Tag Archive | mom

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.

1451438_10102479474475080_8340452224639617584_n

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.

10271612_10102479473536960_7621714055598703344_n

 

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…

DSC_2036

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.

 

This Time Last Year

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about this time last year.  I know exactly how pregnant I was and I remember specific details of what was going on at the time.  This period of reflection started for me in anticipation of Mother’s Day.  Over the course of the last few weeks, there has been a lot said in the baby loss community in regards to Mother’s Day – strategies for getting through it, words of encouragement that we are mothers even though our babies are not physically with us.  I ignored most of it.  Mother’s Day was planned for me.  Every year my mom’s family (aunts, cousins, etc) gather for Mother’s Day.  This year, it was decided to also do the unveiling of my grandfathers gravestone (a Jewish tradition) since the whole family would be together anyway.  I didn’t have a choice – I had to be there.  So I didn’t think much of Mother’s Day until a few days before.

Last year, Mother’s Day was so different.  I was exactly 30 weeks pregnant and we hosted the family gathering at our house because many of the members of my family hadn’t seen the house and we wanted to show off the gorgeous mural Hackie had painted in the nursery.  All spring, we pushed to have things around the house done by Mother’s Day – and we did!  It was a beautiful day and I remember so vividly thinking about this year’s Mother’s Day and how wonderful it would be to get to have my own baby at the family gather and to get to pose in the traditional mom picture.

Of course, this year’s Mother’s Day was nothing like what I had pictured and as the day grew closer I began to feel very sad as I focused on what life was like one year ago.  I approached the day with this attitude: No matter what happens, the day will end and it will be one more thing that I lived through.  The day started at the cemetery and I really did not know what to expect.  To those who have never been to a Jewish unveiling, it’s basically funeral part 2.  My grandfather died 10 days after I found out I was pregnant with Maya.  He was 88 and a truly wonderful man.  The unveiling was hard – very hard.  I cried harder than I have cried in a very long time.  I tried so hard to focus on my grandfather but so many of the words read applied to my sweet Maya.  We left stones that spelled out her name on his grave and I spoke to him – asking him to protect my sweet baby and keep her safe.

After the cemetery, we all gathered at my mom’s house for food and togetherness.  I couldn’t eat any of the food, but I was able to enjoy my family’s company.  We took lots of family pictures that included Maya bear.  And I made it a point to be in the traditional mom picture.  All in all, it was a hard day, but it wasn’t a bad day.  I was recognized as a mother, which is all I can really ask for.  I received many messages, texts, and emails.  I got two beautiful cards, flowers, and new bracelets from my amazing husband.  And I received a beautiful gift and card from my mom.  I think I was long overdue for an intense day of grieving.  Though I was not prepared to cry as hard as I did, I needed it.  I needed to feel the sadness in order to feel close to my daughter.

Now that Mother’s Day has passed and I have had a few days to recover, I continue to reflect on this time last year.  It was such a busy time and it was filled with such excitement – my birthday, my baby shower, getting the crib, putting the finishing touches on the nursery, frequenting Babies R Us – I remember it all.  It brings about a new wave of sadness on this journey through grief.  All of these memories signify that Maya’s birthday is so close – 4 weeks and 3 days away.  I am proud to say that I am looking forward to her birthday.  We are planning on dedicating her garden and have invited our closest family and friends to celebrate her life with us.  I think it will be a beautiful day and will bring some peace and closure to the year.

What I’m not looking forward to is after her birthday.  When the year of firsts is over and we begin our second year without our precious daughter.  Will it be easier?  Harder?  What will we do?  Will others have expected us to “move on”?  Will we have our rainbow baby?  There are so many unknowns.  But that’s all this journey has been – unknowns.  I walk this path so blindly never knowing what to expect or where or when my grief and sadness will become louder.  After Maya’s birthday we will continue to march forward as best we can.  We will overcome obstacles, make huge leaps, and fall a few times too.  The one thing I can be sure of is that I will continue to have the support of my incredible husband.  “Together” has become the theme of our year and it is so comforting to know that he is always by my side.

