Lydia Grace

Lydia Grace
Our first child, Lydia Grace

Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Bring Restoration

You take my mourning, turn it into dancing
You take my weeping, turn it into laughing
You take my mourning, turn it into dancing
You take my sadness, turn it into joy

You bring restoration...

We sang this song at church tonight. Some of my thoughts follow.

Mourning into dancing, weeping into laughing, sadness into joy...
At times statements like these seem impossible. Mourning doesn't seem to have a clear ending; though I laugh, I still weep; my sadness is present with the joy, for the present I experience both extremes. 

Yet one day my mourning will be turned completely into dancing, never to return and bring with it the familiar ache. One day my weeping will be turned to laughing and singing, and tears will no longer so easily fall. One day sadness will not darken my life, and joy never ending will fill it. He promises restoration, though complete restoration will not come until Christ returns. Hallelujah! O glorious day! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011


We all do it. Upward comparison and downward comparison. Who is "better" than us, who is "worse". Make ourselves look better or feel worse, justify actions, validate ourselves. People do it with physical comparisons: thinner, fatter, stronger. People, mostly in the church, compare with a sort of moral scale: he does these things, at least I don't. Material wealth, education, careers, social status...this comparison goes on and on in so many areas of life.

Sadly it exists even within the world of grief. The end result may be the same: a mother or father have lost a child, yet a hierarchy of sorts appears to be shared by many. 

The loss of a three month old is deemed greater than the lost of a newborn or child in the womb. Is it the act of giving birth to a living baby what people consider the threshold of parenthood? Is that what makes the difference? Suddenly you are a parent and the death of your child is automatically more painful?Or is it the child had a life here on earth and other people were able to interact with the child? See his face, hear his voice, watch him play, etc. Does that make the loss greater? 

Some may compare to make their loss seem greater or compare to reason that their loss is not as great. One who has lost an infant has commented that losing a baby before you were able to hear her cry, look in her eyes, feed her and comfort her is unimaginable. I've heard gratefulness for any brief amount of time spend with one's child; pity for those who lost children before given that chance. 

My loss has been brushed aside by some, Lydia's life not truly recognized as human because she did not draw a breath outside my womb. Hurtful words have come because I did not carry Lydia to term. As if several more weeks in my womb legitimizes her life as more real and the loss greater. She could have been born at the time she did and lived. Yet if a baby is lost before his or her life was viable outside the womb, it does not diminish that loss. How is it that a loss at 40 weeks can be conceived as more painful, greater, more tragic than a loss at 26 weeks?

I've heard comments stating estrangement from their living, adult child is worse than the death of a child. I cannot speak from experience as to the suffering of that state, but it certainly serves to invalidate my loss, my grief, my pain. One commentator even had the audacity to try and relate my feelings of motherhood (i.e. my struggle to be recognized as a mother and have the mother identity while not having my baby with me) to a broken engagement. Death is something different. 

Comments from well-intending people and maybe those not so well-intending, even comments within groups hoping to provide support can cause pain when words of comparison are spoken.

The conclusion I draw for the reason of this comparison in grief is the desire to feel our loss is recognized. Affirmed. Seen as significant. Validated. Whether the loss is an infant 10 days old or at 28 weeks of gestation, the fact remains that the mother has lost her child. A mother she will always be. The loss is great. The pain is real. Comparison does not help. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Why are you silent on this that matters most?
Fear of inflicting pain, a reason for many
Yet with you it’s something different
That keeps your lips silent.

Pictures and words
Talking unheard
Silence still reigns
Denial of pain

Lack of acknowledgement
Not seen as existing
Remaining veiled and hidden
To not cause you shame

Shame and embarrassment
Greater than pain
It binds you to silence
There you remain

Scrupulous to appear
Standing tall and strong
Hidden tears and sorrow
Grief an unsung song 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Six Month Anniversary/Twenty Week Celebration

   Today is a significant day for my husband and I. Today marks my 20th week of pregnancy and six months since Lydia's birth. The 20th week of pregnancy is important because it is the half-way point of pregnancy and it differentiates the loss of Isaiah** after this point as a stillbirth and not a miscarriage (medically defined). Tomorrow, weather permitting, I have my fifth sonogram. 
  And six months since Lydia's birth. Six months ago we were holding Lydia in our arms after 16+ hours of labor. Six months. It sounds like a long time, but six months isn't so very long. I have read that most people can only tolerate another's loss for about a month before wanting the grieving person to get back to normal. I've heard this thought reflected in senseless comments of others made towards me or my husband. I want to shake them and tell them to judge only after they've buried a child. The remarks never come from someone who has. Grief takes time. Most people seem to forget that we are still grieving her loss while celebrating the pregnancy of another child. 
   Six months. Six months of time in which we have endured Lydia's due date, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Painful days to say the least. Six months of grieving, learning to live without the daughter for whom we had prayed and loved. Times in which we have found comfort and support and times there have seemed to be none. 
   Reflecting on the past six months I can identify how my grief has changed. From the first weeks of not being able to sleep at night, waking up in the middle of the night, overcome and consumed with it all to a grief allowing more functioning in the world. Seeing babies in stores (particularly in church) causes pain, but it has been some time since I have felt the urge to scream and throw things in the store. A grief that is ever present, overwhelming at times, still bringing anger, questions, and sadness. 
   Six months ago I was holding her in my arms. That is the sole reason I resist this passage of time. It takes me further away from that bittersweet moment. Closing my eyes I am back in that hospital room. My husband, OB, and one very kind nurse were in the room. A final push, an exhale of relief, and Lydia was placed on my stomach. My first emotion was joy. My first thoughts of admiration, love, and amazement at this beautiful baby. I was struck by the perfection of her form. I felt such a possessiveness of her, my daughter; a protectiveness for no one to hurt her little body or dare make a comment. 
   Isn't she beautiful? I remember asking the nurse. She agreed. Lydia looked perfect. Such a perfectly formed, beautifully shaped body. Such a healthy weight and size for her gestation. No marks of damage, accident or illness. Then why wasn't she alive? The questions still haunts me with many times my only conclusions being something I did or didn't do. A failure on my part. 
   Finding joy in our daughter and experiencing the best of a closure possible given the circumstances. Six months ago I was able to hold my baby. Indescribable sorrow, profound loss, feelings that this was more than I could bear engulfed me. Yet those moments with her were ones I wish had been prolonged. Ones which I wish I could experience again. 
   An anticipatory joy for the future and a remembrance of the past today. I continue on this journey of grief while walking the path of another pregnancy. 

**After I posted this blog, my husband read it and stated it sound like losing Isaiah was expected or anticipated. That is not the case. I do not want to lose Isaiah nor is there any indication that may be a possibility.