I have cried over the most ridiculous things this weekend. Yesterday it was after failing at my attempt to make dippy eggs (which I don't even think I'm "allowed" to eat, but was craving them.) Today, Joel and I severely overslept and I was rushing around getting ready and after the fourth attempt to put on a very complicated maternity top (don't ask, don't judge, just believe me), I lost it. Like, bawling crying, yelling for Kyle to just leave and go without me. He came upstairs and laughed his face off. Which really put things in perspective for me and we both ended up laughing as he literally dressed me.
We spent the morning taking a drive into the mountains of PA, listening to amazing worship music, stopping to eat lunch at Red Lobster, and then headed over to Gabe's gravesite. It felt so good to clean off his stone, bring him his baby blue wind toy, and place the newly purchased solar lights around his angel. Joel was excited to go visit his brother; he loves to check out all the decorations in Angel Land, where the babies are buried.
I came home and decided to skim through "Choosing to See," by Mary Beth Chapman, and highlight some of the things I really loved about the book...
On depression, "It's a journey. I recognize the dark tides that can push and pull me to places I don't want to go. So I anchor myself to the One who can take me where I do want to go."
On control issues, she refers to herself "as the unofficial fourth member of the Trinity." LOVE THAT.
On what her husband said to the crowd of friends who had gathered at the hospital, upon realizing their daughter was gone, "As crazy as this seems right now...the only thing I can say to honor the life of my little girl and our terrible loss at this moment is to ask you, please don't miss this...we will all stand here one day and face eternity. If you don't know the One who can give you eternal life, His name is Jesus... you need to meet Him and you really need to meet my little girl in heaven... she's amazing."
An amazing quote by C.S. Lewis, "We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
On honoring Maria, "Our whole family had come barefoot to Maria's service. It was our way of honoring her and proclaiming that we were on holy ground." I think we will do this for all of Gabriel's angelversaries, love this idea...
On how her husband grieved, "Steven was alone in the house. He took an extension cord and a pair of electric hair clippers out to the driveway, and buzzed his hair at the accident spot. In that time of deep grieving, the thought of just continuing on like normal, fixing his hair each morning, seemed like a travesty. He felt like Job; he wanted to do something as a visual representation of his mourning, like tearing his clothes or shearing his head." One of the most emotional parts of the book for me...
On comparing herself to Mary, mother of Jesus, "I wonder what it was like for Mary after her son's death. I know she saw him resurrected and was certain of the fact that she would see him again, but she was still His mom. Mary found favor with God; therefore, she was chosen to be Jesus' mom. But because God favored Mary, she was also chosen to suffer...She was chosen to carry a baby in her womb...She was human, she had a baby, and she raised that baby with the heaviness that she was to see Him suffer and thus she too would suffer." Reading this gave me huge understanding of my role in Gabe's birth and death. I'm forever grateful for the insight.
Spending time visiting Gabriel, thinking about him, and reading about someone else's loss has helped me to feel more grounded today. I knew that being pregnant again would bring up my grief, my profound loss of my precious baby - but taking the time to face these emotions head on has proven to be a worthwhile step.
Just think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven
Of touching a hand, and finding it God's
Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial
Of waking up in Glory, and finding it "Home".
First of all, I know I've already blogged about this. But, obviously it is still a sore spot for me so I'm blogging about it again in hopes that I will have some clarity on the subject. It's the question moms and dads have to answer often and I haven't come up with the best answer for it yet. But, I will.
"How many kids do you have?"
I know what I don't want to say. If I can get mad at someone close to me for saying - "I can't believe you're about to have your second child!" when infact this is my THIRD child, because this means THEY are denying my son, then I can NEVER deny my son. Not to the MaryKay lady, not to the bagger at the grocery store, not at a playdate or a mom's group.
So yesterday I am at a group and, because we have new people coming so often now, we were asked to introduce ourselves and say how many kids we have. In the past I have had a few moments to prepare, but yesterday it was my turn right after the facilitator had her turn.
I said, outloud, "I hate this question! I never know what to say!"
I continued, "Three! I have Joel - a toddler, I'm pregnant, and I have one in Heaven."
