearts. A new child means my heart grows to another level I didn’t know existed. It expands to make room for another, to give all my love to another. And yet, the risk is that the one you love will break your heart. They could leave, they could die, they could shatter you.
And yet, it is always worth it. I wouldn’t have said no to being this baby’s mommy. I wanted this little boy or girl regardless of what would happen. “Isn’t is amazing that God entrusted us with another life?” I said to Dan the first day we knew of our child’s existence. And it continues to be amazing. And to be the source of our heartbreak. Both/and. I’m learning to be okay with that tug-of-war. It’s part of the human experience.
You Are Enough
Don’t ever forget that okay? You are beautiful and precious and deserve good things — and I can’t tell you that enough! Look I even dedicated a side-bar-box-thing to it. God has a plan and a purpose for your life and He died and rose again because He wants to spend forever with you! Okay, read on. Important reminder over.
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“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:14
Don’t be fooled about my productivity though. When I say my “most pressing things” I’m talking about nesting. Which is a very. real. thing.
I’m very grateful… I tell myself as lunch burns it’s way back up my esophagus and I pop another Tums. Hoping the daily limit on those is more of a gentle suggestion than a rule.
Since the place holds so much magic for us, I knew I wanted to take pregnancy announcement photos at Disneyland