I know that when we face difficult times in our lives our faith can either be destroyed or strengthened.  I also know that there are a lot of pregnancy and infant loss families out there, as well as those who support them that have lost their faith because of their loss.  While yet, some of those families have gotten a stronger faith because of it.

In all honesty my faith life is still kind of young and growing.  With the death of our daughter there were some things I didn’t want to loose hold of.  I didn’t want to loose hold of God and my faith and I didn’t want to loose the strength of my marriage.  I know full well that both of these things could have tanked afterwards, but from where I sit I feel like they have both gotten stronger.  Yes, my faith has wavered throughout this time and there are times I wondered how God could take away such a young life.  But I rest assured that Samantha is being held in loving arms and being taken care of, she is in Heaven’s Nursery.  As far as my marriage goes, we’ve always had a strong relationship and this experience, I feel, has brought us closer than before.  With my husband and with God, I know I can face the tough spots in life.

I will have to admit that sometimes my praying gets side tracked a little to easily.  Since everything has happened I have tried to make more of a conscious effort to pray.  Sometimes it’s in the morning, sometimes it’s before bed.  But most of the time it is through little bullet prayers throughout the day.  Just a short one or two sentence about whatever is happening at the moment.  There have been many days where I just don’t know what to say and that’s okay.  That is when I say, well Lord, you know what is in my heart even though I can’t find the right words to say right now.  Recently I started doing an ABC prayer.  When I don’t know what to say, but really feel the need to put some words out there, I do an ABC prayer.

I start at the beginning of the alphabet and think of a word or phrase that goes with each letter.  If I come to a letter and can’t think of anything, I move onto the next.  By doing this, I usually have something that pops into mind a few letters later.  If I do skip over a letter I make sure to go back, so that each letter has something.  For example: A-angels, B-baseball, C-creativity.  I use things that are blessings, gifts, important to me, events, or people on my mind.  You will be surprised at what you think of for the letters as you go along.

What do you do to collect your thoughts at the end of the day?  What prayers do you find helpful?  What do you say to yourself to uplift your thoughts and  cares?

 

During this whole process of grief, healing, and trying again it’s hard to not feel defeated sometimes.  I’d be kidding myself if I said that I haven’t felt this way on occasion.  I find that the feelings of defeat have come more often since we began trying again.  It is only human to work ourselves up in anticipation of something, especially when it is something we really want.  The higher the anticipation, the greater the reward sometimes.  Likewise, the higher the anticipation the greater the fall feels when it doesn’t turn out like we’ve planned.  For me, when I am feeling defeated, that seems to be the time when my fears seem to rise up.

I have to keep telling myself to have faith…to be brave…to have hope.  It’s no wonder when a baby is born that it is considered a miracle.  All the pieces that have fit together just so to make it all work out, it’s truly an amazing thing.  Honestly, I am no different than any of those out there who decide to grow their family.  We all want to have this little miracle.  After you experience the loss of a child, that want and desire seem to grow even bigger.  So it is really important, dare I say imperative to continue to have hope.  Because with hope, you will find faith, and with faith you will be able to be brave to stand strong and face the day, not to mention all the emotions that go with it.

I received a piece of advice from a friend recently.  It is a great idea, but I have to admit it feels like a little counter intuitive.  It goes against the normal flow of human nature-in a good way though.  She told me that you need to tell yourself that you are strong.  That you can carry a baby.  That you can provide a place that provides what your baby needs.  You can create and carry life.  You can do this.

When you think about it, it is kind of like the pep talk given at half time to the team from the coach when the game isn’t going as well as they had planned for.  It is done to inspire the team, to motivate them, to tell them that they have the skills and ability to accomplish what is needed in order to finish the game wining.  We all need a little pep talk to get us motivated every now and then.  So be sure to give yourself the pep talk you need to help you be strong…to have hope…to have faith…and to be brave.

I keep telling myself this little pep talk.  So this way I can keep hoping and keep believing.  I have faith, though it may wavier sometimes, I can do this.  Maybe it’s time for you to create your own little pep talk.  What is it that you need to say to yourself to feel that sense of hope again, to have faith, to help you feel brave and strong?

