Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year, New Beginnings

i'll be honest, the holidays haven't exactly been the easiest. i didn't realise how much i'd been looking forward to celebrating Christmas and the New Year with Tummymuffin, until those days actually arrived and the sadness snuck up on me.
the week's retreat in the mountains was wonderful; very healing and restorative for both Thomas and me. i was able to really have time to process, cry, pray, and grieve honestly. i learned that grieving with fear is not good -- this doesn't mean i'll never have a child, or that the next pregnancy will end the same way, or that i'll never get pregnant again. it is a unique event that should be recognised as such. i realised that grief and gratitude is a better combination; every thanks i could give felt like one step more through the murkiness towards a clearer peace. and at the end of the week, i felt like i'd gotten to a much more peaceful place of acceptance and hope.
then, a few days later, a close friend of mine was killed in a car wreck. it's felt like i'd just struggled to my feet again, only to slip on the ice of painful emotion and crash on my back again. a lot of time and energy has gone into the aftermath of this event; the memorial service is in a few days and then maybe i'll feel like i can actually think about all of this.

don't get me wrong; there have been lots and lots of good days though; there has been much more happiness than otherwise. we had a quiet Christmas week and enjoyed decorating our home & celebrating the coming of the Prince of Peace. we've seen some friends and have been thankful for the famous Southern California mild winter weather. we've treated our time off like a real holiday, which is a good thing for two freelancers with unorthodox schedules. and the continued support and love from you has been absolutely key; your words of hope have made it so much easier to not stay in the shadows but start each day as a new beginning.

i'm hopeful for what 2009 will bring -- perhaps only because the end of 2008 has been so difficult. but regardless, the new year always brings out a longing in everyone for things to be different, to be better... and i am no exception. here's hoping your new year is filled with gratitude and blessing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Week Ten: Coping

thank you, everyone, for all of your calls, e-mails, and comments expressing your prayers, support, and love for us. it has made an immense amount of difference in getting through this last week.

i will admit, although each day gets easier, it has been a challenge to know how to honestly acknowledge the loss and yet also move forward. it is difficult to move into the holiday season and realise that our expectations for what it would've been like, as expectant parents, are not going to happen. and because this experience has so colored every hour of the last week, it has been odd knowing how to answer the question "how are you doing? " or "what's new with you?" from people who didn't know about Tummymuffin at all. it's been also interesting for me to realise that i am, by default, a fairly happy person, and that processing grief is a complex experiment in emotional volatility. this isn't the first crisis/bad times i've ever had -- but i think it may be the most personal, by far.
i've returned all the baby books to the library, put the maternity clothes into the garage (yes, i already had some), and have started to accept that i'm back to the hopefulness/waiting stage again for getting pregnant. Thomas & I will be taking a "personal retreat" next week to the nearby mountains, thanks to the generosity of some friends who have a cabin there, to recharge and regroup. one of the positives about this whole experience is how much closer it has brought us together, and we feel like it has strengthened our relationship already.

even though it's quite premature, i've already -- for my own sanity, anyway -- already started wondering what i should do/will do with the next pregnancy: i guess i won't be so "innocent" anymore. i wonder if i will want to tell more people about it sooner, or if i will be gunshy until the 9 week mark has passed. if any of you have experienced the loss of a baby, and then had a successful pregnancy afterwards, i'd like to know how you navigated what seems to me might be a possible emotional minefield.
again, thanks for all the notes of encouragement, love, support, and prayer. we are so blessed to have you in our lives.