What’s In a Name

I decided to link up with the journey over at Still Standing today.  I haven’t really written about Maya’s name so I thought this was a good opportunity to share.

Hackie and I started talking about our future children’s names within the first year we dated.  We were 19 and clearly both looking forward to having children.  Over the years it would come up every once and a while.  Once we decided to start trying we decided on a boy name right away, which is still our boy name.

When I got pregnant we felt a sense of urgency at finalizing our name choices.  We still both loved our boy choice but could not come to a consensus on a girl name.  Since we wanted the gender to be a surprise, we had time to figure it out.  Still, I was very anxious and pushed to finalize our choice.

We constantly went back and forth suggesting and vetoing each other’s name choices.  Since I teach, there are many names that get thrown out right away because of name association.  Also, with our names being so unique, there was a certain level of pressure to choose names that weren’t the most common.

After much debate and many lists, Maya was the only name we both liked and we kept coming back to it.  It went well with our boy name – both very classic, not too common, but not too out there.  We had known all along that her middle name would be after my mother (Francine) and we both loved the sound of Maya Francine.

We’ve found sources that claim Maya was the name of the mother of the Buddha, and that it means princess. According to Baby Center, Maya means “divine creative force in everything”.  I think this is the most fitting.  Everything I do now seems driven by my darling Maya.  Life now has a greater purpose because of her.

Maya’s middle name was easy.  My mom and I are very close and I owe so much of who I am today to her.  As I thought about becoming a mother, I was comforted with the knowledge that I was raised by the best there is.  I was so excited to be able to honor her with Maya’s middle name.  It kills me that Maya does not get to grow up knowing that her middle name is the same at her Mima’s first name.  I know it would have made their connection that much more special.

Maya Francine Warrensford – a classic and beautiful name for a little girl who will always be my baby.  I say it daily.  I try to work her name into conversations and refer to her as often as I can.  I will not get to call to her that dinner is ready or that it is time to leave for dance class.  I will not get to write her beautiful name on Kindergarten registration.  So, I will say it as often as I can.  The best thing anyone can do for bereaved parents is say their baby’s name.  We love to hear it.

Surviving the Holdiays 2012

**Before I begin this post, I just want to mention that I have updated Maya’s name gallery.  It gives me such joy to see Maya’s name written in creative ways and I am so grateful to those who have taken the time to do it and to share it with me.  Please check out the page!

And now for today’s post…

I knew the holidays would be tough this year.  Last year, I was 10 weeks pregnant on Christmas day.  Hackie and I knew very well that it would be the last Christmas where we indulged each other because this year all our efforts would be put into making the holiday magical for our new baby.  My family celebrates Hanukkah.  When I took the big family Hanukkah picture last year, I mentioned that this year there would be a new little one in the picture and I told my mom that she would get the honor of holding her new grandbaby.  A year ago, we made big plans and had great anticipation for what this year’s holidays would be like.  Today, Christmas Eve, I am not only missing Maya terribly, I am devastated to not be able to see any of those plans come to fruition.  All of those plans, all of that eager excitement and anticipation died with her.

Up until recently, I was comforted with the knowledge that surely we would be pregnant by now.  Surely, the weight of our first holiday season without Maya would be lessened by the hope of a new baby.  I guess I was being slightly naive.  I am not pregnant yet and I am tormented by the idea that if it takes much longer, we may be enduring a second holiday season with grief alone and no living child to share the magic with.

I’ve been having good weeks and bad weeks.  This past week was really tough.  In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, I felt quite numb.  When I turned the corner to go down the road to school on Monday, it hit me hard.  Still, the shock of this tragedy came in fits and spurts.  I feel like my body was protecting my brain from feeling the horror all at once.  By Friday, I was relieved to have arrived at the end of the week.  Still, on the day before vacation – a day that since I started school as a child was always so joyous and exciting, I was feeling so sad.  I was not excited for vacation.  I would rather be at work today, skipping vacation and the holidays all together.  It all came out at the holiday concert.  Our chorus teacher announced that they were all going to sing “Lean On Me” dedicated to the families in Newtown.  I made it through about two thirds of the song before I lost it and had to leave.  There were only a few who saw me and, with the help of a caring guidance counselor, I was able to pull myself together and get through the rest of the day.

