Yesterday I spent the day welcoming a new baby into life. His older sister was born just 5 days before our first baby, Ezekiel, would have been born. This little fella was born just a few months before our third, Charis Ruth, would’ve arrive. And in-between that, we lost Johoahaz (Joe). Three losses in 2 years. That’s tough stuff. I’ve been asked how I can handle being with other babies while we are still in this process.
How to Help
My dear friend wanted to be sensitive to me. She remembers that I had to cancel attending her first baby shower because it was just too much for me to handle being so close to when our baby shower would’ve been. I also avoided Mother’s Day this year online and in person.
There are just some issues that are too raw. I’m not avoiding letting people in, nor am I avoiding the grieving process. But I’ve learned that there is a balance at reawakening the grieving phase that we’ve endured and mostly choose to put behind us. We have a hopeful future for our little ones. I don’t need to dwell in the grief. That won’t serve us well to move forward. I only let the grief come when it’s unexpected, or when I am walking other friends through their own losses. I don’t seek it out to dwell there.
Being sensitive can look like a lot of things. I am thankful that it mostly looked like her being direct with me and asking me what helps. She had wondered if being with babies or friends that were successful in their family expansion plans would bother me. I shared what I’ve found to be true. After our first loss, I was hurt in such a way that it was hard to be happy for others. It was hard to feel joy while ours was lost. But now having lost 3, borrowing a baby to cuddle is therapy. It might get emotional, loud, or smelly but it will always be a deep and real experience.
Had she assumed that helping me would be to shelter me from potentially painful or awkward situations, I wouldn’t have gotten to experience the time with her new little man. While I held him, he did what newborns do best by producing a dirty diaper and hunting for food. I had the privilege to experience what is a very normal thing. He is a perfectly healthy baby, with none of the ailments that I’ve witnessed others endure. I was able to physically hold him and to feel his touch.
This almost mundane experience cannot be taken for granted. It is an experience that my arms ache to feel.
Rather than assuming, she risked the awkwardness of the moment and spoke frankly with me about the experiences Matt and I have been through that are foreign to many. And rather than holding back by avoiding these situations, I dove in. I was able to have a full encounter in that moment.
Before assuming what will help others, be sure that they find your help helpful. The best of intentions can be lost on the one receiving your effort . When that happens, see their heart and redirect the mismatched efforts. See their heart first. Be with them in this time. Let them clearly communicate to the best of their ability what will help them.
Somewhere over salad, we were discussing how brutal comparisons can be. It was initially hard to see others being successful while we were only increasing in more losses, pain, and bills.
Losing a son or daughter means that you have no shared happy memories with and only a pile of experiences that you didn’t get to have together. It’s ugly. How do you mourn for one that your memories are mostly around medical appointments, nausea, and sore boobs? What can be just as hard is discovering month to month that this month wasn’t a success. That week is a slap in the face. And somehow 2 weeks later it’s time to get over it and aim for a better outcome again.
With such thoughts in mind, it’s easy to let comparisons enter. I can look at my life, and then at your life as if we are not connected, and make up lots of meanings to go with the facts. Don’t do it. Don’t give in to this low-living emotional reaction.
I’ve let go of thinking of others. I choose to see that you are not other than me. As a part of the Body of Christ, you are and I are connected together.
You and I are a part of One Body, One Family. I experience what you may not, and you experience what I may not. Each of our three miscarriages stands as it’s own story because each of our children were uniquely designed. How it impacts me is different than how Matt is impacted. Each loss of any life is experienced by someone with their own perspective.
Go through the experiences, as hard as they are. Let the realness of the moment sink in. Be in that moment.
I can share my experiences with you. I can facilitate the experience you will have. The experiences you or I have are viewed from our own perspective, but yet are not isolated from one another. I no longer compare what I experience with what you experience.
I’ve shared our journey, and in the process others became part of our children’s lives. Without having a chance to hold our babies, others have experienced what each child’s presence was. To keep this hidden and private, as miscarriage so often is, would be to deny your experience through the joys and sorrow of this life we only had such a small window to witness.
Likewise, if I pull my thoughts away from being One Body, then I miss out on the opportunities to do life with you. I do not need to be in constant communication with you, but you are not other than me. I choose to share in the grander perspective of this life.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. ~John 17:22-24
…I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen ~Matthew 28:20
His desire is that we are in unity together, and with Him. I will let you in to experience our ups and downs, and I will laugh, cry, and be with you as you go through yours. We’re in this together.