Tag Archive | love

Heading Back to Work Guilt-Free

It has been exactly 31 weeks since I gave birth to my amazing little man.  Hard to believe it’s been that long.  Almost every waking hour of each one of those weeks, I have spent with Oliver.  The main thing on my mind morning, noon, and night has been his needs.  I have been blessed – he’s an easy baby.  He’s a really easy baby and he’s so filled with joy that the payoff for all the hard work (because, I am the first to admit… being a Mommy is really hard work) is bigger than I could ever describe or imagine.

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Tomorrow, I officially return to work.  I have been so blessed to be able to take an extended maternity leave, and though I can’t honestly say I have loved EVERY minute… I have loved most.  Had you asked me two weeks ago how I was feeling about going back to work, I would have welled up.  The thought of not being with Oliver every day made me sad.  He is at an age where he is discovering new things at a rapid pace and I don’t want to miss anything.  He plays more independently and yet interacts with me all the time (and almost always with a big smile that just melts my heart).  It will be hard to not be with him every day, but I’m ready.  And that’s OK.

Perhaps I made this up in my head but I feel like there’s an expectation of Mom’s who have lost a baby to want to be with their living children all the time.  I lost one so I should spend every possible second with the one I have here on Earth… I think I put that expectation on myself in the beginning.  I fear being judged for needing time away, for needing time for myself, and for needing to work.  I then realized that suffering a loss does not make parenting and being a Mommy to a living child any less hard.  I still had to get up in the middle of the night, I still struggled to be successful with nursing, I still struggled to find time to take a shower, and I still felt the level of exhaustion only Mom’s can understand.  All while I continue to grieve my precious Maya.  I have a profound appreciation for my beautiful boy.  I say every day how truly blessed we are.  I can be happy and feel blessed while also feeling stressed and overwhelmed and tired.  And I will feel all of these things guilt-free because I am human.

I will also return to work guilt-free.  I am absolutely meant to be a Mom and I really do love being Maya and Oliver’s Mommy.  But I also love teaching.  Last week, I went into school to begin setting up my new classroom and it felt so good.  I started to feel pieces of my old self return.  I realized that though it’s been 7 months since I’ve taught, it will all come back to me.  Just as being a Mommy came (mostly) natural to me, so does being a teacher.  It’s what I’m meant to do, and I believe that being back in the classroom will make me a better Mommy.

So, on this last official day of my summer vacation/maternity leave, I am focusing on being grateful rather than sad.  I am grateful that I had 7 months where my only job was to take care of my sweet baby boy.  I am grateful that he is going to a wonderful daycare and will be well taken care of.  I am grateful that he will have the opportunity to make friends and socialize.  I am grateful that I have a job to go back to that I love.  I am grateful for wonderful colleagues and friends that I have missed seeing every day.  I am grateful for my amazing husband who has been so supportive and sensitive during this transition.  I am grateful for my precious Oliver who makes every day more exciting than the last and whose glorious smile makes every day bright.

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Permission to be Happy

It’s been quite a while since I’ve come to this space.  I haven’t needed to, but I’ve wanted to.  I miss writing.  My goal is to write once a week… we’ll see how that goes.

Life has changed.  Life has really changed.  I have changed.  And here’s why…

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Introducing Oliver Raymond.  He was born on Monday, January 20th (Martin Luther King Day!) at 11:17am.  He weighed 8lbs, 2oz and was 22 and a half inches long.  He is perfect.

In the last 14 weeks, I have felt every emotion you could possibly name.  I think that having a baby is the biggest life-changing event anyone goes through, and it’s impossible to prepare for it mentally and emotionally.  No matter how many babies I have been around growing up, there was no possible way to prepare for having to care for a baby 24/7.  It’s hard.  And with Oliver’s arrival and the immediate adjustment, came a lot of different emotions.

However, this post isn’t about everything I have felt and the roller coaster I have been on over the last 3 months.  This post is about something that I said yesterday during my daily conversation with my mom…

“I am the happiest I have ever been.”

