Monday, April 12, 2010

Facing the Firsts

Butterfly Mommies
This is another question being asked on the butterfly mommies site and will be the topic of their next radio show.

"What were some of the 'firsts' that you encountered after your loss? How do you plan to, or how have you dealt with special anniversaries and holidays and the memory of your little one?"

I find this question quite ironic.  Usually when we talk about "firsts" in connection with "babies" we are talking about joyful milestones. Instead now I write about "firsts" after losing a baby.  My heart saddens at that, but I am happy to share.

My life was turned upside down when I lost Ashlynn. Therefore, everything was a first as I left a world of excitement and anticipation and entered a new world of grief and loss.  Here are a few of the firsts:

First time to return to the daily responsibility of caring for my son.  This one was pretty major and I felt it was impossible for me at the time.  I didn't want to get out of bed, much less be responsible for another person.  In addition, this was hard, because many people told me to love extra on Andrew as if the pain would be lessened by doing so.  At first, when I looked at him the pain was greater, because I had already thought of him as the big brother.  And because I had already imagined another by his side and imagined how our family would look as God grew my heart in love for another child. I also felt guilty for the me that my son was losing out on because of my grief. God graciously met me and carried me through as I moved forward one step at a time.  I entered into a new place of grieving as I embraced my son realizing that he was "the baby" once more. 
First time returning to church. Equally hard.  I really wanted to see all of my friends who had supported me by preparing meals and sending words of encouragement and prayers.  But when I got there, I could not talk to anybody.  I paced from place to place as the pain and shock of losing Ashlynn left me without words to those who knew.  When I finally talked to someone, I broke down and went sobbing to my car.
First time someone mentioned my pregnancy. When someone asked when I was due, it wasn't as much hurtful as it was uncomfortable.  After that moment, I tried to stay clear of those who may not have heard about our loss.  I figured, "If I avoid them long enough, they will either hear, or they will notice that I'm not growing."
First month mark. A very hard day in which all of the emotions that began the day I found out flooded my being.
First holiday. Easter.  Another hard day and I felt guilty about not being more joyful.

In all of this I have tried to surround myself with trustworthy friends.  It has helped me a lot to have people to see and things to look forward to in the midst of the pain.

Things still to come:
First time holding a newborn
First due date anniversary.
1 yr anniversary.
How do I plan on dealing with them?  I'm not sure, except that I will not be surprised by the pain that I am sure will come.  I will hurt and allow myself to do so.  On the due date I may do something special with my family or I may go to the beach alone.  Time will tell.  I hope to deal with the things that come with grace towards myself and hope and faith in my faithful Father as I remain honest before Him.  Most likely I will write and paint.


My Life as a Mom said...

Don't hesitate to reach out to others during those anniversary's. I'm here to just listen and I know others are too.

Marilyn said...

your first birthday in a way will be hard as well (i suck at remembering birthdays)

i avoided my birthday after my personal hardship.

it may have been the particulars (almost dying) but it felt wrong to be joyful.

i totally get the pain of the firsts...

i second C's comment - reach out in those times (even if it's just a quick email requesting extra prayer)

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