Wednesday, October 30, 2013

1st Grandson

My husband's side of the family has been rocking a baby girl streak for over three years now.  First was my niece Maris, then Gwenevere, then three more girls, then my stillborn niece Meah.  Not long after Meah was born still, my husband and I found out that the twins I were carrying were a girl and a boy!!  The girl streak was officially over, the first grandson was on his way.  Two months later the first grandson came into this world and quickly left.

Now, over one year later we've welcomed another niece into the world and this week came our first nephew.  Although he is our first nephew, he is not the first grandson.  My son James will always hold that title, even if my husband and I are the only ones to recognize it.  I knew that eventually someone in the family would have another boy, it was bound to happen.  I just didn't realize how much it would hurt.  

Micah and I will hopefully have another baby someday, and that baby may be a boy.  However, he will not be our first son, he will be our second.  I realize that I view my children in a different light than the rest of the family.  To me they are just as real as my living daughter.  I felt them kicking in my belly, gave birth to them, watched them wiggle in my arms and watched them die in my husbands arms.  Not many people got to see them alive, including everyone in my husband's family.  His parents were able to come visit us that night and hold our babies, but they were already gone.  To my husband's siblings and step siblings, James and Penelope are nothing more than pictures and ashes in matching heart urns.  I understand that to most people my babies are nothing but gone.

With these feeling of sadness come equal pangs of guilt.  Why can't I just be happy?!  Someone has brought another beautiful, healthy baby into this world and I just feel bitter.  I hate that this is the person that I am.  I am so tired of being the grieving mother, I just wish I could move on.  I knew from day one that this process of grieving would be the biggest challenge of my life, and some days I am just not up for it.  Today is one of those days.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Little Known Secret of a Berieved Parent

I love my child more than you love your child, there, I said it.  I am not saying this to be cruel or hurtful.  I am not doubting how much love you have for your child.  I am saying this because as any bereaved parent can tell you, it is true.  I am completely aware of how much love a parent has for their child.  From the moment I saw my daughter's puffy squishy face I fell hard for her.  It's not the kind of love you have for a friend, or sibling or even spouse.  It is it's own unique brand it is is unbreakable.

When I say that I fell hard for my daughter I mean it.  People tell you that until you become a parent you can never imagine what that love feels like.  That is true.  I can't even begin to explain how much love I felt for my daughter from the moment I held her in my arms My heart felt like it was going to explode.  I literally couldn't take my eyes off of her.  While there are many people in my life that I love, this love was so much more intense.  I am not saying that I love my daughter more than my husband, I don't.  There is no way to compare the two types of love, parental and romantic.  All I know is if I met my husband for the first time covered in blood and amniotic fluid and he was naked and crying I don't think it would have been the same.

From my experience of having a child and knowing that kind love I do not doubt any parent's love for their child.  Even in those moments when their patience is being tested to the max while their toddler is sprawled out on the grocery aisle floor flailing wildly and the parent is wondering if they can just walk away and pretend it is someone Else's child, there is love.  It is a deep, ever growing, unbreakable love.  It's the kind of love that enables a parent to get through the sleepless nights of caring for a newborn.  It's the kind of love that endures the years of teenage angst.  It is powerful stuff.

Even with the knowledge that I have of how deep a parent's love is for their child I can say with confidence that I love my child more.  It is hard to explain how much deeper my love is now for my daughter than it was fourteen months ago, but it is.

After seeing two of my children die in front of my eyes, in the comfort of their father's arms, I am changed.  I know that Penelope and James have given us many gifts, but the one that I am most thankful for is how they deepened my love for Gwenevere.  There is not a moment that goes by that I am not overwhelmed with gratitude for my oldest daughter.  There are many times that I just look at her and my eyes well up with tears.  I revel in the miracle of her mere presence.  She is here, she is amazing, and she is my child.  

I have had many people tell me how my story has impacted their life.  They hold their babies a little closer, give their children a few more hugs, and appreciate them a little more.  I have know this feeling as well.  Before my twins were born a close family member's daughter was born still.  My heart ached for her family.  I cried many tears over their loss.  I touched my own pregnant belly and I felt guilty that my babies were still here and her baby was gone.  I felt lucky.  But to say that I was equally affected by her loss would be untrue.  It wasn't until the death of my own children that I really knew what loss and despair felt like.

While I am appreciative of how my love for my daughter has changed since the death of my twins, I still wish it had never happened.  I with that no other families ever have to go through this type of loss. Yes, I love my child more than parents who have never been through a loss do.  But I would trade places with them in a heartbeat.   Because I can't, I will relish this new love that I have for Gwenevere.  I know a special kind of love that most mother's will never truly understand.