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?

 

Honestly this post comes with an inspiration from a sermon I heard.  What are the signs of light, love, and hope that you see?  This is fairly easy when things are good, but what about when things seem to be at their darkest.  How do you find light, love, and hope in the darkness?  The blessings in disguise so to speak.  Light, love, and hope are always around even at the deepest ruts, ravines, darkness, and despair.  They maybe be hard to see or find, but they are there somewhere.  They may be hidden or subtle, but they are there.

It is in these harder, darker, tougher times when we need light, love, and hope the most.  Even though they may be hard to find, we need to dig deep to find them.  Sometimes we may need help to do this and that’s okay.  The help can come from friends, family, church, group, or whatever works best for you.  There will be other times when we can slowly find them and our way on our own.  But even on our own, it is still good to have a little extra backup support every now and then.

Finding my light after Samantha had been tough.  I submersed myself in work, pushing down much of what I was thinking or feeling.  My blog writing was made up of my journal writings from early on-I just transferred them from paper to website.  The idea of new or current content was not something I thought about adding until many months later.  So my emotions, when they would finally surface, came out in tears on the drive to and from work.  By the time August of 2011 rolled around I began to realize what I was doing.

I knew changes had to be made and I needed to find others that I could meet up with face to face that could relate.  My light at that time was to give up my current position at work for something not as full time and flexibility.  It was time to take care of us and me.  At this time, I also began going to an infant/pregnancy loss group and talking about my thoughts.  I also began to write more.

My next ray of light showed up through an Illuminate group.  This became a close knit group of eight of us, who are still able to connect now even though the class is done.  This brought the light of photography back in to play and I remembered how much I enjoyed it, as well as realized that it been a missing link in my life for a little while.  So, I try to incorporate photography more often.

Photography, my groups, my writings, and support have given me the love that I have so needed, which has helped to make my light shine brighter.  With my light shining brighter, I am able to have a renewed sense of hope.  With this renewed sense of hope, I believe that I can move forward with more strength and courage.

So, I want to know…what brings you hope?  What makes your light shine a little brighter?  If you need to, lets dig deeper together to help a little light grow.  Because if that light can grow, so will hope.  What can you do today to help your light grow?

 

 

I wanted to take a moment to share a special poem that I wrote about dragonflies and what they mean to me. Dragonflies have a special meaning to me.  A dragonfly brings a message of comfort and peace from our little baby girl.  A dragonfly helps to give me a connection and way to feel closer to Samantha.  In honor of her, I am passing on the blessing of a dragonfly to you.  It is my hope that it will provide a sense of hope, comfort, and strength.

Dragonflies

By: Liz Lauterbach

Such beauty and grace, delicate and light

Washing calm and peace throughout

Bearer of comfort and strength

A little messenger, dropping by to say hi

Sometimes lingering, sometimes just but a moment

Soaring high, sparkling in the sun

Heavenly connection, closer to you my angel

 

What will 2012 bring?  I haven’t the slightest clue, but I will continue to hope, plan, and dream.

I know I want to continue doing some of the new things I picked up this year, I want to expand things, and I want to readjust other things.  I want to move into more of a simpler mode.  I hope down the road I am able to continue to do the things that bring me the most joy and mean the  most.  I will continue to spend time with family.  I hope to take more  time to have  coffee and chats with friends.  I will continue to travel.  I will take an active approach in my health, making the simple step of being more active.  I dream to rebuild my photography business in hopes it grows into something where I can share it more with people and where I can create something special for families.  I hope to reach out to others who have experienced a pregnancy loss or infant loss, building connections and healing.

I hope to be “living the backyard life“, as my husband puts it, still and having that life include little feet running around the house.  I hope that we will grow our family.  To go from 3 to 4 or 5.  Whatever it may be.  To be raising a family is my dream.   I hope my path continues to introduce new people into my life in hopes that bonds can be formed and relationships built.

In the year ahead I plan to continue blogging/journaling, creating a place for others to find help & healing on their infant loss path, as well as a place to share their story through my website www.myinfantloss.com, and continue to find ways to honor Samantha.  I hope to find beauty in the world around me each day, find great joy in the simple things, and grow (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally)

This past year I have taken one word with me.  It helped me to get through the tough days, gave me hope, and created a sense of peace.  That word was trust.  2012 brings a new year and a new word, with the help of an Illuminate class I took I decided to make a conscious choice about what word I want to carry me through the new year.  I have been trying to decide between two…strength and believe.  With all that I am hoping for and dreaming for, my word is going to be…believe.  It encompasses so much and with my one word mantra, I will continue to grow and will be able to make it through the year with a strong foundation.  What does 2012 look like for you?  Whatever it may be…I hope your year is filled with relaxation, happiness, laughter, and many blessings.  Happy New Year!  Here’s to a great year!!

 

 

Happy New Year!  Today 2012 begins.  With a lot to look forward to in a new year, I want to take a moment to reflect on 2011.  This past year has been a very busy year for us.  It has been filled with firsts, lesson’s learned, travel, big celebrations, and loss.  I have gained a new perspective and met a lot wonderful people.

We had two big celebrations this year.  Raun’s little sister (who is like 22) got married over the Summer.  It has been fun to watch her grow up.  We also celebrated my grandfather’s 95th birthday.  95 years!  Can you believe it?  I can only imagine what it would be like to have been around for the past 95 years.  He has seen a lot of firsts and new things over the years.  I pray that he still has many more birthdays and celebrations to go.  I have learned a lot from my grandfather over the years about family, faith, and values.

