Monday, May 30, 2011

I’ve been avoiding posting since Mother’s Day.

I had a really nice Mother’s day at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival with my mom. I’ll post pictures of the beautiful sheep soon. This hen would love to add some sheep to her personal farm (we’d never have to mow again!) but that’ll have to wait. I can barely keep up with the dogs, let alone animals who can’t be trained where to go to the bathroom.

Ever since Mother’s day, I’ve been in stormy seas. Grief is often described as coming in waves. For a while there I didn’t have a lot of waves, and they weren’t very strong. But the surf has been rough of late. I miss my Liam very much, and I’m struggling with the fact that so many people I know are pregnant. Fortunately none of my see-you-in-person friends are pregnant, but my Facebook wall is covered. Facebook is a huge pitfall for me. There are people I am “friends” with who I’ve blocked from my feed because I can’t stand to see the belly bumps, or the new baby pics anymore. It’s nothing personal, it’s just where I am right now.

I recently found out that an acquaintance had lost her baby 10 days before her due date. This isn’t someone I know well, but I instantly wanted to go to her. As I was learning about her situation, I discovered that we have a friend in common, someone I had mostly lost touch with. I thought that meant that God was doing something through me in this situation. I ordered books for her, I emailed her, I friended her on facebook. I only hope that I can giver her a small amount of comfort in this horrifying time of her life. The only way for me to keep Liam's memory alive is to help others in his name. 

I don't know what heaven will be like, but there is one thing I hope is true. I hope that the children who end up there too soon are together. I hope they know each other the way we (their mothers) know each other here on earth. I know there will be no more sorrow or tears, so they won't need to comfort each other, but even if you're not sad it is good to be with others who understand. For me, one of the hardest things is not being able to mother Liam in the traditional way, so a large part of my grief is feeling as if I should be taking care of him. I like to think that in heaven they take care of each other.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Physical and Emotional

Today a coworker brought her beautiful 8-month-old daughter to work to visit. She’s an adorable little girl, and for some reason she’s one of the few babies who doesn’t make me flinch in pain. She was born just after I got back to work, so by rights seeing her should rip my heart out. I honestly don’t know why she’s the exception. Another coworker heard the baby cooing and emailed to ask me if I was ok after they left. As I was talking with her, I said something that only struck me fully when I re-read my own words. Explaining about my new blog I said, “I find it really helpful to have a creative outlet for what I’m feeling. The gardening helps too. It gives me time to think, and it’s nice to do some physical labor and see a payout.”

I just meant that the physical labor was helpful, because somehow the physical work helps me work out my emotions, and it would be rewarding to have fresh produce. And then I realized that what I said was really much deeper. After having worked for 5 months at growing a baby, and then having gone through labor (completely unprepared, I might add), I have nothing* to show for it. No child to hold, no physical scars from delivery, no birth story to share with other moms. Instead I have a grave to visit, I have a hole in my life and in my heart, I have new emotional reactions that I can’t control. Working in my garden, planting seeds and watching them take root, seeing plants produce vegetables for us to eat; these acts of labor will hopefully provide me with the physical evidence of my work that my pregnancy did not.

Vegetables and flowers certainly can’t replace my child, but I think part of me wants to prove that everything I touch does not die. No matter what I know in my head, for a while I felt in my heart that I had to have something green and growing around me or I would lose my mind. That’s why I forced two planters worth of bulbs for Christmas/New Year’s. I had to prove I could grow something. Then I was much closer to my grief, and more aware of what I was doing. This spring my desire to start a garden wasn’t as transparent to me.

Sunday was Babylost Mother’s Day. To all of the moms who might be reading this with no child to hold, I pray that God grants you peace, understanding, and if it be in His perfect will, the amazing gift of children. I pray that this week and this weekend are gentle for you, and that you are gentle to yourself. Don’t expect too much, and don’t be shocked at what you feel. No one can tell you how your grief should look. No one can or should silence you. Even if you feel alone, know that there are others like you in the world who would listen to your hurt, look into your eyes, and say with all truth “I know exactly what you mean.”

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Getting Started

Starting a garden from scratch isn't easy. This was our first year of having a vegetable garden that isn't just in pots. We started by using a rototiller to dig up a 10x15 foot patch of grass in a sunny part of the yard. Even after we tilled the dirt, there were still huge clods of grass to pull out. (I tried putting some over dirt patches in the yard, but I'm not sure they took.) We used a garden weasel to work the dirt further. The great thing about the weasel is that it not only breaks up the clods, it also catches the grass & roots, to a certain degree, so you can pull them out of the garden. I added top soil and sort of stirred the dirt around with a pitchfork. Tough work. Once all of this was accomplished I could start planting. There's still grass coming up though, so I have to get in there and weed it out. Nature abhors a vacuum; any empty dirt will grow weeds.

All of this is symbolic for my spiritual life. When we lost Liam, it was like God took what seemed like a perfectly good idea and tore it to pieces. There was nothing inherently wrong with Hubs and me having a child. We're financially stable, our relationship is stable, it's something we both want. For some reason it was not part of God's plan for Liam to stay with us on earth beyond 5 short months. And similarly there was nothing wrong with the patch of grass we rototilled into a garden. It was nice grass, green and growing. But I can see the whole plan. I can see that in order to have a garden and grow vegetables the way I want to grow them, I had to destroy all that nice grass. That's what keeps me going: I believe that God has a plan greater than what I can see. I believe that at some point in my life my family will grow, and I'm not letting go of that belief until God tells me to let go.