The girl next to me said, so compassionately, "Did you have a miscarriage?"
I wanted to scream or cry or hit something. "No, he was fullterm."
She continues, "Oh, that's stillborn, then!"
"Um, he was born alive," I mumbled...
"That's even worse!" she continued... but I didnt' hear much else...
As upset as I was over this little interaction, I still knew that I couldn't share it with just anybody. Only people who have been in my shoes, or have a great heart of compassion, will understand why this was upsetting to me. So, if you don't get it, just know that you're not alone.
A dear friend of mine said it well - If my loss is a big enough deal to me that I am going to mention it to you, it is not necessary for you to catagorize my loss.
In the past when this question arose and I only mentioned Joel, I felt terrible afterwards. As much as I don't want a total stranger to feel sorry for me, or to make the focus of a group all about me during a simply introduction, I CANNOT deny Gabriel as my son. He was not a miscarriage. I have had a miscarraige and NEVER feel the need to tell people about it. I have not named that child. I don't think of that loss like I think about Gabe. And I even feel guilt about that when I hear other women talk about their miscarried baby by name. But, I guess for me, the loss of Gabriel was so significant that the miscarriage was so different, so insignificant, in comparison. For others, a miscarriage may be the toughest thing they have to go through.
In the past, I have tried to chose my words carefully by saying Joel's not my only one, without coming out and saying that I lost my other son. Things like, "I have one child with me" or "I have one child at home." Not only does it make me feel like I'm confessing my other child was taken from me by the state, it just isn't cutting it.
Another friend of mine, who is very pregnant with her rainbow baby and is often asked if this is her first, will respond by simply saying "no" and if she is asked how old her first is, she resonds that "he would have been 15 months old." At this point I think this is my best bet. I am acknowledging Gabriel. I am acknowledging the fact that he is gone.
So, how many kids do I have? Three. Joel is two and a half, Gabriel would have been one and a half, and Zoe is due in July! That was easier than I thought...
This week my email inbox has been flooded with prayer requests. I feel like everyone I know, in every different friendship circle, is going through a difficult time right now. Some are calling it spiritual attack, others bad luck. But everyone is starting to notice the "trend" that we are all in need of prayer.
It has only made me feel more blessed, that right now in my life I am so happy, so thankful, so content, so very blessed. It makes me remember how alone my hurt felt, how I felt like everyone else around me had it so good, when we were going through everything with Gabe - his diagnosis, being pregnant, carrying to term, having him, losing him, missing him. I remembered how easily I felt hopeless and helpless and that nothing would ever be the same. Well, it's not the same, but it will get better.
Yesterday I felt overwhelmed by the amount of people I physically needed to prayer for, and I subconsciously tried avoiding it all afternoon. I was literally restless. I couldn't do anything. God was making it so obvious to me that I couldn't do another thing, not even a nap, until I stopped and lifted these requests to Him. I even thought to myself, there are so many at this point, God knows about them all, what's the point in telling him myself? And just like that I was immediately aware of the importance of always praying for my friends. Just like that I knew that not only would I want someone to pray for me when I needed it, but that the act of humbling myself before God and submitting my requests to him was going to improve my intimate relationship with God as much as it would help my friends feel more at peace.
So, to all my friends going through something really tough right now, I really feel like this is from God, not from me: Remember that this is a season. We all go through tough times and there is a choice in it for us to make - allow this circumstance to draw you closer to God, or become more distant and attempt this hard life on your own.
I hope that this blesses someone today...
Hello readers! Just wanted to check in with you about how I'm doing lately. This pregnancy has been very unlike all my others, which would explain why my gut instinct was telling me that I was baking a different gender!! I have all the classic wives' tales for carrying a girl: skin breaking out, belly looking wider instead of out in front, craving sweets, feeling uncomfortable, etc. So, it's been a little rough in comparison to carrying my boys - sleeping has been difficult, the heartburn has returned, general achiness and lower back pain... BUT I still feel like I don't have any right to complain, or much of a reason to! We are just so thankful to be having a healthy baby, a little girl who is getting more active by the day. Thanks for checking this site so often, whoever you 200 people/a day are!! :)