Yesterday was my family’s big Hanukkah party.  This is the first time we all were together since I had Maya.  The last time we were all together was Mother’s day, when I was 30 weeks pregnant.  While I was looking forward to seeing my family, I didn’t want to go.  It’s the times when the whole family is together that it is ever so clear that someone is missing.  As soon as Hackie and I pulled out of the driveway to head to my mom’s, I started to cry.  When we got to my mom’s and were setting up the room so that all 20 of us could fit in the family picture, I started to cry.  I remembered my Aunt’s tradition – every year since 2004, we have written down what we are thankful for and what we wish for in the coming year.  We put our papers in a little pouch and they are saved year after year.  I’ve always enjoyed looking back and smiling with the satisfaction that my wish came true.  In 2008, I drew a diamond ring hoping Hackie would propose in the coming year, which he did.  I can only imagine what I wrote down last year and the thought of looking at it was too much to bear.  Every time I thought about it, I started to cry.  As my family started to arrive and each of my aunts, uncles, and cousins hugged me just a little longer than usual, I started to cry.  I wondered if I would be able to stop being so weepy.  Eventually, the crying subsided and I was able to really enjoy myself.  I wrote down what I was thankful for and what I was wishing for and stuck it in the pouch with the others.  I decided not to read last year’s paper.  As I always do, I took charge of the family picture.  I placed my Maya Bear (which I’ll have to post about another time) on my mom’s lap – where Maya should have been.  It was a very hard day.  Surrounded by loved ones and comforted with the hope that next year’s party will be different, I survived.

Today, Hackie and I will head to his parent’s to be together.  Growing up, Christmas was always different for me.  Some years, my mom did her best to fulfill my need to be like all the other kids in my class and got us a Christmas tree.  Some years, I traveled to my Dad’s and celebrated the holiday with him and my family out there.  Some years, I hung out with my mom and didn’t do much of anything.  In the last 4 years, Hackie and I have made our own traditions.  I always say that Christmas is his holiday and so I let him pretty much call the shots.  We spoil each other and the dog.  We’ve always gotten a tree and played Christmas music while decorating.  Last year, which was our first Christmas in our new house, Hackie decorated the front of our house and it was so beautiful.  I’ve really enjoyed celebrating this holiday with him and coming up with new traditions for our little family.

This year, we weren’t sure what to do.  I wanted to be supportive of my husband and his favorite holiday so I defaulted to him.  I told him that if he wanted to get a tree and decorate, we would.  If he wanted to do presents, we would.  If he wanted to do nothing, I’d be OK with that too.  It took a while to figure it out, but it eventually became clear.  We purchased a hot pink tree that’s small and put it in front of our Maya wall.  We’ve gotten a few ornaments as gifts and will purchase one new one a year in honor of our angel.  We did not decorate or get a large tree.  We are taking a trip later this week and decided that would be our gift to each other.  We decided not to purchase gifts for others and asked that none be given to us.  Instead, we decided that we would collect donations for Cradle to Crayons, which is an organization we are volunteering at in January.  We will also be purchasing some items that would have been appropriate for a six month old little girl and will donate them in memory of Maya.

We decided to spend Christmas day as just us and Halee.  We need to be home and it’s too hard to host our parents, which was the original plan.  I’m not quite sure yet how we are going to spend the day.  I think we are going to wait and see how we feel and let the day unfold.  We are thinking about releasing some balloons for are angel and we may go bowling in the evening, which is one of our favorite things to do together.  We will survive the day together.

