Remember, this is "A Dose of Truth Serum" writing...so it continues....
As amazing as it was this morning, I cannot lie, I was a little sad in my heart. I took out Bridgette's gifts to put by her tree and as tears rolled down my cheeks I wished her a "Happy Heavenly Valentine's Day" (and all other 16 children in Heaven with her), then I returned to being Mommy to my living Angel. I don't write about these things for sympathy. I decided to begin writing about these truths this year because I realize there are so many women and men out there that are hurting, that have experienced these same things my husband and I have, yet they are living a hidden emotional life. Some have no one to turn to, no one that will understand, and most don't even try, they just don't really understand unless they've been through the loss of children. Someone has to bridge the gap and let them know that they are not alone and that although the pain may never go away it does get better! But, it's a choice that has to be made - You have to wake up and keep living, even when you don't want to.
According to the Mayo Clinic, 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriages. There are roughly 4 million pregnancies reported annually - that's a lot of losses! A lot of these women end up with known fertility issues which prevent most them from having children naturally. That's the reason my husband and I had to eventually opt for In vitro fertilization (better known as IvF). We were actually one of the lucky ones. If memory serves me correct, there were 50 couples in our class, more than 1/2 (we were told) dropped out within the first few weeks, or (unfortunately) their IvF didn't take at all, and the rest were successful. I wish I had the actual numbers - but the reality is, it's a tough road to travel. The women are highly emotional, the men are walking on eggshells because their wives are on the edge and on fertility drugs that mess with their emotions (more than normal), and the overall raw emotions that are going on internally is just indescribable at best as they're watching $20k flow from their bank accounts with only a hope, prayer and dream - but no guarantee.
I share this "truth" because I still hurt and it's been almost 4 years and I do have an amazing daughter to hold and love and most don't even have that honor. Sadly, there are so many woman (many friends of mine) that will never have the joy of being a Mommy and it's heartbreaking! And for the rest, they just don't really understand the remnants and broken pieces that remain to be put back together or that is left behind after a loss. I am fortunate, I have an amazing family, that most don't have, so I never walked this journey alone, although I can't tell you the times I did feel so alone. Before we had Alexis I ran from my hurt and pain, I was empty, I turned to alcohol, dove into my career and horses and even neglected my husband. But in the end my saving grace was finding my way back to Christ and making Jesus the center of my heart and life again. It wasn't easy, and the "talks" I still have with God are probably questionable to most 'Christians.' But, it's how I deal with it. I know that I am blessed and I don't take a day of Mommy-hood for granted, but it doesn't mean that I don't have a dull heartache that will never go away. It just eases with time as I find my strength in the Lord and as I battle to let the scars heal.
If you know of someone that has lost a child, whether it be to a miscarriage or a child of any age, don't judge them if you notice they change - be loving, supportive and for god's sake please don't say "everything happens for a reason." That's the quickest way to tick them off and make them just want to slap you! :) Change is inevitable and will happen - some take years to come back to a point of being able to function in every day life and others simply never return to the person they were before. Just love them through it!
Grief is a process and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. It's taken me 4 years to finally come to grips with losing Bridgette and to a point where I'm ready to purchase her headstone for her little grave. I'm not proud of that because my baby has only had a marker to note her resting place - but I just couldn't find what I wanted and every time I tried I broke! Strength has come back one day at a time and it's been a long road, but the greatest part of all is that I never quit getting up, getting dressed and showing up! After 17 losses I still managed to put one foot in front of the other and I'm proud of the person, Mommy and wife I am today - I'm FAR from perfect but I'm making progress! I've managed to continue to excel in my career, start a side business and still manage to keep my sanity (okay, 'most' of my sanity)....but it's been by Grace & Mercy!
Extend grace & mercy to those you meet - even if you don't know their story, don't prejudge -- just love! We're all fighting a battle - some just aren't as open and honest about it yet! As Glennon Melton says, "Life is Brutal. But it is also Beautiful. Life is Bruitful!" Wake up and enjoy today - for tomorrow's not guaranteed!!
As I said before, if you take nothing else away from my blogs - I pray that you will never forget that you are "wonderfully and fearfully made" (Psalm 139:14). Never forget that you are the son or daughter of the almighty King of King and that you do not have to "BE" what the world expects you to be, but you do have to be what makes you happy! Do something kind today, be nice to others, and respect those you interact with. Strive to make a difference in others lives, but more importantly make a difference in your own life. Life is messy....thank God for Bounty paper towels, Grace & Mercy!
"Pretty words aren't always true....and true words aren't always pretty.""And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)