Saturday, July 21, 2012


According to, the definition of the word lament is "to feel or express sorrow or regret for; to mourn for or over".  Knowing that there are words in our language to express what I am feeling inside gives me permission to feel what I feel.  It reminds me that pain and sorrow are a natural response to loss.  I appreciate that reminder today because I am feeling it.  I am feeling the loss.  I am feeling the pain.  I am lamenting.

I don't know about you, but I am an extremely analytical person so whenever I am having days like these, I try to "figure out" why I am feeling this way.  Sometimes there are specific situations or thoughts that trigger my sorrow, but some days there are not, and the pain just hits me out of the blue.  Last weekend, I was watching a movie on television and a commercial advertising a pregnancy test came on.  The woman expressed joy when the pregnancy test result was positive, and my response:  Tears uncontrollably started flowing down my cheeks and I was filled with sadness.  My mind flashed back to our response when our pregnancy test result was positive and our own joy then it quickly switched back to the reality that we will never meet that child here on earth.

Later in the evening when the movie was over, I shut the television off and as soon as the room was silent, I started crying hysterically - warm tears racing down my face, frequently snorting as I attempted to catch my breath.  I had not cried like that since the first couple weeks of our loss.  And it kept coming, the tears flowing, the snorts continuing, the attempt at deep breaths failing, the snot forming.  I needed to lament so my body and spirit took advantage of the still, quiet moment to release my tears and sorrow and pain over my loss.

Today, I am lamenting again.  It's probably the combination of my anticipation of seeing a pregnant family member and hugging family members I have not seen since prior to our loss.  But even more than that, it's my ongoing track of the progress of our pregnancy in the back of my mind.  Today would have marked 20 weeks of our pregnancy.  Halfway through!  Soon to discover the gender of our baby, if not already.  I try not to keep a running tally of "what would have been" because I don't think it's the best way for me to move forward, however the significant mile markers definitely remain - the halfway point, discovering the sex of the baby, the due date.

Writing provides me with the opportunity to lament.  Yes, putting my thoughts and feelings on a page make them very real, but expressing them provides relief.  It does not take away the sadness, but it does decreases the heaviness of grief and releases some of my pain and sorrow through my words and tears.
So baby girl or boy, I miss you today.  I miss carrying you and supporting your life and development.  I hate the fact that I will never hold you here on earth or see you face to face.  However, thank you for the opportunity, though very short it was to celebrate your life and be a part of your creation and existence.  I look forward to the day when we will be reunited in Heaven and I can hold your in my arms and look into your eyes.  Until that day, know you are loved and missed.
Take time to lament.  It hurts, but it heals.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Grief Checklist

I received this card today and had to share...

This card was a beautiful gift because it literally made me laugh out loud and gave me something to smile about.  Laughter and smiles in the midst of grief are such a blessing because they are often rare.  Laughter, plus the love and support from my friend expressed in the card, not to mention her listening ear earlier in the day resulted in some healing today.  Sometimes it's the simplest things that can aide in the healing process.

Time definitely does help heal all wounds, but just as with shark bites, our wounds need more than just time.  I am grateful for the two months (as of today) that have passed since we learned our baby was with Jesus because the simple pass of time has healed some of our wounds.  However, some of them hurt just as much like the fact that I will always miss our baby (until I am reunited with him or her in Heaven) no matter how much time has gone by.  

I wish grief had a specific measurable amount of time like two months or six months or even a year as long as it came with a guarantee that it would never hurt again after that specific period of time.  However, that just isn't realistic and accepting that has been one of the hardest things for me lately.  Mostly because I am a planner who loves structure and lists, especially checklists.  I wish I could make a checklist of the steps of grief so I could check them off as fast as possible.  But as I stated in a previous post, "grief is messy".  It takes on a life of it's own and does not follow any specific plan or checklist.  And that's so difficult for me because I want to know the steps I need to take so I can just get it over and done with.

Right now, God is challenging me to let go of my expectations, my expectations for myself, my grief, and the healing process.  Letting go of my expectation of where I think I should be at this point in time.  Letting go of my expectation of how emotional I think I should be.  Letting go of my expectation of how much I should talk about what I am feeling.  Letting go so I can just be.  Just be myself.  Feel what I feel when I feel it without worrying about what I think I should feel or feeling guilty on the days I don't feel as much as I think I should.  Letting go because my expectations have only led to guilt, shame, discouragement, and frustration, and because it's simply not what God wants for you or me.  

Therefore, today I am committing to just being me.  I am committing to feeling when the feelings come and not forcing them when they do not exist.  I am committing to seeking out a listening ear when I need to share, but not forcing it just because I think I should.  I am committing to letting go of my expectations, believing and trusting that God is the One who heals my wounds, not my checklist or plans.  Psalm 147:3 (The Holy Bible, NIV) states, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."  So may you believe and trust that God truly is the One who heals all wounds, however on days when you just need to smile, remember "Time heals all wounds, except shark bites."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Whole New World

Ever since we lost our baby, I have felt like I'm part of a whole new world.  A world that I had heard of, but tried to avoid thinking about due to my own fear and desperation for a different story.  Obviously, I'm not referencing the picture perfect Disney whole new world presented in Aladdin.  Quite the contrary, actually.  This world is full of pain, heartache, lost hopes, dreams, aspirations, expectations.  This world is full of women and families who have experienced the devastation of pregnancy loss.  And it's full of so many more people than I ever realized.