Yes.  It totally 100% sucks that Hackie and I look at this year’s holidays as something to get through rather than enjoy.  However, I have come to realize that traditions can be paused and getting down on myself for not enjoying the holidays this year is not going to do anyone any good.  Next year, the holidays will be different.  I’m not sure how they will look and I’m not making any plans, but I know they will be different as another year will have gone by.

As hard as this has been, I continue to be comforted by the love and support I have received, especially from my husband.  He is my backbone and I am blessed to have him by my side so I do not have to navigate this road alone.

If you are grieving this holiday season, I wish you peace and comfort.

 

Happy Birthday Mama!

I have been neglecting my blog, and I really don’t want to.  It’s been two weeks since I last wrote and I’ve thought about writing every day.  I’ve been somewhat uninspired and I’ve also been lacking energy to do much of anything.  Now of course I have about five posts running through my head.  However, today’s post comes on a special day and is for one very special person.  It’s my Mama’s birthday!

My mom is a pretty incredible person.  She is genuinely happy – no matter what.  My happiness at the core come from her.  She raised me to find the joy in a situation no matter how difficult it was.  She taught me how to see things from multiple perspectives, how to give people the benefit of the doubt, and how to remain optimistic in the darkest of times.  My mom puts everyone before herself and values family more than anyone I know.  She is the epitome of gratitude.

When I was in college, I had a rough time.  I often felt like I didn’t fit in, and the typical college lifestyle didn’t appeal to me.  When I started dating Hackie in the middle of my freshman year, I fit in even less because I was in a committed relationship.  Still, I stayed focused and overall pretty happy.  The reason I was there was to become a teacher and I knew I was getting a great education.  It all caught up with me Junior year though when I started experiencing severe panic attacks.  My genuinely happy self hid and I was so frustrated.  I felt like I couldn’t get a handle on my own thoughts and emotions.  I felt completely out of control.  Naturally, it was my mom to the rescue.  She reminded me of all the crazy phases I went through as a young girl and how they were all just that – phases.  She reminded me that this was another phase and that it too would pass.  She reminded me that I did not live in this dark place, but that I was just visiting and, no matter how long it took, I would come out the other end.  When I reflect back on that phase of my life, I think of how calm my mom was.  Her calmness at a time when I was feeling such high levels of anxiety was exactly what I needed to get through and eventually past this phase of my life.

When Maya died, my mom was right there – shocked and devastated just like the rest of us.  However, she was devastated first and foremost for me.  It was probably two weeks before she grieved for her own loss of her granddaughter.  She helped take care of me as I recovered from my c-section and brainstormed things we could do to help pass the time.  She simply made herself available.  We spent a lot of time together and she was, and still is, so strong.  She listened as I talked for hours.  She never judged.  She gave me exactly what I needed without me having to ask.  I would not have survived these past (almost) 6 months without her.

I have said before that my mom’s strength is contagious.  Again, in true Mama fashion, she has helped me remain optimistic in the darkest time of my life.  While some might argue that any mother would be supportive and amazing in a time like this, my mom does it with absolute perfection.  She is and has always been my backbone, and I am eternally grateful.

My mom is so inspiring.  Little girls often say “I want to be just like my mommy when I grow up”.  I still feel that way.

Happy Birthday Mama!  I love you!

Taking what I Need

Over the past 12 weeks (is that right?  I’m starting to lose count), I’ve had to learn that life goes on after the world stops.  As I settle into my new routine of getting up at 5:30 and being at work all day, I’m learning how to grieve differently than I did throughout the summer.  Grief now has to have a time and place.  I can’t leave 22 eleven year olds unsupervised so I can go cry and I don’t want to make my colleagues feel uncomfortable.  I’ve started to come up with different tactics for getting through the day.

The car is a great place to cry.  This morning, before I left for work, there was an email that one of the women I was pregnant with delivered a baby girl this past Friday.  I knew she was pregnant and due any day, but I wasn’t prepared for the email (how can you be?).  It hit me hard.  It made me physically ill.  I was supposed to get to send work the “It’s a girl” email and I never got to do that.  Instead, my baby news was shared with the crisis team and at an emergency staff meeting.  It’s not fair.  It sucks.  So, I cried in my car and was able to pull myself together before walking into the building.