At first, I was a little shocked that came out of my mouth… how could that be?  How dare I?  Shouldn’t I never be as happy as I was before Maya died?  Shouldn’t there be a perpetual sadness that looms overhead?  In that moment, I gave myself permission.  Permission for the above statement to be true.  It is true.  And it’s OK.

In the days following Maya’s death, a dear friend sent me a message.  She had experienced a similar loss one year prior.  She told me that any feeling I had was normal as long as it did not pose a danger to myself or others.  This advice has stuck with me since then and I repeat this mantra to myself nearly every day.  Throughout the process of grieving the loss of Maya, which I continue to do, I would remember these words through bouts of anger, frustration, disbelief, and happiness.  Now, my grief looks different.  I am no longer defined by my loss as I was in the months immediately following it.  The grief, though still with me, has quieted down.  And with that comes feelings of guilt.  I have felt guilty for feeling happy and I have felt guilty for feeling tired and frustrated when up in the middle of the night.

Today, I am liberating myself and will no longer feel guilt.  I am giving myself permission to be happy.  And permission to not be happy all the time.  I am replaying my friend’s words in my head as they still hold true.  What I have realized is that attempting to rationalize my feelings, whether they be positive or negative, is a waste of time.

Oliver is amazing.  He brings me so much joy and hope for the future.  I cherish every day that I have with him and am grateful for what my life has become.

I need to believe that Maya is proud of me.  I need to believe that she is OK with the fact that I do not grieve full time as I once did.  I need to believe that she wants me to live on and be the best Mommy to Oliver that I can be.  I wish she were here… she’d be a wonderful big sister.

 

Happy 1st Birthday Maya!

Dearest Maya,

Happy Birthday my darling girl!  I can’t believe it has been a whole year!  So much has changed!  We live our lives for you and are so proud to be your parents.  Mommy has been and will continue wearing pink every day this month for you, my little angel.

We had a beautiful celebration yesterday.  We dedicated your garden surrounded by so many people who love you and miss you very much (and who were all wearing pink!)  Your little life has had a huge impact on this world.  You have taught your Mommy and Daddy how to love in a new way.

I wish you were here to celebrate your birthday with us!  We would have gone out to breakfast and probably taken you to the zoo or the aquarium.  We would have showered you with presents and lots of love!

We will have cake for you and sing to you this evening.  I know you are here with us.

Happy Happy Happy Birthday my sweet Maya.

We love you always and forever!

Love Love Love!

Mommy


Nine Months

Dear Maya,

Oh my has this month flown by!  Mommy has been very busy at work but there still hasn’t been a day when I don’t think of my sweet girl.  This weekend, the show that Mommy assistant directed is performing.  It’s so fun – lots of bright colors and fun music.  I’ve been thinking all weekend about whether or not I would have brought you to one of the performances.  I think I would have tried.  I think you would have been mesmerized by the whole thing – falling in love with musical theatre early just like your Mommy.

It feels like winter doesn’t want to end.  I think both of us would have been itching to be able to go outside and play at this point.  The sun is shining and the snow is melting (slowly), but there is still a chill in the air.  Mommy and Daddy have lots of things we are looking forward to doing this spring/summer that involve being outside and finding joy in the beautiful world around us.  We both wish you were here to enjoy it too.

We continue to find things we can do to honor you and keep your memory alive.  Two weeks ago, Daddy and a whole bunch of Mommy’s friends ran into the frigid ocean wearing pink!  It was a fundraiser for one of the many organizations that has honored your little life.  We had a really great time and it was so nice to spend a day focused on you and only you.  I hope you realize Maya just how many people love you!

Mommy still gravitates towards anything pink!  Everything pink reminds me of you and it’s starting to catch on with others.  Occasionally, I’ll receive a message from a friend of something pink that reminded them of you.  It definitely would have been your color!  Today, I purchased pink tourmaline earrings that I will wear daily.  This way, on the days I’m not wearing pink you are still with me (I still wear my necklace daily too).  I absolutely LOVE these earrings!  They are the prettiest shade of pink and I know you would have loved them too!

