Saturday, February 12, 2011

Milestones

Most people know how hard the first year is after you lose someone.  The first holidays, the first birthday, the first spring, summer, without the one you miss.

What many people don't realize is that when you lose a baby, you have a whole other set of milestones to get through in addition to those firsts.  And the earlier you lose a baby, the more milestones you have in front of you.
  • The day you would have announced your pregnancy to the world
  • The day you would have heard your baby's heartbeat
  • The first ultrasound
  • The end of the first trimester, and the second
  • Feeling your baby move for the first time
  • Shopping for baby supplies
  • Registering for baby gifts
  • Attending your own shower
  • Getting a tour of the hospital
Then there are the big ones:
  • your estimated due date
  • your first Mother's Day or Father's Day
  • your anniversary of loss
  • anticipating what your baby would be doing now if he or she had lived
  • what would have been your baby's first Christmas, first Thanksgiving, first birthday...
Maybe all of these milestones are why it is normal for parents to take 18 to 24 months to begin healing from a loss.  (I'm approaching the two-year anniversary of losing Naomi, and still cry at support group meetings!)  If you are still in this timeframe, do not rush yourself or let others rush you through the grieving process.  No, you should not be "over it" by now, you shouldn't be done grieving.  You have lost your child.  Each parent's time frame is different, but it is normal to take a while to work through the most painful period of grieving.  There is light and laughter and joy on the other side, and even in the midst of the pain, but don't set a deadline for yourself.  You'll make it, I promise.

Question for you:  When did you feel yourself moving past the worst of your grief?  What helped?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Remembering Jordan Gabriel

Today would have been my due date with Jordan.  Strange that a baby who lived inside me for about a week would have such a huge impact on my life -- and yet, not so strange.  To quote the elephant Horton, "A person's a person, no matter how small."  Personhood in God's eyes is not measured by size and the impact of a life is not measured by days.  For the rest of my life, February 2 will have a bittersweet ring to it. 

Jordan is the one who made me a mommy of four, who gave me the gift of a positive pregnancy test before the age of 40.  I have no way of knowing if he was a boy or a girl, but we keep leaning toward calling him "him". 

The world of medicine would shrug him off as a "chemical pregnancy" and would minimize his life by using the words "very early" to describe the miscarriage I had.  I was even advised at the time not to use early pregnancy tests anymore - so as not to know?  But not knowing does not change the fact that he lived and that, for a brief time, I was expecting and imagining the life my baby would lead and what kind of big sister my daughter would be. 

So...today I mourn and grieve the loss...but I also celebrate the life he lived here, in my womb, and the life he lives now, in the presence of God.  My loss, heaven's gain....Jordan's gain.