I’ve also learned that sitting at my desk and taking a deep breath is a great way to cope.  Even with students in front of me and in the midst of a busy lesson, my mind goes to Maya.  As soon as I have just 30 seconds, I take the opportunity to breathe, think of Maya, acknowledge the grief and go on with the lesson.  So far, this has worked and I am proud that I am coming up with coping mechanisms.

The most important thing that I need is time alone.  I have spent a lot of time reflecting on this.  It takes so much mental energy and stamina to function, period.  Add engaging with eager 6th graders and being “on” for 50 minutes at a time, often three times in a row and I am downright exhausted.  Sometimes, I opt to eat lunch by myself.  I am trying not to be anti-social, but I’m finding that I need to spend those 25 minutes a day thinking about Maya and feeling sad.  I need a break from engaging.

Most people around me don’t want to bring up my loss.  They think I’ve “moved on” or that bringing it up will upset me.  They may also be uncomfortable talking about it themselves for fear they will say the wrong thing.  I totally get it and I have no expectations of my colleagues.  The fact of the matter is, it’s always on my mind.  I try very hard not to bring up my loss at work.  I don’t want to.  It’s a tough subject to talk about and I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.  I need to think about it though and reflect throughout the day – so sometimes, I need to take the time to be alone with my thoughts.

I also need to decompress at the end of the day – as do most people.  Sometimes, I cry in the car on the way home.  If I didn’t get enough time to acknowledge my grief throughout the day, it bottles up and comes out on the way home.  When I get home, I talk to my mom since I don’t need to hold back any of my grief from her.  When I get off the phone, I often just sit, stare, and feel the sadness, anger, frustration, or whatever other emotion is present at the time.

Grief is not something you can get past.  It’s something you have to go through.  It’s ugly and unpredictable.  It’s always present but can be louder or softer depending on the hour.  By living through my grief and feeling it with every ounce of my soul, I am acknowledging Maya.  She is with me every step of the way as I climb this mountain of grief and she is helping me through.

The Magic of Theatre

As I have mentioned previously, I am a lover of the arts.  More specifically, I love theatre.  Ever since I was little, my mom has taken me to the theatre.  I have seen several shows over the years and even directed children’s theatre.  I love it and I honestly can’t get enough.

For the last eightish years, my mom and I have traveled to New York City for the sole purpose of seeing Broadway shows.  We have seen all the big shows with the huge “11 o’clock numbers” and massive ensembles like Wicked, Billy Elliot, and Newsies.  We’ve also seen the smaller chamber musicals like Next to Normal and Once.  99% of the time the show is incredible and I acknowledge how blessed and priviledged I am to have the opportunity to see so many wonderful shows.

This past April my mom and I went for our annual trip during my school vacation.  Usually we go for three nights and see about three shows.  With a baby on the way, I knew that April would be the last time my mom and I marathoned NYC.  We saw three incredible shows in April – two of which I already mentioned (Newsies and Once).  The final show that we saw on that trip was War Horse.  It was one of the most incredible forms of artistry I have ever seen.  When it was over, I cried.  The show was very emotional in and of itself, but it was also the last show I would see before the baby came – the last show before my life changed forever.

As I reflected on the experience of seeing War Horse, I told my mom that I felt bad for most of the people on this planet who will never experience live theatre.  There is something so magical about live theatre.  When I see a really good show like War Horse, it has an effect on me that is hard to describe.

I was six months pregnant when we went in April.  Maya wiggled about during Newsies and Once.  I talked to her a lot and told her that I would take her to Broadway someday.  I had such hopes and dreams for her to love and be affected by theater as much as I am.

The day after Maya died, I was talking to my husband about the long summer ahead.  He immediately said, “you need to go back to New York with your mom.”  He knows what it does for me.  He knows how much I enjoy the city and the time with my mom.  He knows what a great effect theatre has on me.

