The holidays can be a tough time of year to go through after the loss of a child, but there is also magic, joy, and peace that come with the season as well.  Surround yourself with the things you truly love to do, the people who support you, and find a way to honor your child.  Some of the steps in the holiday plan may not pertain to you or you may think “what does this have to do with any of it?”  That is alright.  If all you take from these steps are the ones that truly resonate with you, then you will still find the strength and courage you need. 

As we went through these steps, there are a few that, to us, just don’t seem to matter.  On the flip side, there are a few that have become really important and we have put into motions ways to fullfill them.  Go through these steps the best you can; following what you feel in your heart, what makes sense to you, and what will help you most in the path of healing.  Remember to go through these steps with your spouse, as both of you are grieving and healing differently.  You will each have different perspectives on them.  Also, remember to take time to honor your little and honor yourselves for all that you have gone through.  It is a tough road to follow sometimes, but there is also light on this path. 

Over time, the light will get brighter and it will get easier to breath.  Take the steps one at a time, and if you can’t take a step on your own it is okay to ask for help.  If that first step is too hard to take on your own, I encourage you to take the hand of someone who can take that step with you.  Whether it is a spouse, a friend, a family member, or God reach your hand out and say “please go with me, help me take this step”.  I promise you will make it through this.  It may be a bit on the ugly side, it may not be easy, but you will make it through this. 

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.

 

 

 

I wanted to share that I will be participating in an Illuminate course over the next month or so.  This will give me an opportunity to work through the grief and healing process in another way.  Or should I say, in addition to what I am doing.  It allows me to do two things, take photos and to write as I work through the process.  However, the writing that I will be doing will be on specific topics assigned, as well as the photos I take.  The first assignment is writing a letter to Samantha.  I look forward to working my way through this experience, meeting new people,  and continuing to walk this path while finding new ways to reflect, honor, and cherish.

 

I have decided to take part in Let’s Blogoff.  A few times a month they put out a blog topic, then I get to think on the topic and create a blogpost with my thoughts.  These topics give me a chance to think deeply on topics I normally wouldn’t, expand my horizons, and delve deeper into learning more about myself and where I may be headed in life.  For example, the last topic was entitled “What is Home?”.  It is an opportunity to not give the short and sweet answer to the questions.  Instead, it makes you mull it over and share your thoughts.

This time the topic is “What did you want to be when you grow up?”  This for some can be a fairly simple recall and easy to answer.  Well, I have been thinking on this topic on and off for the past couple of days.  I can get back to the high school years pretty easily, when I can remember coming to the conclusion that I either wanted to be a teacher or be involved in interior decorating.  I also remember having someone tell me that as long as they could remember I always wanted to be a teacher.

Alright, now to look back even farther in the years.  I very vaguely remember playing teacher as a little kid with my friends or family every so often.  I don’t remember ever saying outright, “I want to be ______ when I grow up”.   Thinking about it now, I don’t recall really thinking about it much at all.  In my mind, I was just being a kid, doing kid sort of things.

Well, seven years out of college and I am a teacher.  However, over time I am beginning to change the direction I am going in.  I am changing my focus.  I wonder sometimes what it would have been like if I went down the path of interior decorating.  I get my feet slightly wet in that area by decorating my own house, as well as helping my folks decorate areas of their house.  For me, honestly, getting my feet slightly wet is enough to let me know I made the right choice at the time. 

Looking down the road I am not so sure I will still be a teacher when I grow up.  I am one right now, but I do think that will change as I get older.  So, looking forward…what do I want to be when I grow up?  I want to be a mom and raise our family.  I want to do more with my photography.  Photography is what strongly pulls me now and I want to continue to grow that.  I want to find a way for me to take my experiences from this year of losing our daughter and help others who are walking the path of pregnancy loss & infant loss.  If I can find a way to combine all three of these desires into one goal, then that will be what I want to be when I grow up.

I don’t know exactly where my meandering path is going to lead me, but I do know what direction I am heading in as of now.  So, what did you want to be when you grow up? or what do you want to be when you grow up?

 

 

How true is that statement?

I remember a conversation that occurred shortly after our miscarriage with someone who didn’t know it had happened.  It was the end of my work day and I was up at the front desk chatting with a co-worker, when a parent on their way out stopped at the desk to chat.  She had begun asking my co-worker how her pregnancy was going, and when their conversation ended she turned to me and asked the same question.  I admit, I hesitated for a bit.  To me it seemed like minutes.  I looked at my co-worker, hoping she might say something.  It was at most a week that I had been back at work, but I still wasn’t ready to answer this question.  My response was simple, we lost the baby at 17 weeks.  She asked me how I was doing with it all and my co-worker jumped in saying that I was handling it like a champ.