There are a multitude of varying statistics regarding the frequency of miscarriages, ranging anywhere from 17 to 40 percent of conceptions ending in miscarriages according to what I have come across.  However, no matter what statistic is attached to miscarriages, it definitely seems far too common.  A couple weeks ago, in the regular routine of my daily life, I came in contact with three people who had experienced a miscarriage.  All in one day of my everyday life.  That was startling to me and very eye-opening.  A whole new world, indeed.

In talking to those three women, I observed the heartache and pain of the miscarriage and felt my own.  I witnessed healing and growth that had taken place over time.  I also saw the hopeful expectation of those trying to conceive again in spite of past circumstances.  Different personalities, different circumstances, different life experiences, yet united by our understanding of this whole new world that we were now a part of.

One of the many painful parts of miscarriages is the loneliness one can feel.  The loneliness that comes from feeling that no one quite understands or that those who do may not be feeling your pain simultaneously.  Or the loneliness experienced in a marriage or relationship because of the fact that your husband or partner is grieving differently than you and does not know exactly what you are going through.  The silence causes loneliness too.  The silence that comes from the masses for those of us who chose to share our experience with only a selected few or the silence that comes after those we have shared with go on to live their normal lives while we're still in the midst of grief.

I am learning that there is healing in sharing.  There is healing in having someone understand what you're going through because they have been there, either past or present.  It is also encouraging and hope-giving to see those who are further along on their journey of healing, reminding us that we will get there too.  Even though others may not fully understand, I challenge and encourage you to share your story with those who are safe and trustworthy so you too can experience healing through sharing.  Join a support group, have coffee with a friend, talk to a counselor.  You are not alone for there are a myriad of us living in this whole new world.         

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Just One of Them Days

Remember the song "Don't take it personal (aka Just One of Dem Days)" by Monica?  I know I am dating myself here, but it was really popular in 1995 when I was in eighth grade.  Today, seventeen years later, I found myself singing the lyrics in my head..."It's just one of them days that a girl goes through.  When I am angry inside, don't want to take it out on you.  Just one of them things.  Don't take it personal.  I just wanna be all alone and you think I treat you wrong."

I'm learning that grief creates many "just one of them days".  Today, my "just one of them days" began with a simple conversation and question, "How have you been doing?"  A question that was directly related to how I have been dealing with the miscarriage.  I responded quickly, "alright".  And up until that moment, I had been doing "alright", possibly even "pretty good" or "good".  However, that moment opened up a window to my grief and suddenly all my feelings came flooding in.

Although I appreciated the gesture and knew in my heart that the person had all the love and care in the world for my well-being, all I wanted to do was hurry up and get the conversation over with because it became a vivid reminder that I actually wasn't "alright".  Thus beginning my "just of them days" experience.  Following the conversation, I began wrestling with emotions and questions in my head and just wanted to isolate myself from the world.  Also, as the day went on I noticed myself becoming more and more irritable and extremely stressed and frustrated by the simplest things.  

As the irritability escalated, my husband gently checked in with me to see how I was doing, and I responded, "It's just one of those days."  He graciously accepted the answer and my response helped me better understand what I had been wrestling with over the past four hours or so.  When we're grieving, we have "just one of them days" or two or three or ten or fifty.  It seems to be part of the grieving process and it's okay.

I am realizing that it is okay to have "just one of them days".  However, it's important for me to acknowledge when and understand why I am having "just one of them days".  If I fuel my irritability and hurt others with my actions then it becomes something else besides "just one of them days".  If I can acknowledge why I am irritable and admit that I am sad and missing my baby today or that I'm just plain angry or upset that it had to happen this way then I can heal.

I can't heal without feeling the feelings, thinking the thoughts, and asking the questions.  Even though I'd much rather ignore the feelings, thoughts, and questions, and just hope it all goes away.  The truth is that it doesn't.  In order to heal, I've got to feel.  Not dwell and stay there forever, but acknowledge my feelings, thoughts, questions, fears, disappointments, etc.  Only then can God heal my heart and make me whole again.

I know how tempting it is to want to push it all deep down and ignore it.  It seems much easier in the moment.  And to be honest, there are times in our life when we need to do this like when we're in the middle of a meeting at work or giving a presentation, but we can't do this forever.  It doesn't make it all go away, it doesn't disappear, it actually slows down the healing process.  

Sometimes pushing it down during the meeting or presentation is necessary for survival, but I don't want to just survive for the rest of my life, I want to thrive.  And in order to thrive, I must face the reality of my pain, which is rooted in my lost hopes, dreams, expectations, child.  I must face these things in order to heal, but it's so much easier to keep it buried.  For the meantime yes, but the long-term effects are even more damaging.

Lately I've been asking Jesus to help me feel when I need to feel.  To not just bury it and try to hide, but to feel so can I heal.  To trust that He'll provide for my needs as opposed to me groping for my survival with my own agenda.  To believe that thriving is better than surviving and that healing is better than never feeling my pain.  

In reality, my "just one of them days" today is a gift from God (in a way that only He can orchestrate).  It's an opportunity for me to feel and acknowledge my pain, my hurts, my disappointment, and mourn my child.  It's a day towards thriving instead of just surviving.  It's a day towards healing instead of hiding.  So on your "just one of them days", may you allow yourself to feel and God to heal so that instead of just surviving, you can begin your journey towards thriving.