My mom, willing to do anything to help me survive the summer, quickly looked up what shows were in New York that we hadn’t seen.  She planned a great trip with tickets to three great shows.  We just returned and I can safely say the trip served its purpose.  It gave me something to look forward to and something to pass the time during this otherwise very long summer.  More importantly, I have discovered another magical aspect of theatre – it has healing power.  During all three of the shows, I was able to feel such gratitude for the opportunity to experience the magic.  I was able to feel joy.

It kills me that I cannot share my love of theatre with Maya.  I am so sad that she will never experience the magic.  However, she was with me in April and she is always with me in spirit.  What I’ve gotten from Maya is the ability to find even more joy from theatre than I once did and to feel a tremendous amount of gratitude for all that I get to experience and enjoy.

Finding the Positive

I’ve always said that one of my secrets to leading a happy life and being a genuinely happy person is my ability to find the positive in any situation.  This is how I have coped with many tough things in both my personal and professional life.  However, I can’t use that tactic in this situation.  My newborn daughter died.  There is nothing positive about it.  No matter how deep I dig, I will not find the positive in this situation.  There is nothing good, nothing beneficial, nothing that was “for the best”.  IT SUCKS!

However, I have the desire to recognize something positive.  I yearn to be back in my happy place.  I want so badly to be my genuinely happy self again.  Instead of looking for the positive in the situation (did I mention that there is nothing positive and that this totally SUCKS?), I have found myself recognizing the positive outcomes of the situation.

First and foremost, this has changed me and as I have said previously, I believe it has changed me for the better.  I haven’t discovered all the ways it’s changed me just yet (it’s too soon), but I know I will be a better person because of Maya and because I am forced to travel this journey called healing.  Positive.

My relationship with my husband has taken on a whole new meaning and grown stronger.  He will get his own post soon about how incredible and amazing he is.  For now, let’s just say that going on this journey alongside him has made me see how truly blessed I am.  Positive.

Along the same lines, I have been given the gift of time.  When I was pregnant with Maya, I was telling a friend that I was nervous about the 4 weeks in between when school ended and my due date.  I was afraid I would go crazy with eagerness and anticipation.  She told me to savor the time with my husband because it’s the last we have before becoming parents and before our lives would change forever.  For at least another year, it will still be just my husband and me with the dog.  We have been forced to have this time together just the two of us, with no living children.  I have thought about this a lot.  I could resent the time and be angry at the circumstances.  Or, I could receive the cards I have been dealt and see the time as a gift.  My husband and I have decided to make the most of this extra time that we have where it will be just the two of us (and the dog).  Positive.

My OB has been amazing.  She spent an hour with us two weeks after I delivered to go through my labor.  She was compassionate, reassuring, and sensitive.  She has returned my phone calls promptly and done everything we have requested.  She sent a card and wrote that she will be there for us however she can be and hopes we can find closure together.  I have always had a negative attitude about the medical field after having some bad experiences years ago.  She has changed how I feel.  It’s comforting to know that I have a doctor who will treat me as a person and not just as a patient.  Positive.

My friendship with my best friend (who is more like a sister) has grown stronger.  She has been there for me for every leg of this journey.  We have been friends for more than 10 years and have had our share of ups and downs, but have always promised each other that we are there for one another no matter what.  She has been there for me full force.  I am forever grateful and indebted to my friend for sitting with me, listening, and understanding as much as she can.  In addition, since I have spent more time with her, I have spent more time with her kids (my niece and nephew) and am starting to feel closer to them as well.  Positive.

My mother is a saint.  I already knew that.  Her strength through this all has been contagious and she has helped me find the strength to live on.  I have spent a lot of extra time with her this summer and I know that ten years from now when I look back on this summer, I will have fond memories of the time spent with my mom.  Positive.

I have learned that I can’t find the positive in every situation.  There are some that have not one ounce of positive.  However, I can identify positive outcomes.  I believe there are more to come and I am paying very close attention so I can soak them up for all they are worth.  Being happy is where I am most comfortable and I am slowly getting back there.