(If you have been following my prior blogs and are confused, see here ;-) :
But let me back up.
Two years ago tomorrow, I sat in a bed in the ER for nearly ten hours, physically laboring through my second miscarriage. I won't recount the exact chain of events or the countless moments of just deep deep sadness that defined that day and changed who I was. But I will say that it was a formative day and time during my grief journey to motherhood, and I still think on it with great pain and sadness. And though it wasn't the first baby that we'd lost, in many ways I feel that it triggered a turn of events that have defined me ever since. All of the time spent writing, sobbing, crafting, reading, praying, fighting, hoping, and ministering. The journey. the grief. Have been who I am for so long.
And so this week. The week that every newscast, every radio station, every commercial, every TV show, every store, and every greeting card company on the planet. Get together and remind us that it's the week of motherhood. It has knocked me down once again.
And I wasn't expecting that.
Even right now as I listen to the sound of the crashing ocean waves on the monitor next to my bed, confirming that Isobel is sound asleep in her crib.
I still wasn't expecting it.
This is my chance. This is the time. This is my turn. The year. When people will finally recognize me as a mother. Will see me with an actual live, perfect child in my arms. And know. That I am a mother. When I won't have to dread the clerk at the store who means well but doesn't know any better as she wishes me a Happy Mother's Day on my way out. Because it will be true. And I won't have to go to my car and cry and yell. I won't have to be sad.
But. I am.
And after talking it out some tonight, I think there are a few things going on here. And this is me working those things out.
First. I have a child in my arms. A perfect beautiful, gorgeous child in my arms. But my other children are still missing. And as much as having a child in my arms affirms my status as a mother (or so they say), then not having my other children in my arms affirms my status as a bereaved mother. I'm most comfortable as a bereaved mother. I know how to do that. How to be that. See. I miss them. And I wish they were here. And as I've already begun to prepare the family's clothes for this special Sunday, I wonder what clothes I would have been ironing for them.
Something is missing.
And then there is Isobel. Our Isobel. My Isobel. Our rainbow after the storm. Our miraculous gift from above. God's promise. Dropped into our laps in the most unimaginable way. So unbelievably quickly. Boy do I love her. The highlight of my day is when I pick her up from grandma's after work and kiss her face until her cheeks are red. It's "scolding" her to put her tongue back in her face and quit licking back when her puppy licks her. It's seeing that tiny dimple on her left cheek when she smiles. It's hearing her giggle. And shedding oh so many tears when I pray over her at bedtime. And if all of this is true. Which it is. Then why do I keep referring to her as Izzie? Or my kid? Why don't I refer to her as my daughter? But mostly. Why don't I feel like her mother? I have never for even a single second intentionally held anything back from her. Even when it was terrifyingly possible that she could be taken from our home at any moment. I have tried and tried and tried to feel like her mother. To do and to be everything that a mother would.
But something is missing.
I have been so defined by my grieving mother heart for so long. It's been a part of everything that I do to the point where it has become, I think, in many ways, who I am. All of me. All the time. And it's compounded as the years have gone on. And even now as I carry grief for Isobel's birth mom too. Heavily. And I will always grieve the loss of my children. I will always wonder who they would have been. I will always wonder what they would have looked like and what kind of personality or gifts they would have had. I will always keep the mementos we have of them up in our home and include them in our special holiday and family traditions. I will always talk about them and tell anyone and everyone what an important part of my life and my journey they have been. And I will always tell their sister of her siblings. Always. Until the day I see them again.
And there it is.
The truth is, my children that were born into heaven-- are in heaven. They are perfect, complete, and in eternity with Christ. They don't know sin, pain, or brokenness. And they have full knowledge of what lies ahead. And in that, are they not looking down and wondering why their mother is still so defined by their deaths? I think that given what they know, they would want me. Would want us. To embrace what's next. A new season. A new season of gladness and of joy. And it doesn't mean I have to forget them. Or minister less.
Go ahead, mom. Be Isobel's mother.
Be Isobel's mother.
Being a mother to Isobel is not a betrayal to them.
I need to be Isobel's mother.
I can be Isobel's mother.
I am Isobel's mother.
And this reminds me. Of every time that I'm sending pictures to Izzie's tummy mommy and I double check that it's okay before I send one that has Jesse or me in it. And how every time. Without fail. She says to me-- "You know how I feel about that! I love seeing her with you guys, you are her parents!"
Go ahead. Be Isobel's mother.
And so tomorrow. As we begin the start of a long weekend that will hold many bittersweet moments. Mothers. Bereaved mothers. Mother hearts. Loss. Sadness. Life. and Hope. I'm making a new plan. A plan to for once, be in the moment. This moment. Whether it's nursery painting. Or a family walk. Or date night. Or fussy time. Or diaper time. Or. Just time. Now. Here.
As Isobel's mother.