This past year we had our first pregnancy.  Something that should bring so much joy and excitement quickly turned when I experienced a miscarriage at 17 weeks.  The result, was a beautiful baby girl who we named Samantha Jean.  She was only here with us a brief while, but her little tiny footprints have left so much behind.  It is because of her I began this website, began to reach out to others in a whole new way, made some new friends and built wonderful relationships, strengthened old relationships, learned a lot about myself and Raun, and began to change the way I look at life overall.

Raun and I have taken the opportunity to travel this past year.  When I say travel, I don’t mean abroad.  We did some weekend getaways to places like Bayfield and Stockholm, WI.  We visited family in both Wisconsin and Missouri.  We enjoyed good travel, great company, of course good food, and many photographic opportunities.

Loosing Samantha has made a lot of changes in my life.  I have begun to fill my life with the things I truly enjoy, to weed out the things that don’t have meaning or interest, step out of my comfort zone, and really put what I value first.  Near the later part of the year I made the big decision to give up my classroom and become a building sub.  It was a tough decision, but it has been one of the best choices I made.  It has brought much needed peace, relief, new opportunities, and rejuvenation.

What will 2012 bring?  I haven’t the slightest clue, but I will continue to hope, plan, and dream.  I hope that we will grow our family.  I plan on continuing to do the things that mean the most to me, spend time with family, connect with friends (perhaps over a cup of coffee), and travel.  I dream to rebuild my photography business and to reach out to others who have experienced a pregnancy loss or infant loss.

This past year I have taken one word with me.  It helped me to get through the tough days, gave me hope, and created a sense of peace.  That word was trust.  2012 brings a new year and a new word, with the help of an Illuminate class I took I decided to make a conscious choice about what word I want to carry me through the new year.  I have been trying to decide between two…strength and believe.  With all that I am hoping for and dreaming for, my word is going to be…believe.  It encompasses so much and with my one word mantra, I will continue to grow and will be able to make it through the year with a strong foundation.  What does 2012 look like for you?  Whatever it may be…I hope your year is filled with relaxation, happiness, laughter, and many blessings.  Happy New Year!  Here’s to a great year!!

 

Raun and I have faced many holidays since we lost Samantha.  She died in January so we have faced Easter, Mother’s day, Father’s day, and Thanksgiving so far this year, and soon we will be able to add Christmas to the list.  The first year of holidays is tough.  I have run the gamut of emotions.  I am happy to be with family and celebrate, but saddened because Samantha was not there to be a part of it.

Thinking back to when our due date was, she would not have been born yet for Easter, Mother’s day, and Father’s day.  We would have still been pregnant at the time had there been no complications with the pregnancy.  Either way, because of when she was born, January, we faced those holidays without our daughter here on earth.

Fortunately, we have been blessed with a very supportive family and strong group of friends.  With them, it has been easier to get through the holidays.  Instead of moving through them in a blur, I have been able to be present and to find some joy throughout them.  On each of those holidays, our family has honored and remembered Samantha in some way.  Even though she is not here on earth, she is still a part of our family and our family holds her closely in their hearts.  They show it through their words, prayers, and cards.

I know this may not be the case for others out there who have lost their little one(s) through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.  I have heard stories of people’s relationships becoming strained with their family members, in-laws, or even their spouse after the loss of their child.  Sometimes, even friendships are broken because of the loss.  My heart aches for those who have lost this supportive circle.  Most of the time it is because people just don’t know what to do or say, so it becomes easier for them to ignore what happened.

Holidays can bring the best or the worst out in people, no matter what their life situations are currently.  The holidays bring a different disposition to most people.  For those who have experienced the loss of a child, this time of year becomes tough in a whole different way.  They are celebrating a holiday, but they aren’t able to have their little one with them physically to celebrate it too.  This creates a tension.

So, I want to help give you the tools to create a plan in hopes that you will find your burden a little less and that you can  find happiness and beauty in what is in front of you.  I will provide some things for you to think about and help set steps towards a holiday plan.  Your answers and feelings may differ than your spouse’s, so be sure to sit down and talk through these things together.  I will also share with you what my husband and I will be doing.

Raun and I are truly excited for the holiday season.  Yes, we will miss Samantha and will feel saddened that she won’t be here physically to celebrate with us.  But, we do know that she will still be celebrating with us in spirit.

I send you extra thoughts, prayers, and hugs during this holiday season.  I wish many blessings for you and strength.  I hope you may find some beauty and joy in the season.  Your little angel will be near in spirit, holding your hand and guiding you through.  Lastly, I pray for peace for you.

 

 “Naming Your Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, & Infant Death” by Jenny Schroedel

 My Book Review: I received this book from my mother in law after we all attended the funeral service.  It has taken me a little bit longer to get through this book, only because “normalish” life began to take over again.  But it has definitely been a good read.   This book helped to validate the feelings I was going through and made me feel like I wasn’t the only one.  We all grieve, and those of us that have been through a loss like this have something in common.  We know to some degree how others feel and what they are going through, yet because we all grieve differently we can only listen and sympathasize.  In the book it was helpful to read other people’s stories.  They are all different, but with one common thread, loss.  It gave me ideas on how to get through the different emotions, especially the ones I wasn’t used to dealing with…like jeolousy.  I learned that life will go back to normal.  Not necessarily the normal before being pregnant, but a new type of normal and that’s okay.  It was helpful also, that the author put such a heavy emphasis on naming your child.  It doesn’t matter how recent or how long ago it was, it is still important to give a name.  We may all grieve differently, we are all at different stages in the process, but we are all connected on a deeper level.

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