Thursday, August 28, 2014

Different kinds of love

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. It may be weird but I thought I would share anyway since it has been VERY real to me especially the past few months. You may be able to relate.

There are different kinds of love, well that's obvious you may think. Of course I don't love my husband the same way I love my kids or my parents. Yeah that's very clear and easy to recognize. But what about the love for our kids. I've discovered that I love each of my boys in a different way. Granted, all 3 of them are in different places right now and I am inclined to think that's were the difference lies.

Evan died and it was horrible, extremely painful and devastating. I loved seeing him in my belly on the ultrasounds. I enjoyed feeling him and dreaming if how he would be, what he would look like. I miss him terribly and what I miss the most is that I never got to really know him. He never took a breathe outside my womb, we never heard his voice. We never got to see his personality develop. We didn't get to really know him and I think that's what makes our love for him different.

Ethan is here with us, he has been for almost 15 months now, when did that happen? Since he was born we've spent countless hours getting to know him. Celebrating his milestones, nursing him when he's sick, disciplining him, working to mold him, getting frustrated at him, and then forgiving him. He has filled our house and life with a joy and chaos that we never knew before. We've had to learn to put his needs before ours. We've been intentional about spending time with him, teaching him, enjoying him. Our life changed in a very different way than it did when Evan was born. A way we didn't expect and we hadn't experienced before.

We loved Ethan when he was in my tummy but all the time we've invested in him and the time we've had to get to know him has changed that love. We don't love him the same way we love Evan. In a way the love seems deeper and greater but it's only because we know him in a way we never knew our Evan.

Same thing with baby. We love him very much but we don't know him yet. We haven't spent nearly as much time caring for him as we've had his brothers. I'm sure our love for him will change the moment they place him in our arms and will change even more as we spend time with him.

I guess this is why parents wonder, will I be able to love my second child as much as I love my first? It's not because you don't love them already it's because you don't know them and it's hard to imagine loving someone else as much.

It doesn't matter though if it's different kinds of love, I LOVE my boys and I wouldn't trade any of them for the world!

Monday, August 25, 2014

On pain and Rainbow Babies

Something has been weighing in my mind since we got pregnant with Ethan and today I re-read this quote and thought it might be a good time to share: 

We call rainbow babies to those born after a loss.
They are beauty after the storm.
We did not know about the concept of Rainbow Babies before we lost our Evan. We didn't really know about Rainbow Babies until we had our Ethan.

Having a Rainbow Baby is an interesting thing.

Losing a child changes you in many many ways. It changes the way you see the world, faith, and even yourself. Things that used to be important are not anymore and things that you never thought about now are the center of your thoughts. 

When you get the opportunity to be a parent to another baby, one that stays with you on this side of Heaven, you cherish more, you hold tighter, you love deeper. But here is the thing, having a Rainbow Baby doesn't "make up" for your loss. There is no replacing the precious life that is no longer with you. It doesn't make it all OK. It doesn't make you forget. It doesn't take the pain away. Experience has taught me that at times it even makes your heart hurt a little bit more because you find yourself thinking "If he were here, he would be...". It makes you miss what you'll never have. It makes you wonder how it would be.

You really never forget and you shouldn't. Evan is as much a part of our family as any other of our children. We love to talk about him. We love it when people ask or talk about him. We want our kids on earth to know they have a brother in Heaven. We know he was real and we like it to be acknowledged as such. He is and forever will be a very important part of our family. The way we love him and the way we love our babes on Earth may be different but we love him nonetheless. That is a topic for another post.

So that's where my heart is. As the picture says the rainbow doesn't mean the storm never happened (even a double rainbow) it means we get the privilege of enjoying something beautiful even in the midst of the pain. For that I am thankful.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

When people ask

Ever since I was pregnant with Ethan it's been a common occurrence and I'm sorry to say that I haven't figured it out yet. Most interactions begin with "How far along?", that's an easy one. Then it is inevitably followed by "Is this your first?", that's when it gets complicated.

Let me be clear not complicated for me, I know Ethan is not my first. The answer is VERY clear in my heart and in my head. "No, this is my second. My first one is in Heaven, he's not in my arms or running around but he is still my first born." Well if you know the whole story Evan is really the third, so Ethan is the 4th and so on, see how it gets complicated? 

The thing is though, most people are not ready for a truthful answer. They are not asking because they really want to know. They just want to make conversation, like they're talking about the weather. So, here is what I haven't figured out. Sometimes, just to spare them of an awkward moment, I'll just answer "Yes, he is", and immediately after that I feel guilty. I feel I'm betraying my Evan. Does he not count? Why should I care more about this stranger than I care about honoring the place my baby boy has in my heart and our family? 

Sometimes I say "No, we have one in Heaven and he is our second", depending on the person the reactions will vary. Mostly it gets awkward and they try to change the subject. Rarely they compassionately just say "I'm so sorry!". I can count with one hands the times when their response has been of genuine interest and compassion "What happened?... I'm so sorry...", those are my favorite because it gives me the chance to share my boy with the world. When I do this I sometimes feel bad for making them feel bad or sad or awkward but at the end of the day I think, well they asked, right?

Here is what I've learned. When you ask a question you need to be ready for the answer no matter what it may be. If you don't think you are ready for the answer then don't ask! That's the cold truth. There is another side of things which I have also learned. If I hadn't gone through what I have gone through there is no way I would have the awareness I do about loss, so I can't expect everybody to have the same awareness if they haven't experienced what I have. 

So, I am just as ignorant about other people's experiences (pain, sickness, chronic sickness, different types of loss, etc) as others are about the loss I've lived through. All I can do is be kind and understanding when asked and when asking. When giving an answer and when receiving an answer I was not prepared to get. Bottom line:

It is a simple truth yet a very important one to live by. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

My first guest post!

So earlier this month I was contacted by Cortney over at The Mommyhood Project via Instagram. I looked her up and found out she has a very similar story as I do. We both share deep loss and we both want our story to be known so others can have hope. She is hosting a series called Life After Child Loss on her blog and she invited me to be a part of it. 

I was super excited because I think the more people can hear our stories the better. One, because if they are going through what we've gone through they won't feel alone. Two, because when you've gone through such pain you don't want it to be in vain and if my story encourages 1 person then there is some purpose in it. 

I will be sharing Cortney's story next week but for now please go over and read my blog post on her page here. You can also hang around and leave some comment love for her.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Showing my blog some love

So I'm getting ready to make my blog public. I know it hasn't exactly been private but since I started it back in 2011 I haven't acquired any regular readers. My guess is because nobody I know in real life knows about it. It's been a struggle in my heart to let close people know about it or not. It's a lot easier to be vulnerable and open with strangers but it is time. I want my story to be shared and to touch people that may need to hear that loss sucks and it is hard but there is always hope! 

Anyway, in preparation for this step I've been trying to give my blog a face lift and add some features that I think necessary. I spent about two days trying to add social media icons and I just wasn't having any success until I found this you tube video 

Super simple, fast, and clear, right?

I love to design my own stuff but I am not very savvy regarding saving images for the web and re sizing and all that other good stuff so I found these and fell in love with them! I am thankful for talented people that are willing to share their skills with the community. Thank you Pancake Ninja! 

If you are trying to add social media icons to your blog go check these two resources, it will save you lots of time and frustration!