At this point, we’d have been marveling over how much you’ve grown.  You’d probably have some words that we understood and dozens others that we didn’t understand.  You’d have favorite foods and a solid routine.  You’d have been a great sleeper just like Mommy.  We’d have gone shopping for a beautiful spring wardrobe and Daddy would have to remind Mommy that you were going to outgrow your clothes quickly and that I shouldn’t go too crazy.  This would have been such a fun time of year with you!

I say it every month Maya and I mean it – we love you and miss you so much.  We love you and miss you more and more with each passing day.  We feel your presence and see the lives you have touched.  We live life differently finding ways to keep your memory alive.  We love finding new ways to include you in the things that we do.

I love you my angel – always and forever.

Love always,

Mommy

Eight Months

My Dearest Maya,

I can’t believe so much time has passed.  I think this is the first time since the day you were born that the 16th falls on a Saturday – so I counted the weeks: 35 weeks since you were born and left us far too soon.  I carried you for 34 weeks, 6 days.  You have now been gone longer than you were with us and that breaks my heart.  It reminds me that I will live the rest of my life without you here and that time must pass.  I want so badly to go back to that day 35 weeks ago – I would have held you longer, given you more kisses, and taken more pictures of your beautiful face.

It’s now the middle of winter, which is always a tough time of year.  I can’t help but wonder how having you here would have made it more fun.  Adorable sweaters, cute little hats and mittens, and a little red nose would make this time of year not so bad.  We had our first major blizzard last weekend.  I thought about what it would have been like to dress you up as a little snow bunny and take pictures of you out in the snow.  I thought about holding you up at the window watching Daddy shovel as you marveled at the pretty snowflakes falling.  I thought about us all being cozy and warm inside the house together grateful for some extra family days at home.

We’ve passed what would have been your first Valentine’s Day.  I would have dressed you in the most adorable pink outfit and put pink bows in your hair.  You would have made Mommy and Daddy some kind of Valentine craft while at day care and we would have loved all over you when we got home.  We also would have given you some kind of Valentine themed toy or book.  It would have been a special day.

I imagine at this point you’d be trying lots of different kinds of foods, crawling all over the place and possibly pulling yourself up.  You’d be discovering new things every day and babbling all the time.  I think you’d love your room.  Every time I walk by I think of you looking at the beautiful mural your Daddy painted you.  I wonder if you’d have had a favorite character that you enjoyed looking at.

I hope you know how much you are loved and missed.  We think of you all the time and every day we find more and more that reminds us of you.  I’ve noticed that most mornings the sky is pink when I leave for work.  I think that’s you saying good morning and I hope you hear me saying good morning back.  As we slowly move into spring and the flowers start to grow, I know I will feel you around us more and more.

I miss you Maya.  I love you so much and am forever blessed that you are and will always be part of my life.

Love and miss you always and forever!

Love,

Mommy

I Used to Like Roller Coasters…

Yup!  I used to love the thrill of being whipped around, feeling weightless, strapped down, and completely out of control.  I used to love roller coasters – until I ended up on this one.  This one never ends.  For the last 7 months and 4 days, I have been on a roller coaster with no end in sight.  No place to catch my breath and stop screaming for just a short period of time.

I’m so tired.  The constant shift of emotions does not stop.  I have bad days and better days, good weeks and weeks that seem like they will never end.  I perform a 6 hour production every day at school.  My students have no idea what goes on inside my head – and most of my colleagues don’t either.  That’s how it should be.  At this point, I should be able to function effectively and do my job well – and I am.  But it’s so exhausting.

Back in December, Hackie and I took our dog, Halee to the vet for her annual check-up.  She received several routine vaccinations that she had gotten before.  Almost immediately, I knew something was wrong.  Halee became very lethargic and though she never lost consciousness, she was unresponsive (wouldn’t look up).  She was having an allergic reaction.  After some antihistamines and about 10 minutes, she was wagging her tail and on her way to acting like herself.  In those 10 minutes, I spiraled into panic and extreme upset.  Thank goodness my husband was there.  All I could think of was that I couldn’t handle another loss.  I needed my dog.  It was awful.