 

Fears…something we think about, something we face almost daily.  No matter the look I can put on the outside, there still can be some underlying fears.  I am an analyzer, so sometimes those fears are because I over analyze a situation.  But there are times when the fears are legitimate.  To not let my fears get the best of me I try to work them out.  I talk about them, I think them over to see what the real issue is, and sometimes I wait.  I wait for God to intervene.  Recently my fears have been either linked with teaching or linked with our decision to try again.

With teaching I began to wonder if what I do really makes a difference, especially now that I am a sub.  I began to fear that I wasn’t good at what I do and wasn’t sure if it made any difference if I was there or not.  Even wondered if my skills were better utilized doing something else.  In the past year these fears have been popping up every so often.  Some of it, I believe, originates to the combination of feeling like everything was in place-the career and the family life.  I was being awarded teacher of the year for my accomplishments and I was pregnant for the first time.  In my mind’s eye, life couldn’t have been any better.  A week later, I delivered Samantha due to a miscarriage.  I went from feeling like I was on top of the world to having my world come crashing down.  I know and recognize that these two events have little to do with each other than how the timing all came down.  But it doesn’t stop me from every now and then fearing that I am not good at teaching.  A week ago, I got a little wake up call…I think God knew I needed a little boost.

I was delivering snack to classrooms at work the other week.  After dropping snack off in a classroom and moving onto the next, I was called back into one of the classrooms I had visited already.  The teacher told me that the kids asked her where had I been, when will i be back in there again, I miss her, and I love that teacher.  It did my heart good.  And the icing on the cake?  As I went to leave the room several of the kids said “I love you Ms. L!  This made me remember, I still do good work.

My other fears come from the decision to try again.  Like most other baby loss moms out there, when you have lost a child there are a lot of thoughts that go through your mind when you begin the process of trying again.  You are told to not think about it so much and it will happen.  Or you need to do xyz to get pregnant.  Or you need to focus on other things and it will all come together.  Or stop worrying.  Or you need to just move on.  Some of these thoughts and ideas are easier said then done.  Some can come across hurtful.  Some need to be expressed when asked for ideas or advice.  And some, just need to be heard from those who have walked similar footsteps.

So, what fears are coming out?  The biggest…what if a loss happens again?.  Then comes…if I haven’t gotten pregnant again yet, what I am doing wrong?.  These are the things that go through my mind.  I try to not worry, not dwell, not over think, but it doesn’t get rid of the thought.  It still resides, sometimes on the surface, sometimes deep down.  I can only take care of and control the things, so that is what I am going to focus on.  I am going to find ways to make my life healthier, get in more doses of photography & writing, spend time with the people I love & things I love to do, take the back roads, and set better boundaries on the areas of my life that need it.

I may not be able to stop the fear from coming, but at least I can try to recognize it, face it, and move forward…and cross the tough bridges when they actually come into my path.

Fears can be big or small, but they still have the power to paralyze us in the moment.  We need to have faith and be brave in order to push forward.  What do you do to work through your fears?

 

 

 

After the loss of a child, couples are faced with the grief, the healing process, and the question of do we try again.  The grief and healing process come with time.  But the question that sits just below the surface, waiting to come out, is do we want to try again.  So, are we ready? Do we want to?  Are we going to?  What if?

For some the answer is already there because the circumstances of their previous pregnancy and loss.  They may have been left without the option to try again due to health, risk, age, etc.  For others it is about being ready again…ready to face being pregnant again…ready to face the risks and rewards…ready to face fears and hopes.

Near the end of last Summer we decided that we were trying again.  By trying I mean, seeing what happens and going with the flow.  I wasn’t charting, temping, or counting.  A couple of months ago we had a long talk and decided that we really wanted to start “trying to try”, as I put it.  So to the calendar I went.  Since then I have had people tell me I should do this or should do that to better our chances of getting pregnant.  My conclusion is…I am doing what is best for my husband, me, and our relationship.

So begins the journey of trying to grow our family.  When you were ready to try again, how did you know?  What thoughts and feelings do you have running through your mind as you are going through this process?  If you have been through the process of trying again, what words of advice and encouragement would you give to others?

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