Losing your child is one of the most deeply personal experiences you can go through. And everyone who has gone through it has their own very personal experience. Though, our grieving processes may be similar. The support we receive, the way we respond for the next year(s) of our lives may be similar. The actual child you said good-bye to is yours and yours alone.
It was in July of 2008 when we lost our first child. Almost 5 years ago. That is so hard to believe. Everytime I see a picture of a 13 week pregnant belly on facebook or instagram, I think of our third. Will. I still vividly remember friends touching my barely showing belly on a Sunday night. I have a few friends who got pregnant the exact same time I did with my first three and to this day, their little ones milestones always makes me wander into a fantasy world of “I wonder if our little one would be doing that…saying that…in love with that disney character, too”.
Now that we have Emara, my imagination grows a little more connected to the idea that we might have quite a feisty brood on our hands in heaven. I wonder if any of our 4 babies have curly hair or long legs or a dimple. I wonder if I got the red head I always wanted. I sometimes feel so guilty for not naming any of our babies besides Will. But, although we could have found out the gender of each (except our 4th), we were unaware at the time that this was possible. And although Scott and I both have the same feelings about the gender of each child….we felt worse about naming our little boy something girly (or vice versa) than we did not naming them at all. So, we wait for heaven.
My first three babies were the reason I ran a marathon. The reason I did not miss one training day for 5 months. The reason I went to an American Idol audition (something I should be embarrassed about…but I wanted to conquer a fear and make them proud and so I went). They are the driving force behind why I have not spent one second of time complaining about anything pregnancy or anything parenting. They are the reason I am not afraid of finances or job security or car issues, etc. They are the reason why I know that God is good. That He is real. That He is loving. My source of hope and life. They, though so tiny and with me for mere months at a time, have made the largest impact on my heart and life. They literally changed who I am.
And now, we have a 4th baby in heaven. And it happened so fast that I did not even see it coming. I had never experienced that short of a pregnancy, was unaware I was pregnant until I was miscarrying. And with our adoption trauma that took place the next week, I went from grieving one baby to the next and so I don’t even think I have fully processed all of that yet. In fact, counting up the bags of peanut butter m&m’s I have consumed in the last month, I know I haven’t.
There are a few songs out there that every single momma who has lost a child knows by heart. One of them is a song called “I Will Carry You”. I don’t put it on very often because it always causes an instant tidal wave of tears….but sometimes, I do play it. And I have a good cry and spend time missing them. The title alone says it all for us earthly momma’s with heavenly babies. We do carry them. Always.
Though the connection to the darkness and pain has dulled with time (thank GOD), my connection to them has stayed so strong, even grown. I used to be petrified that I would forget them…forget a due date…forget to think about them throughout my week. That once we had children here on earth, that I would get so busy and unintentionally forget about them.
But, I haven’t. And I never will.
I miss you. All of you. I will always carry you in my heart. And wear my symbols of you proudly on my hands and neck. And talk about how you changed my life. We will celebrate your birthdays. We will include you in our family always. And your little sister, Emara will know all about you one day when she is older.
I am the proud momma to my feisty and sweet Emara, my “piece of my heart” baby in Ethiopia and my 4 precious souls in heaven.
And today, I am spending my time thanking God for all of you.