I’m on my way to understanding that grief is a roller coaster and that it will never end.  I get that there will be ups and downs, long climbs and sudden drops.  I will forever live with the pain of losing my daughter.  When it gets unbearable is when the roller coaster jerks unexpectedly.  You know the sharp hairpin turns that you don’t see coming that leave you with awful whiplash?  That’s what the vet visit was – an awful unexpected jerk that was just plain horrible.

Traveling the road to another baby has been a roller coaster in and of itself.  Each month hopeful.  Each month convinced that this month will be it.  Each month new symptoms that surely mean it’s happened.  Each month extreme disappointment when I realize my hopes and dreams will have to continue to wait.  I’m so tired.  Again, the roller coaster of emotions – fear, eager anticipation, frustration, and then guilt.  Guilt that perhaps I am too focused on getting pregnant again and not properly grieving the loss of the baby I already had.

I have come to realize that the more time that passes, the more unpredictable my grief becomes.  My sadness can be triggered in the most unexpected moments.  It used to be that I would replay the events of my labor and delivery in the car on the way to and from work.  Now, it does not follow a pattern.  It usually plays through my head once a day – but I never know when that will be.  My sadness is now connected to a feeling of disappointment.  My life is not what I want it to be.  It’s not what it is supposed to be.  As more time passes and the length of time between Maya and baby #2 increases, I grow more and more disappointed that I don’t have what I want and that it’s not in my control.

In the past month, Hackie and I have done some traveling.  Just after Christmas, we went to Washington DC for 4 days.  Hackie had never been and I hadn’t been in a long time.  We had so much fun.  Our days were packed with activities and we ate some amazing food.  We talked about Maya and about our future – fantasizing about traveling with our children.  We returned feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready for the new year.  We were also in the “convinced I’m pregnant” stage.  When we returned and found out I was not, the high I had been feeling shifted to a low.  I went back to feeling tired and disappointed.

Last weekend, Hackie and I flew down to Florida.  My parents are there for a few weeks and we needed a dose of warm weather.  The weather was gorgeous.  We had a wonderful time sitting on the beach, swimming, going to the aquarium, and enjoying my parents’ company.  We wrote Maya’s name in the sand and fantasized about coming back next year with a little baby and taking pictures on that beach.  I came back with a nice sunburn, a fresh batch of vitamin D, and a lot of energy.  Being in Florida made me realize that I probably have a case of the winter blues.  This is probably why I’ve been so tired.

So, Florida was an up, Washington DC was an up, getting unexpected gifts from friends is an up, having a great day with Hackie is an up, getting a look from Halee where it’s clear she is saying “I love you” is an up.  I feel them all and I try so hard to soak up the moment and to milk every ounce of joy that I can out of the feeling.  The lows are less predictable and are often hard to get past.  Walking by the empty nursery, seeing an infant car seat base in the car parked next to me at work, watching the young couple play ‘pass the baby’ while they take turns bowling.  Most of the time, the low moments are caused when I’m reminded of what I do not have.

Currently, I grieve two losses.  I grieve the loss of my precious Maya, which is something I will do for the rest of my life.  I also grieve the loss of the life I had envisioned for myself.  A life where taking care of myself and Hackie comes second to taking care of our child.  A life filled with sleepless nights, dirty diapers, tons of laundry, and most importantly lots of love and laughter.  I will never get my Maya back.  I know that.  However, I will get that life I had envisioned.  Someday I will take care of my child here on Earth.  Someday the grief of losing my baby girl will sit elsewhere in my brain as my primary role shifts from mourning the loss of my angel to caring for new life here on Earth.  Someday the roller coaster will feel different.

