Tuesday. Until July 3rd it will continue to mark another week Elias should be growing inside my belly. Today would have been 26 of those precious weeks.
That's so hard to believe.
These past 7 1/2 weeks have been such a whirlwind. I really can't believe all that's happened in the middle of processing his death. On the one hand, really nothing has happened. We've laid pretty low. I've been a little unpredictable. One day I may feel completely "normal" and be open to social events, and the next day have to will myself to even get out of bed. It's frustrating, but I also think it's healthy, and part of grieving.
I've thought a lot about grieving and the process lately. If you haven't noticed, I will analyze anything. If one apple rots before the other, I want to know why. It's just me. And I've noticed that there seems to be a difference in the way my generation or our society grieves pregnancy and infant loss in comparison to say, my parents and especially, their parent's generation and society during that time.
One thing I've learned through this experience -- people are uncomfortable with other people's grief...and especially, grief over a baby. It's not only hard to fathom, but it's not something everyone can relate to.
I have a necklace that I wear every day and it has Elias' name on it. I've had a few people ask me about it, and if they dig enough to find out he's dead...well, you can imagine the conversation gets pretty uncomfortable really fast. That's something I guess I'm still working on too. How do you explain it without making the person feel awful for bringing it up? Because the truth is, I want people to ask about him; I want to include him. And if I cry, well, it was probably just sitting their waiting to be unleashed anyways. As I read in someone else's blog about baby loss -- "getting me to cry is no real accomplishment."
I think I can speak for most moms who've lost babies when I say that I want to talk about Elias. I want his life validated throughout my daily conversations...even if it makes someone feel bad for not meaning to bring up such a topic. It's actually more hurtful when people don't bring it up.
But -- I believe that this line of thought is pretty polar opposite to the way generations before me dealt with the loss of a pregnancy, especially very early pregnancies. Maybe we can thank the internet for making it more visible to us all, and making it okay to grieve these losses. I'm not sure why the shift. But I do know that young moms today are responding to a loss like mine with much more understanding than older generations. I'm not saying that they always say the right things, but there is an understanding that you don't get over it...and even that maybe it's the kind of loss that is present your entire life, even if they can't comprehend it completely.
As we're nearing the 2 month mark, I'm feeling that pressure to move on and stop thinking about it constantly. That maybe it's not healthy to still be feeling deep emotion and loss over Elias. That little nudge that if I just get pregnant it won't hurt so bad, and will even give me something else to focus on, taking away that pain I feel over Elias.
Let me just acknowledge this little thing I think is true: that's a bit of crap, in my opinion. Why? If I believe that Elias' life was sacred, worth fighting for, and created in God's image, then why wouldn't I mourn over that loss for however long I need to? I believe that's healthy.
I have realized, though, that I need to keep my emotions in check. Grief does a funny thing to you. It can make you irrational with fear and slightly ticked off over things that really aren't making you mad in the first place.
The biggest things I'm dealing with right now are fear over the death of another loved one. I get a little panicky over storms and my husband even leaving the house to run an errand. I know that this is something I really need to give over to the Lord. It's definitely an issue. But I think as the reality of Elias' death has sunk in, I've become fully aware of how painful death is for those who are left behind. The thought of another loss leaves crippling fear.
That leads me to the second fear I'm dealing with...and it's not even a reality at this time. I'm already worried about another pregnancy. I had my post partum check up yesterday, and just sitting in the office made me want to hyperventilate. When you're only experience with pregnancy is one of fear and worry over something real, it's only natural to almost dread another one - even if you desperately want to be on the other side of that pregnancy. I know full well that getting pregnant again will be a decision to walk into one of the most terrifying journeys I've ever chosen. I say that because I thought once you hit 12 weeks, you were good. I began that pregnancy with fear and worry, but not because of personal experience. In a way, my pregnancy innocence has been stolen. I know that statistics are real....I am one. And have doubts over whether I'll even ever be able to carry a baby to term and hear that sweet cry of life at the end. I know that it's possible to deliver a baby and it not cry. I know this -- it's all I know. And the thought of it happening again is crippling.
I know that Satan is thrilled, and that Hell most likely dances over such victories. It is a great accomplishment for one of Jesus' Christians to be afraid, in the eyes of Satan. This is truth.
I'm so glad that I have a Savior that is healing me. I will always want my Elias. Always. That's never going away. But this giant wound...this wound that invites fear and hopelessness to find its home in....well, that's business for my Healer.
Here I am 7 weeks out on this journey without you, little baby. I still long for 26 to be my number instead. But I'm embracing the hurt. I'm letting the loss I feel wash over me when I need to. I'm dancing in these ruins Elias left behind because I know Jesus is going to heal me through it.
For some reason, the day I found out I was pregnant I wrote Psalm 16:5 in my journal, "Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup. You have made my lot secure." This verse holds true even when the assigned cup is dreadful...I am still secure. I had such hope the day I wrote that verse, that the cup He assigned me would be full of blessing and health -- and I rejoiced in that hope. Today, I'm rejoicing that the same verse holds true as I take the cup full of unpredictable pain.
And I'm going to drink this cup down to the last drop because it's safe; He's safe. And I'm secure in that.