A loss with no name…

In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan Proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and today, October 15th, as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. He said, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”

This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.

I’m sure there’s all sorts of political mumbo jumbo associated with all of this that I don’t care to be involved in, but the bottom line is this, I like what he said and in a world that is full of so much badness, it’s nice that there is an informative resource for people who are hurting. 

A fellow blogger, Lexi Behrndt, who lost her infant son Charlie in 2014, wrote a beautiful letter to all grieving mothers, you can read it here.

It reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years ago about my miscarriages.   

 Thanks to time, the loving support of friends and family, and our wonderful hope for the future, we have made it through these difficult times. I hope that is the case for all of those parents out there hurting today, and every day. 

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It’s not perfect, but it’s love.

081Today is my parents 38th wedding anniversary. It’s easy for me to remember how many years because they married in March of 1977 and we were married 30 years later in March of 2007. It’s difficult for me to imagine being married for almost 40 years. The world we live in certainly doesn’t make it easy, and although things have never been perfect, I’m so very proud of them for sticking it out, still being friends, and being the most amazing parents a girl could ask for.

It’s hard to believe it was 23 years ago today, on their 15th anniversary, that we were running around the house following my mom as she uncovered 15 gifts, one for each year, hidden around the house. Dad was always so creative like that. The 15th gift was a heart necklace that had 15 tiny diamonds all the way around. That year we had a Mexican fiesta for dinner with decorations and virgin margaritas for us kids. Every year we got presents too, and dad would wrap them days ahead of time and put them in the living room to taunt us! My favorite gifts were my PJ Sparkles doll, she was amazing and upon looking her up for reference I just discovered she’s almost $400 on amazon…face palm on not saving that toy!…and my little electronic puppy on a leash (which mom wouldn’t let me walk outside because it was white and I would get it dirty…hello its a dog!) It seems like yesterday that 13 years ago we celebrated their 25th with all their friends and family, surprising them with a party where we even had their wedding cake recreated. And, of course, eight years ago weeks away from their 30th when I myself was married and they gave me away to a man they now lovingly refer to as, their son. 20020317 04

They both, in their own way, broke a cycle as parents. Neither of them had an ideal childhood, certainly not one they wished to see repeated. My mother actually was fearful of having children at all, afraid she wouldn’t be able to be a good mother since she was never shown how. My dad was given a little more love growing up, but with an absent Naval officer for a father, who was stern and distant when he was home, he was lacking. Of course he loved his parents, but he knew he was going to do things differently, they both did.

When mom found out she was pregnant with my sister, she called my dad in a panic asking “What are we going to do?!” He simply replied, “We’re going to have a baby.” They did, and 34 years later they have two grown daughters who grew up in a house filled with reading, adventure, laughter, spirituality, and love. The older I get and the more I learn about the world and other people’s stories, the more I am grateful. Grateful for the “bubble” that I lived in. Money was tight but I never knew it, I was clothed, fed, went on vacations, and pretty much got whatever I wanted (within reason). There was never any family drama or fights that I was privy to, nobody ever cursed or smoked in my presence, and we were only surrounded by people who loved us, and most importantly, loved God. We sat around the dinner table every night to a home cooked meal prepared by my mother who had worked a full day and before bed we were read a story by my father who had worked all day and must have been so exhausted.

As a kid in Jacksonville Florida my dad watched on the news as they opened Walt Disney World just a few short hours away. Despite begging their father to take them, he never did and so my father, promised himself that he would take his kids one day. He saved for years and years with a special Disney savings account and meticulously planned the perfect jam-packed Disney experience. A few months before we were supposed to leave, the opportunity came up for them to purchase their first home, but they didn’t have enough money to cover a down payment and closing costs. They could have easily dipped into the Disney fund, but they didn’t. Instead, they scrimped and saved, selling everything they could think of, including most of my mother’s precious antiques. Then off we went to Disney World, clueless that any of this had gone on (at least I was, I’m sure my sister is reading this rolling her eyes as she often incredulously disagrees with my recollection of history). It didn’t hit me till many years later how difficult that must have been and what a sacrifice it was. But they always put us first. And they still do.

They are an amazing support system, always there when I need them. I unfortunately inherited my father’s depression and my mother’s ability to put a smile on your face even when you’re hurting on the inside. Those two combined don’t always make us the best communicators as a family, but they still care in their own way. My last miscarriage, they just hugged me as long as I needed and then, as if I were a little girl with a scraped knee, took me for ice cream. It was exactly what I needed. After your third one there are no words, no sentiments that haven’t already been given, there is just love.

My father and the butcher love being together, they drink bourbon, laugh, and work together on projects, my dad imparting his years of knowledge and experience to my husband. And my mom is my favorite shopping partner, always there to listen and give advice. It’s usually a bit “momma bear” and biased, but hey, sometimes you just need somebody on your side!