Six Months

Dear Maya,

Hi sweet girl!  I’ve felt you hanging around lately.  I was feeling quite sad as the holidays approached and then something shifted.  I was reminded that you have not been forgotten.  I’m continuing to find out just how many people have been effected by you and your precious little life.  More people all over the world are learning your name.  I have felt a virtual group hug by many near and far.  All the while, you whisper in my ear and tell me it’s going to be alright.

I believe you are safe.  I believe you are happy.  I believe you are proud of your mommy and daddy.  Still, I wish you were here with us.  We would have the Christmas tree up.  We would have lit the Hanukkah candles.  I think you would have loved looking at the lights and would have been mesmerized by the flickering candle flames.  We would have spoiled you so much – giving you new toys and books that you would surely have grown to love.  We would have dressed you up in the cutest holiday outfits!

I think you would have been sitting up by now and very into playing and discovering new tricks.  Your hair would have grown so quickly that I’d have had it in little pigtails with bows!  You would have been the center of attention at next week’s big family Hanukkah party!  You would have been showered with gifts and we would have all worked so hard to get you to laugh for the family picture.  Though, I think you would have hammed it up in front of the camera – super photogenic just like your mommy and daddy.  I know you are here with me and helping me move forward.  I’m not as sad as I use to be when I think about what life would be like with you here.  It’s my way of remembering you and thinking about you as much as I possibly can.

I know that you are helping Mommy and Daddy get through the holiday season.  We weren’t sure at first what to do, how to celebrate, if we even should celebrate…  One day, it became clear.  I think you are often bringing us clarity and lighting our path through our new normal.  We decided not to get a big tree.  Instead, we got you a tree!  A bright pink tree that sits in front of your Maya wall:

Do you love it!?  We have two ornaments on there.  The top one was given to us by your Auntie and Uncle and the bottom one we purchased for you!

We will get you at least one new ornament every year and eventually your little siblings will each pick one out or make one.  Your tree will be filled with love year after year!

I miss you so much Maya.  I am wearing pink today.  I’ve decided that from now on, I will wear pink on the 16th of every month.  The 16th is your very special day and for the rest of my life I will honor you on this day by wearing what I believe would have been your favorite color.  I have also been wearing pink to the holiday parties I’ve gone to, and bringing pink desserts as a way to include you!  It makes me feel really good that I’ve been figuring out ways to honor your life, share you with others, and have you with me no matter where I go or what I’m doing.

Continue to sit on my shoulder sweet girl.  I feel you there and I’m so grateful that you have touched so many others’ lives.  In these past six months you have done more for me than I could ever express.  You are simply amazing.

I love you my sweet angel, always and forever.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE,

Mommy

Four Months

Dear Maya,

Today you would have been 4 months old.  How exciting.  I think you would have been really developing a little personality.  You would have a cute little laugh, favorite songs, and an adorable smile.  We probably would have moved you to your crib by now.  We prepared your crib just 9 days before you were born.  A perfect white crib with adorable Winnie the Pooh sheets to go with your Winnie the Pooh nursery.  I think you would have loved your bumble bee mobile that plays music.  That crib has gone untouched – it still sits longing for you, just like Mommy and Daddy.

This past month has gone by faster than others.  Well, the beginning of it did.  I find myself measuring time by the 16th.  The last week or so has gone by very slowly and I am struggling to get through each day.  I know that time is precious and that life is a gift that can be taken at any moment.  I’m trying so hard to find joy every day and appreciate the life I have been given.  Sometimes though, it’s so hard to live my life knowing that you don’t get to live yours.

I lit a candle for you last night, as did many others whose lives you’ve somehow touched.  I light my candle for you just about every night.  I hope you feel it’s warmth.  I hope you know how much Mommy and Daddy love you.

Fall has set in.  There have been several nice crisp fall days.  When I get home from work, I know I should take Halee for a walk, but sometimes it’s hard because I want to be pushing a stroller.  I want to push you on the swings down at the playground.  I want you to feel the cool air and play in the leaves.  If you were here, I’d still be on maternity leave.  We would have spent a lot of time down at the park today – it was a beautiful day.

