These stories are more than obviously sad. They’re nearly obsessively sad. I can’t turn away from the news. I can’t stop imagining those parents screaming for their children in the instant they lose them. Or the solid feeling in your chest the moment you realize your heart is gone.
To lose your child is…awful. To realize you are unable to provide the comfort, love and calming a child needs in their last moments is…more than awful. There aren’t adequate words to describe that circumstance. But the feeling is very real. And very, very sad.
I turned on NPR to listen to Oklahoma updates on my way home his evening. To my surprise, I heard some very familiar words.
My own words.
Faith Middleton replayed her show on dealing with the loss of a child, in hopes of reaching out again to parents who have lost and those who are left to help them carry on.
I want to leave those words here.
I hope they help.
I see you. Happy sunshiney Saturday, my baby.
Mom, Dad & Sprout
All the windows are open & Sprout is barking at every life form that dares to land in the one bush she’s tall enough to see.
The sunset is so pretty tonight I had to step outside and take a picture. In a moment of cheesiness, I thought to myself, “I hope we’re all sharing this same sunset.” Dziko, us, the baby we are meant to parent but haven’t met yet.
Because I am my father’s daughter, I have a fondness for lists. And since it was on my mind tonight, I thought of some memories I’d like to make with our child some day.
Some day where the air smells just like this, the breeze is perfect and we’re parents to you, I want to:
– take you on a bike ride (but first I have to remember how)
– stop the ice cream man and let you pick out something that turns your tongue blue (unless I don’t have cash, and then I have to tell you the story about how the truck only plays music when it runs out of ice cream)
–draw a hopscotch board on our front walk (please don’t let the neighbors be watching when I inevitably lose my balance and topple into the grass/ break my ankle)
– pick up donuts for breakfast and watch Saturday morning cartoons (…it would just be nice to have company. I
always never do this by myself)
– take a walk around the neighborhood and teach you the names of flowers and things you see (just dont take notes. more than half I’ll have to make up)
Mostly, I want to hold your tiny hand, watch you learn, squeeze you when you’ve done something adorable….and have a bite of that ice cream.
There’s really no way anyone can win with an infertile on Mother’s Day.
Don’t acknowledge us on this day? We feel isolated, angry and forgotten.
Acknowledge us? We feel awkward and pitied.
I promise you this- a gentle touch, a sincere message, a quiet recognition of struggle- these things go a long way in validating a woman’s struggle with infertility today.
Some of us have never been pregnant. Others have been parents only to embryos. There are those of us who have been mothers to “gummy bears”. Some of us are mothers to angels. More of us are only moms to furbabies.
Happy “I know what you want to be” Day. Happy “you would have been an amazing mom to those embies” Day. Happy “you tried as hard as you could and you’re a great mom” Day. Happy “you’ll never forget that heartbeat because that gummy bear was your baby” Day. Happy “I hope you get to a place with peace” day.
Happy Mother’s Day.
I’ve found that so many couples dealing with infertility or pursuing adoption feel directed by a faith in their God. It’s a really common thread I find when speaking with others or reading other blogs. I’m not sure why I find it so surprising, I suppose because I’m surrounded by scientists who, in my environment, largely operate using fact-based, rather than faith-based, knowledge.
I was raised Catholic. There is still something I find very beautiful about the mass. But I don’t find comfort there in the words. I don’t ascribe to any defined organized faith. I don’t believe in the biblical version of God. But I do have faith.
I have faith that there is purpose in my life. Not a purpose to serve, but a purpose to connect. To interact with other people in this universe with a knowledge that their
interaction will impact me in a way I probably can not immediately recognize. And in this I feel comfort.
I don’t take comfort in the idea of a miracle, but rather in the idea that there are wonderful people that will help you get to where you need to be. I do not feel blessed- I feel thankful. I don’t feel like there is a lesson to be learned or a reason for our path, but I feel happy that we have had help picking up the pieces, moving forward and smiling.
I am a firm believer that you should define your own faith– it helps you hang on to the important parts, realize the interconnectedness of people and things, and gives you reason to keep remembering and continue acting based upon the aforementioned things.
Plus, George Michael said you gotta have it. And…
Maybe that was a bad example.
During National Infertility Awareness week, I entered a contest on IVFConnections Facebook page. It was based on the challenge given to Ernest Hemingway (my all-time favorite author)- he bet he could pen a complete story in only six words.
Here’s his infamous story:
“For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”
And now my masterpiece:
“Careful: Path ahead missing two lines.”
Ok, so I’m clearly not a literary genius.
But I won! The prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Card! It’s going right into the pile for the silent auction–this auction gets more awesome by the day.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have autographs to sign.
I feel like you do two things when you start dating someone- write your first name + their last name 1,000 times in the back of your notebook to see if they go well together and picture how your kids will look. I’m fairly sure that’s normal (if not….this just got awkward).
Nevertheless, it’s exactly why we pursued fertility treatments. We went back and forth between fertility treatments and adoption in the beginning. We chose the biological route first. I have a hard time living with ‘what ifs’. We got to see him. He was perfect.
It’s the same ending every time.We didn’t get to keep him. While we had him, though, he let us dream about a few things we want to pass on to our child. Things that don’t require genetic contribution.
From my husband, I hope our child:
– learns Chichewa
– understands the rules of soccer so they can explain them to me
– takes on his stress-free personality
– acquires his ability to make up songs about everything
– realizes there is adventure in life (but that motorcycles and skydiving are horribly dangerous. Ok. I’ll have to take care of this part.)
From me, I hope our child:
– appreciates the fall and all pumpkin-containing things, apple picking and the changing of the leaves
– learns that you can define your faith
– realizes that the St. Louis Cardinals are the only baseball team worth rooting for and that ravioli should always be toasted
– learns that standing up for the rights of others is always the right thing to do
And finally, from us, we hope our child:
– always knows how much we wanted to be their mom and dad.
– that marriage should always consist of two people who are best friends
– that laughing is the best way to start a morning
– and that everyone should sleep in until at least 10 a.m. on the weekends, especially kids. (we’re dreamers, ok?)