A champ?  I don’t want to be a champ at this.  It makes me sound like I am a winner.  I understand she meant well by it and not in that context.  It also meant that on the outside at first glance it looked like I was handling it all well, even though on the inside I was falling apart and people didn’t really know the hell I was going through.  But a champ? Not quite.

Just a few weeks ago, I heard another perspective on this.  Instead of the word champ being used, it was the word strong.  I have been told I am strong and I will make it through this.  Someone else I know  was asked “you are so strong though all of this, how do you do it?”  My perspective on this statement, as well as her’s was simple.  I don’t really have a choice.  Life is moving forward with or without me.  It would be easier to just stay in bed, shut the world out, in a way give up, and let the world move forward without me.  Or, I could begin to walk this new path one small step at a time, one foot in front of the other. 

Am I going to stumble?  Am I going to take steps backwards? You bet, but I am going to do my best to move forward.   I am going to have bad days, it is going to be tough, but I am going to do it.  Notice I said, move forward, not move on.  I will never move on from what happened.  It will always be a part of me and my baby girl will always be with me.  Right now she is in good hands and some day I will see her again.  This is what allows me to move forward. 

Am I strong?  Maybe, maybe not.  That’s for you to say, not me.  Am I a champ?  No, I wouldn’t describe myself that way.  What I do know, is that this had made me realize a few things.  1) Life is short, I need to fill it with the things that truly mean the most to me.  2) I need to stand up for myself more and let my voice be heard.  3) I am more comfortable now with who I am then I have ever been.  I am not afraid to truly be me.

 “We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have” – Small Bird Studios

 

In all of this a person can’t help but to ask “Where is God?”  With this question come a whole slew of other questions.  Like:

Why me/us? or  Why? or What did I/We do to deserve this? or What did I do wrong?

And the list goes on and on.  With all of these questions we strive to find answers, to be able to put the pieces of lives back together and to find a sense of peace.  The only thing…we may not find the answers to the questions.   There is a chance that down the road we may find some answers to our questions, but there will still be many left unanswered.  When we can’t find the answers we are looking for then we start turning towards someone to blame.  For some, they blame someone close to them; like their spouse, a friend, anyone in their path at the moment, even their own self.   When the answers still aren’t there then the blame ends on God. 

 Am I guilty of this?  You bet, I have blamed myself and I have blamed God.  I’ve asked these questions over and over; when I couldn’t find the answers I began to blame myself.  When I still didn’t find the answers, I turned to something that I thought had control over everything.  I turned to blaming God. 

Believe me; I blamed God for this for a while.  At first I blamed myself.  Then I blamed myself and God.   And last, I just blamed God.  To me, I wondered how could God put anyone through this and why would he.  If he could do this, then he could fix it right?  I also began to wonder if God really existed.  Because if he truly existed, then why did I feel like he walked away from me and left me stranded, filled with so many questions.  Above all, why when I begged, pleaded, and called out did I feel like I was alone and my thoughts and prayers were no longer being answered. 

After reading a book recommended to me from someone who had walked the path of miscarriage, “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People”, my perspective has changed greatly.  I have learned that God doesn’t choose to bad things or good things to people.  He doesn’t look at you and say you were good here you go, or you were bad here you go.  That’s karma.  Instead God takes what happens in our lives and uses those experiences to shape us.  Those experiences are what guide us down our path. 

We didn’t do anything wrong.  Our miscarriage was something that was totally out of our control.  In fact, it was bit of a fluke and the chances of it happening again that way are even more less likely to happen.  Have I turned away from God during this time, no not really.  But, I have gotten mad at him, yelled at him, begged and pleaded, unloaded on him, and been at a total loss for words on what to say.

I know we all have our own beliefs.  With loss the beliefs may change, weaken, get strong, or go away completely.  Other than holding on tightly to my family, especially my husband and the strong relationship we have, I have been holding on to God.  Though sometimes my spirit was frayed and I questioned God (a lot) he was still there.  I encourage you to rebuild and strengthen the relationships you have and can believe in.  Now is not the time to turn away from those, no matter how angry you may get.  Hold on tight to what is steadfast in your life.

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