This past Saturday we did a March for Babies for you.  I think you were with us and gave us a gorgeous day with just one wispy cloud in the sky.  That was your mark on the day.  That was your way of letting us know you were there.  We had a big team – 17 who walked for you.  We raised lots of money in your name to help bring more healthy babies into the world.  It was a fulfilling day and I hope you were proud of your Mommy and Daddy.

I miss you more and more every day my precious baby girl.  I yearn for you and wonder what life would be like with you here.  I know we would have gone shopping a lot – especially now as you would probably have started outgrowing your clothes.  There are lots of people that love you and miss you.  I hope you can feel that.

I hope you are happy.  I hope you know how much we love you.  I hope you know how many people have been affected by you.  You are so special.  You are so missed.  You are so loved.

I love you always and you will forever be in my heart.

Love to the moon and back,

Mommy

An Emotional Weekend

I’m struggling today.  It’s been a very emotional weekend, and I’m lacking motivation.  I’m even having to force myself to write.  I feel like often now life is very rushed and very routine.  The work week follows a steady beat and the weekends are often filled with plans that involve coming and going and running out of time to do everything that needs to get done.  Then, a day like today finds its way in.  I had the day off, Hackie had to work.  I had no plans – just the typical household weekend stuff like laundry and grocery shopping.  I didn’t want to do anything.  I considered staying in bed and feeling sad, acknowledging that my loss and my grief are still very new.  I didn’t want to do that either.  So I forced myself to function today.  It took quite a bit of effort, but I made it through most of the day.

Now that I’ve spilled my feelings for the day, I will get on to what I really wanted to write about this evening – the weekend.

As I said, it was pretty emotional.  Saturday was my nephew’s first birthday party.  This is my best friend’s son.  During my pregnancy, I thought about his first birthday party.  I thought that it would most likely be Maya’s first party.  I thought about getting to show her off to my friend’s family.  I thought about finally not being the only one in her circle of friend’s without a child.  I was so excited.  After Maya died, she told me that she would understand if I couldn’t muster up the strength to be there.  I never thought twice about it.  I wanted to be there for her and for my nephew.  I wanted to celebrate with everyone and see her family, who is like my second family.  I prepared myself and acknowledged that the fact that I had specifically looked forward to bringing Maya might make this extra difficult.  What I did not prepare myself for was the fact that we were going to a first birthday party, and that Maya doesn’t get to have a first birthday party.  It was a gorgeous day and a wonderful party.  It was so nice to see my friend’s family.  It was nearing the end and Hackie and I were talking about getting ready to go.  I lost it.  I’m not even sure what thought it was that triggered my tears, but I lost it.  I tried to pull myself together, but it was so hard.  Maya should have been there.  I should have finally been able to relate to all the young mommies there.  I try so hard to be strong, but sometimes the raw grief creeps in in a way that can’t be avoided.  I felt so bad that I lost it on my nephew’s special day.  Everyone was very understanding and gave me such supportive hugs as I said goodbye through a mess of tears.  I am so blessed to have such amazing people in my life.

When I posted about the March for Babies, a wonderful reader left a comment informing me about Walk to Remember.  I looked it up, managed to register at the last minute, and Hackie and I went yesterday.  It was beautiful.  There was a ceremony held before the walk where some poems were read, songs were sung, and all the babies’ names were read.  It was so emotional.  It was nice to be able to cry and to know that I was surrounded by people who knew why and who understood my pain.  I read a lot of messages in the program that referred to rainbow babies and there were a lot of families there with young children.  It gave me hope.  I told Hackie that I hope to do the Walk to Remember every year and look forward to bringing our future rainbow babies there with us.

While it was definitely an emotional weekend, it was a very good weekend.  The fact that we lost Maya was very present and I felt the raw emotions that come with losing her.  Sometimes, it’s good for me to feel the pain – it helps me acknowledge her life and remember how much she has affected me.

