Saturday, October 15, 2016

Remembrance is a little different for us this year (+ a giveaway)

Today is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day. I spent the day with my husband at the last day of foster parent training. And you know what? That feels like the absolute best way we can love and honor the children we've lost.

Becoming a foster parent feels like an essential piece in my healing process. For three years now, I've forced myself to keep a space open in my life, a void that reminded me of of our loss. I didn't let anything fill that space because I felt like I needed to have this painful opening in order to feel the raw wound of the absence of our children. I thought that the only way to appropriately honor them was to be in constant pain, to stay in that place, and to always have a hole that reminded me what could have been and everything that was lost. Doing something that we wouldn't have done had our child(ren) lived seemed to be a form of treason, like leaving them behind or pretending they never existed.

It's only now, three years after my first loss, almost two years after my last, and just weeks away from the first birthday of my healthy (living!) baby boy, that I'm realizing the best way I can honor the children I've lost is to fill that void with something good.

No, we can't fill that open space in our lives with another child, that's not what foster parenting is about for us. Other women who have lost a child may fill that space with something else completely non-child related - volunteer work, prayer, art, etc. This is not about replacing our children, but forging ahead and creating a full, meaningful life with what we have been given.

David and I have talked about being foster parents since before we married. We've moved around frequently and struggled financially so that it was never a viable option until now. After buying our home earlier this year, we finally have the space and stability to be able to care for foster children. It was time.

And yet in the back of my mind, there was that thought, that reminder that if one of the children we lost had lived, we probably would not feel capable of being foster parents right now. We'd most likely have three children then, closer together in age, and I imagine we'd feel like there wasn't the extra time or energy or space right now for foster children.

The truth, however, is that our children did die. Francis died. Julian died. Adrienne died. Christian died. And I have a choice. Either I can continue to dwell on their deaths and make my life some kind of morbid mausoleum to them, or I can choose to turn their deaths into something positive. Because they died, my family has the resources to care for foster children. I think maybe I've not wanted to admit that there are good things we can do because they died for fear that in some way that could be twisted to mean that it was good that they died.

It was not good that they died. But their death can still bring about something good. I'm finally at the place where I'm ready for that. Where I no longer have to torture myself with thoughts of "what would have been". Where I no longer feel the need to punish myself with continual reminders of their deaths for fear that if we move on we are somehow betraying them, that we are in some way saying "it is better this way". No, it is not better. My four babies, four unique beautiful souls are missing from this world, but in their absence we can still go on living. It is not better, but it can still be good. It is good.


I don't know how I missed it in the past, but it seems fitting that Infant and Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day is also St. Teresa of Avila's feast day. My favorite quote of hers seems so fitting today:
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
-- St. Teresa of Avila

In honor of Infant and Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day, I would like to give away a beautiful printable of this quote from the etsy shop brickhouseinthecity. (Giveaway sponsored and purchased by me.) Also, Usborne Books consultant Kayla Fellows has very sweetly offered a giveaway item as well:
I am a stay at home wife and mother. I have felt the heartache of infertility, miscarriage and the anxiety of pregnancy after miscarriage. I am very blessed to have given birth to my rainbow baby almost a year ago. In honor of the baby I lost, Bernard Marie, I'd like to donate $15 worth of product from my Usborne Book Store.

I'll also throw in a Lilla Rose hair accessory, as always, since that's my little side biz. I'd like to keep the entries to parents who have lost a child to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. To enter, simply comment telling me something you do to remember your baby/babies. 

11 comments:

  1. Ahhh wow. This Oct 15 for whatever reason my loss has been heavy on my heart. We have been talking and praying about foster care, and this post really means something to me. To honor my babies I volunteer with organizations that minister to families experiencing pregnancy loss.

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  2. I have a necklace I wear around my neck for my sweet baby ❤️ We also have a rememberance ornament for our Christmas tree. I share my story with others to help them in not losing hope and to gain strength.

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  3. Oh my goodness, it feels like divine intervention to read this right now. We are just beginning the process of foster care and I can relate to so many of these thoughts. We've only told a few people mostly out of fear that someone will try to justify my kids' deaths. This year we went to the cemetery with milk shakes and candles (led ones) with our son. My husband doesn't cry often when we go to the cemetery, but he did this time. Some days it's so hard not to wallow in "what ifs". Lily should be turning two in a few weeks and we should be welcoming our third child a few weeks after that. But there has been something tugging on our hearts for awhile, to grow our family, to give our son the experience of having kids in our house. Not the way we imagined, but we can still give him that and give kids a place to feel safe and loved. I will be praying for your journey. :)

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  4. I made a Christmas ornament out of the ultrasound picture. It's a special thing to me each year to place it on the tree and remember John-Michael.

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  5. "the best way I can honor the children I've lost is to fill that void with something good" ---> What a beautiful thought. It makes me want to do some thinking about what good my family can do to honor our little ones. Thank you for sharing. <3

    I write to my babies in a journal. It's brought me peace like nothing else has.

    http://www.sweepingupjoy.com/remembering-the-littlest-of-lives/

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  6. I so know what you mean by making space! Because of the wide spacing of our kids and our loss, it's allowed us to do various types of volunteering and growth that wouldn't have been so feasible otherwise. It's so true about how you have to change the thought patterns that say "it's better this way" or "I need to stay in pain to remember." I have to focus not on what it could have been but on what it is and what God (and this little child) want me to do with my life.

    Right now I have a project to make a frame with her name and dried flowers to hang on our wall with all the family photos. My little Celine is always in my heart.

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  7. I have a little prayer I saw every night given to me by a friend. We also include our miscarried baby in the night prayers we say with our living children.

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  8. My husband and I have experienced the loss of five babies thru four miscarriages. Thankfully, after four years of secondary infertility we added our twins Elizabeth and Jacob) to our family giving our oldest daughter Abigail siblings. With so many losses I try not to remember due dates or law states because frankly my mental health would not be good with that. I do keep a remembrance to them on a private signature on a blog so that every time I visit that website I smile a little thinking of the babies that someday all meet. Innoway it's nice knowing that I have little saints up in heaven looking down at me and watching over our family.

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  9. I wear a necklace that is a heart intertwined with an infinity symbol in memory of the baby we lost. I also am active with our local baby loss group where we make boxes for the local hospitals to give out when someone loses their baby at any stage.

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  10. Please please sign and share my petition to help the NHS have a better understanding towards miscarriage
    https://www.facebook.com/laura.percival.900/posts/10157644564355646

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  11. Just found your blog. Going through my third miscarriage now and it's comforting to read about others. Thank you.

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