Friday, August 29, 2014

Feeling is Healing

Obviously the pain of losing a child is unbearable, and as we approach new milestones I find that it's getting more difficult. Emotions I never knew I could experience continue to confuse me and beat me up. It's a battle of the wills to manage the flood of feelings I experience on a daily basis. 

One month ago today I birthed my beautiful baby girl.  Instead of dressing her in her "1 month" onesie and taking the obligatory picture of her next to an oversized stuffed animal or on a favorite piece of furniture, I find myself clutching and empty blanket - taking in as much of her smell as I can.  I close my eyes and take myself back to that day - the softness of her skin, the wrinkles in her feet, her chubby little cheeks. It's already been a full month - and all I have are memories.

At a recent Reiki appointment I was told that feeling equals healing. I thought I'd try and get out some of those feelings so that those of you who talk to me on a regular basis may better understand why I am the way I am.  These are some of the thoughts that cross my mind every single day.

I'm mad.

I'm mad that my life will never be the same. 
I'm mad that my husband and I have to navigate different emotions and need things at different times. 
I'm mad that no one truly understands this- even parents who have been there, as we all handle this differently.
I'm mad that God let me carry a baby for 39 weeks and 6 days, experience 15 hours of labor only to take her from me so soon. 
I'm mad that I'm mad at God.

I'm sad.

I'm sad that I've cried every day for the last month and that sadness will continue for a length of time that I can't comprehend.
I'm sad that I can't accept an invitation with friends to do normal things like go to the zoo or to a park because I'm fearful of breaking down at the sight of other babies and children who will remind me of my loss. 
I'm sad that my relationships will never be the same. 
I'm sad that people don't know what to do or say and that they feel badly because they can't help. 
I'm sad that "normal" things like watching a television show with a baby in it will make me cry.
I'm sad that I never got to hear her cry or be able to hear her call me mama. 
I'm sad that I don't get to see my husband interact with our daughter. 
I'm sad that our mothers don't get the opportunity to have a relationship with our daughter the way I had with my grandmothers. 
I'm sad that we have to talk about Olive in the past tense. 
I'm sad that I didn't get the true birth experience that I wanted.
I'm sad that the only outfit I ever bought for my daughter was one she would wear for her funeral. 
I'm sad that I will never know if she would have curly hair, blue eyes or a stubborn personality. 
I'm sad that all of the hopes and dreams we had for her will never come true.

I'm confused.

I'm confused by my physical body and how some days it can't figure out that there is no baby and other days it seems as if it never knew she was there. 
I'm confused by my brain and how it allows me to feel guilty for smiling or laughing or feeling happy, and then immediately turns that guilt to sadness.
I'm confused about what to do with all of these baby items that sit behind a closed door in our home.
I'm confused at how and why this happens to anyone at all. 
I'm confused by the realm of heaven and that I don't truly know where my girl is or what she is experiencing at this very moment.

I'm fearful.

I'm fearful of the first time I am asked if I have children.
I'm fearful of what tomorrow, next week and next year will bring. 
I'm fearful of returning to work. 
I'm fearful that I'll never have more children. 
I'm fearful of getting pregnant again. 
I'm fearful of having another child only to lose that one too.

I'm hopeful.

I'm hopeful that her memory will live on because I make sure she is talked about, loved and remembered. 
I'm hopeful for happier days - even if those days seem far away. 
I'm hopeful that I'll be able to pray for myself again someday. 
I'm hopeful that I'll be reunited with her in heaven.

I'm thankful.

I'm thankful that, one month ago, you all stopped what you were doing and took time to pray for our baby girl.
I'm thankful that you continue to pray for us and our families.
I'm thankful for the messages, cards and remembrances that flood our phone, email and mailbox.
I'm thankful for the offers to help, even though I haven't (and probably won't) take you up on those offers.
I'm thankful for the voicemails, since I rarely answer the phone, that are left to let us know that you're thinking about us.
I'm thankful that through all of the hurt and pain, YOU showed me just how much good there was in the world.
I'm thankful when you speak her name, Olive, letting me know you honor her and remember that she existed and still exists in our hearts.
I'm thankful that butterflies and ice cream cones will never be taken for granted.
I'm thankful that you hug your babes tighter because of ours.
I'm thankful when you tell me that you are taking time to appreciate the small things like a flower or the way the sun is shining.
I'm thankful that more people are talking to God.
I'm thankful that Olive was a member of God's family.
I'm thankful that Olive made me a mother and that I was specifically chosen to be hers.
I'm thankful for my husband and his patience as we endure this roller coaster together.
I'm thankful that she didn't suffer.

As difficult as the days are, I recognize that for every feeling of anger, sadness or confusion there are many more things to be hopeful and thankful for.  I know life will never get "easier" but do believe that one day the hurt will hurt a little less, and the tears will begin to come every other day, then weekly, monthly and as we pass certain milestones. 

Until then I will allow myself to feel whatever it is I'm feeling, and just be.

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