Last week we took my mom to see the traveling Broadway show, Motown. (It was fantastic and she loved it.) When we picked her up, my dad walked her out to the car and kissed her goodbye. Thirty-eight years of marriage and still kissing each other goodbye, it’s not perfect, but its love.IMG_8642

“You should do this for a living”…

Anyone ever tell you that when they see that you’re really good at something? It’s a compliment for sure, but it always gets me thinking.
“You should plan parties for a living.”
“You should do this professionally!”
Although flattered, several things come to mind when people say these things. I think about how much work it is and how I enjoy it and I know that if I did it professionally, for people I don’t know or love, was taken away from my family every weekend to throw parties for strangers, just to get a check at the end of it, I know I wouldn’t love doing it anymore. But the thing I think of first and foremost?
“I just want to be a mom for a living.”
Parties, for instance, are a favorite thing of mine to plan. The bridal tea last week was for my best friend’s little sister who I really don’t know that well but since my best friend is like a sister to me that makes her little sister my little sister too. I wanted to do it for her because I love her, I probably won’t be throwing her a baby shower in this century, and she’s already got so much on her plate. She fought me in the beginning and didn’t want it to be too much on me, just like she fights me when I throw them an anniversary party. So I told her to be quiet, and I let her in on a little secret.
“I plan parties because I can’t have a baby.”
Maybe it sounds silly or hard to understand, but it’s the truth. There’s something about decorating a room, planning a menu, cooking, making things so pretty that people gasp in surprise when they walk in the room, and doing something for someone I love that just brings me so much joy. And in a very tiny but meaningful way, it fills the void of decorating a nursery, buying sailor suits or hair barrettes, and presenting a little cooing trophy wherever we go.
Of course there are other things that fill my time as well, most importantly my faith and my ministry, and of course my wonderful husband and family.
And I cannot even express the love in my heart for the sweet, adorable ball of fur {albeit shedding all over my house} that is our puppy Raven. She has given us someone to lay in bed and cuddle with at night, someone to take pictures of to show off to people, someone to fuss over and worry about when she gets sick, and someone to call our baby.
After many failed attempts via many different avenues, the butcher and I made a decision this week to officially “close up shop”. {drop dead gorgeous movie quote…can you tell I use humor to diffuse an uncomfortable situation?} The decision was not made lightly, and it has come with great pain and disappointment. But because of the associated and inevitable risks, there also comes some relief. Relief of no longer wondering every single month, “Could I be?” or “Can we handle losing another one?”
I know that someday every desire will be satisfied and I eagerly await that day. But until then, I’ll keep throwing parties, just for fun.

“H” is for heartbreak…

Today is a rough day. And that’s ok, we’re all allowed one every now and then. As much as we may try, life can’t always be sunshine and rainbows. As many of you know, I have PCOS and because of this the butcher and I have struggled with infertility, suffering through three miscarriages over the past several years. This is something that is often very hard for people to understand and with good intentions of course, say things like “just relax, it will happen”, “why don’t you just adopt”, and the worst of all, when meeting someone new, “are you planning on having children?”. Unfortunately infertility has nothing to do with relaxing, just like you can’t cure cancer by doing yoga. And although adoption is a wonderful thing, it is extremely expensive and comes with its own set of anxieties. About seven months ago though, we had a little glimmer of hope when we thought we might have the chance to do a private adoption (this is the best case financial scenario as far as adoption goes because you cut out the middleman adoption agency which is where most of the fees accumulate and deal directly with the expectant mother and an adoption lawyer) with a woman my husband worked with that was contemplating putting her baby up for adoption. She was a very young, single woman, with no means to support a child and not even necessarily the desire either. We tried not to get our hopes up but spoke with her over the next few months letting her know we were interested and contacted an adoption attorney who we kept on standby as we waited for her to make her decision. She seemed to really like us and gave us the very strong impression that she wanted to do this and wanted us to be the adoptive parents. We didn’t talk about it much with our friends and family, or even each other for that matter, and I honestly tried to put it out of my mind as at this point I’m unfortunately used to disappointment in this area (but that doesn’t mean I didn’t secretly create a registry on Target.com and make a private “adoption” board on Pinterest). Long story short, she had the baby last week. And she decided to keep it. Like I said, I was preparing for this so although I was crushed, my husband took it harder. And to add insult to injury, she recently started dating another coworker who is in the same department as my husband. He (who is also very young) has moved in with her and is supposedly going to “help her” raise the baby. Today, my husband came home on his lunch break and told me that they came into work today (already a sign of two kids with no idea what they’re doing bringing a one week old out on a rainy day to a crowded grocery store) with a little pink-faced, black-haired, 6 pound boy to show off. “That should have been my son” is all he could muster to say to me. It was like a bullet to our chests and every pent-up emotion from the beginning of this process came flooding out. And my poor husband, though he’s made of steel, now has this in his face every day. As upsetting as this all is I know we have each other, an adorable puppy, two beautiful nieces we love like our own, and are surrounded by great friends and family. This isn’t the end, we aren’t giving up, and even if it doesn’t happen now we have a brighter hope for the future. So tomorrow is another day and things will get better, but for today I’ll allow myself a little cry, because “h” is for heartbreak.
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