I wrote this post one year ago today, on what would have been my due date, but chose not to publish it at that time. This year has been a year of healing and moving forward for me. I can honestly say that I'm in a good place, having come to terms with the fact that my body is done making babies. It's been a long, grueling and heart-breaking process at times, but it's reality. I can't change my circumstances but I can change my attitude.
Today is May 8th. It was supposed to be my due date.
I was supposed to be holding my baby in my arms today.
I was supposed to be surrounded by the sights and smells of brand new baby stuff.
I was supposed to be mesmerized by every little feature on my new baby's tiny little body.
I was supposed to be anxious, nervous, excited, fearful, emotional, hormonal and sleep deprived.
I was supposed to be experiencing the joy of bringing another life into this world.
We were supposed to be a family of five after so much wishing, waiting, wanting and praying.
But instead, today is just another day. It says May 8th on the calendar, but my husband went off to work as normal, my kids went off to school as normal and I'm sitting here on my couch as if it's just another day. And it is just another day... but it's not supposed to be. It's supposed to be my baby's birthday (or very close to it). It's supposed to be the day that our family has looked forward to for so many years. Oh how I wish it were that day instead of this one.
I wanted to be taking our first family pictures. I wanted to be holding her in my arms. I wanted to be sharing her with the world. I wanted to be making public the name that we'd so carefully chosen for her.
Instead I'm grieving. I'm grieving the loss of a child that I will never truly know this side of heaven. I am sad for all of the moments that I know I am going to miss.
Through this process of pain and healing I am learning to take joy in the fact that my child had a life (albeit an incredibly short one here on Earth) and that she currently has a life, an eternal one in Heaven. I am trying to take comfort in the fact that I'm not actually missing moments with her, they simply weren't meant to be in the first place (I think, though I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that one honestly).
She was born into Heaven without ever knowing the heartache, sin, pain and suffering that she would have known if she'd been born here on Earth. She was born into the glory of eternity. She was greeted by the loving arms of Jesus. So why am I sad? I'm not sad for her. I'm sad for me. I'm sad for us. I'm sad that I have more questions about her than I will ever have answers. I am sad that my arms feel too empty and something feels like it's missing. I'm just sad. And I'm learning that it's okay to be sad.
As part of reading about and learning about the healing process Rob and I continued to come across the idea that we should give our child a name. At first I thought this was kind of silly (after all, we don't even know the gender). Over time, however the idea just imprinted itself on my heart and there was a name I couldn't shake despite the fact that it was one Rob and I had never even talked about.
The name was something that I would be able to come across in nature and be reminded of her. The name was one that I would constantly be reminded of as I saw the beautifully carved figures that represent our family on our mantel, including the one where an angel is holding a sweet baby in her arms. The name was one that will forever be etched in our hearts as the sleepy little town on I-5 in the middle of California that brought the most painful and terrifying hours of losing her.
When Rob and I began the discussion of whether or not to give her a name in the weeks after the miscarriage Rob told me that he kind of already named her but he wasn't sure if I'd like it, because of the painful memories it would remind us of. At first I was shocked that he'd given her a name without discussing it with me first. But then I was amazed when he told me what it was, because it was also the name that I couldn't let go of. It was so clear to us that it was meant to be her name. And if we get to Heaven and find out that she's a he, we'll just shorten it! But the fact that we both wanted to give her the same name without ever mentioning it out loud to each other cemented in our hearts that it was the name she was meant to have. It was her name. Without question. And in a strange instant it made her real to me. It gave her an identity that I could wrap my mind around. For me, it was the start of the healing process. My child has a name.
It's a beautiful name.
Her name is Willow.