Here are some pictures from the walk:

The front of the program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maya’s name in the program and our message to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maya’s name on the back of the t-shirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The perfect fall day for a beautiful walk in memory of our angel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll end this post with a poem that was included with the registration materials.  It resonates so much with me and makes my heart smile.  I love you Maya.  I walked for you yesterday and I will walk for you this coming Saturday.  I will walk for you for the rest of my days and never forget all that you’ve taught me.

A Walk To Remember

I walk to remember
the steps you’ll never take.
I carry you with me
as I firmly plant my feet.

Our trek started long ago,
before my belly swelled.
You were a love that grew–
like butterfly wings that beat.
Your gentle flutters then became
kicks upon which I would dwell.
And I would talk to you, sweet babe,
about the world you soon would meet.

The sun always hone upon us then–
when you were in my womb.
And I was eager to show you the world
that would have been your home.

How you’d have loved the sun shining–
blue skies without a cloud.
The autumn leaves turning–
the snow falling all around.
The flowers in the summer–
would have filled your eyes with smiles.
And the rain that might have fallen
would have caused you great surprise.

You would have traveled far with me–
holding me by the hand.
And I’d have shown you all I could–
more than I can imagine.

You hold my HEART tightly now,
as though we’re holding hands.
How far we’ve traveled, little one–
and my life with you has been sweet.
For I carry you in my heart
as I firmly plant my feet.

Kathie Mayo

Taking risks and being grateful

I was supposed to spend this summer taking care of my baby and learning how to be a mother.  Instead, I am faced with a summer with no plans, long days, and an empty, quiet house.  There have been days where I haven’t wanted to leave the house, see anyone, or talk to anyone.  There have been other days where I am more inclined to do something or to see one of my friends.  The difficult thing is that I am taking a risk with anything I do outside of the house.  I don’t know what will set me off or make me sad.

Eight days after I had Maya, I decided that I wanted to go to the zoo.  Part of the reason was that I knew my husband needed to get out of the house and I wanted to be outside.  I contacted my best friend because I wanted to see her kids and our husbands are close friends too.  My husband thought I was crazy for wanting to go to a place filled with children and babies and strollers.  My theory was that I live in this world which includes children and babies and strollers and unless I was going to go into hiding, I had to be OK with being around that.  It was a risk and looking back (it’s quite foggy), I think I’m glad I did it.

I also take a risk when I’m seeing someone I haven’t seen since Maya died.  I don’t know what to expect from them and they don’t know what to expect from me.  I am different now and that’s scary for all parties involved.  I have started to figure out who I am most comfortable with.  Last week, I sat with my best friend and just talked (she has two children).  We’ve been friends for more than 12 years and she’s more like a sister to me than a friend.  She is Maya’s aunt.  Anyway, the afternoon that I sat with her was so therapeutic.  I was able to talk openly about Maya and the healing process.  I was able to express my excitement of a brighter future without feeling judged.  This morning, I visited another friend who is also a mother of two.  Again, I talked about my experience openly and didn’t feel judged.  And again, it was so helpful.  As I reflected on this experience, I realized that I am being selective about who I surround myself with and who I choose to see.  I decided that it was OK to be selective.  I shared this realization with my mom and she summed it up very well: “You need to be around mothers.”  She is so right.  I may not have Maya in my arms, but I am a mother.  It’s comforting to be with other mothers.

There have also been things I have chosen not to do and people I have chosen not to see just yet.  Different situations and people are unpredictable and I am not always willing to take the risk.  I am not a selfish person by nature, but I’ve had to be selfish this past month.  I’ve had to give myself permission to take care of myself and not be concerned with how my actions and decisions affect others.

One thing I have done and will continue to do is express my gratitude.  The outpouring of love and support that I have received is immeasurable.  I truly believe that it’s the support of those directly around me, those I have not seen or talked to for years that I’m friends with on facebook, and those who don’t really know me but have heard (or read) my story that is lifting me up and moving me along on this journey towards healing.  Thank you to those who have left comments here, messaged me on facebook, sent me a card, sent me a text, or called.  Though I may not respond to them all, I read them all over and over again.  To know that so many have been touched by Maya’s story and are thinking about me gives me the strength I need to live on.