Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day

What a funny holiday. I feel like I'm still in the new mom trenches enough to be learning the weight this job carries, and I'm hardly able to vocalize my gratitude to my mom, who did this x 4!

As for my own little family, it's been fun to start new traditions. Ross has been really good about utilizing my favorite love language (words of affirmation) to cheer me on and refuel my mothering tank. I love that. I love learning to accept compliments and grace, even though I have plenty more failures than successes in this parenting gig. I love that it's a new holiday for us, and not fraught with the pitfalls and failures and dashed hopes that have come with past birthdays and anniversaries.

I love the HILARIOUSLY excited face Noah made when he got to help me eat gluten-free donuts in bed this morning. I love the equally excited face he made when I opened the gift he made for me in Parent's Day Out. (And I really love the sweet photo album his teachers put together.)

I will say, though, one emotion caught me by surprise this year: sadness. Our pastor at church prayed for "all the moms who lost babies this year," and I found myself fighting tears for the rest of the day. Everyone's story is deeply personal, but the more time passes, the more comfortable I am sharing mine.

We miscarried a baby in the winter of 2009 and it took me a long time to grieve that loss. I finally started to process it a year before we got pregnant with Noah, and I spent the majority of the first trimester with him so anxious about every little thing going wrong.

Carrying and delivering Noah was a delight, and life with him is a grand adventure, to say the least! We got pregnant again last fall, and experienced a lot of highs and lows in the short 3 weeks between the first positive pregnancy test and the subsequent abrupt loss.

Among all my worries about having two kids under two, postpartum depression, pelvic pain... the one that didn't really cross my mind was fear of losing this baby. I was bigger and sicker than I ever was with Noah, and I guess I took his eventual full-term pregnancy for granted because I was genuinely shocked when I woke up one morning in October to signs of a miscarriage.

But even there, I found love. I was surprised and humbled by the support and care I received for a life that was so short. It meant the world to me. I grieved a lot of the milestones that come with the first 20 weeks. Since this baby's due date was so close to Noah's, I would be caught unaware with memories of announcing our pregnancy at Thanksgiving, feeling him kick for the first time on Christmas, and finding out we were having a boy during Restaurant Week and celebrating with a steak dinner.

But as the holidays ebbed away, so too, it seemed, did my grief. I noticed a quiet stillness in my heart. Welcome after months of panic attacks and sleepless nights and prolonged postpartum pain.

As spring comes, again catching me unaware is the memories of the burgeoning belly, the baby showers, the anticipation, the Braxton-Hicks. And I find myself mourning the loss of the baby even as I see God's lovingkindness woven throughout this baby's whole story. In wisdom and hindsight and what can only be Divine Intervention, I'm often filled with gratitude for a good, good Father.  Most days I'm well aware that God is a better parent than I will ever be, and that two of our babies are living in the presence of Goodness and Light and that's okay. I'm even happy about that, actually! But as we approach this little one's due date, the sorrow is creeping back in. Noah has legit baby FEVER and points them out everywhere. He asks for his friends all day long and I know he would love the company of an impending arrival.

But even here, on the days I'm frankly quite overwhelmed with Noah's sheer TODDLER-ness, I find comfort in knowing that maybe God knew I wasn't ready for two just yet. And yeah, there's a lot of guilt that comes with that comfort. It's not that I'm glad we miscarried. Not at all. But I'm glad God cares for me and knows what I need.

And I'm so very grateful that he made me a mother.

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