Un-telling is the Hardest Part

“Mommy, why is the baby in trouble?”

I glanced in the rearview mirror at my three-year old daughter as we pulled out of the hospital parking lot.  Tears silently fell as I choked back stifled sobs.

A puzzled look fell over her face.  “Is the baby in trouble because it hurt you?” she whispered.

“Did daddy tell you the baby was having trouble?”

Kolby nodded yes.

It was a conversation I wasn’t equipped for.  How was I going to explain to Kolby that the baby brother (or sister) she wished for with a penny and a prayer in the fountain at Starbucks was gone? 

How do you translate an ectopic miscarriage to a toddler?

“Sweetheart, the baby isn’t in mommy’s tummy anymore.  Now he is in heaven.”

Kolby scrunched up her face and gulped.  “My baby is with Jesus in heaven? But that’s so far away and I won’t see him.”

“Someday you will.  Someday we’ll meet him.”

Kolby sighed in sadness and closed her eyes.  Within minutes she fell asleep.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  The first of many tough conversations was over.  It’s the un-telling I dread the most.  The reason we hide our pregnancies for the first three months is for this exact moment.

Because it freaking sucks to un-tell the good news we were just starting to tentatively share.

This isn’t my first miscarriage.  I’ve had six over the last fifteen years with one well into my second trimester.  And just because I pass a “pregnancy milestone,” I know there are no guarantees. 

Life is a gift and it is sacred.  My three children are miracles.

Death and loss are never easy.  It always hurts, always feels unnatural and it ALWAYS rips apart the fabric of a mother’s heart.

So when I un-tell…yet again, please give me a hug.  Grab my hand and don’t feel like you have to say anything of relevance.  I don’t need to hear a scripture verse or a platitude.  At this point, I’ve pretty much heard them all. 

Sometimes the comfort and solace of Christ is best experienced in the un-said.  It’s in the flowers sent, the bread on my door for PB & J’s, the notes and texts and fingers squeezed.  It’s the family picnic in my bedroom on a scary Saturday night where all five of us laughed and prayed and hoped for the best in the worst of times. 

So here is my un-tell…

I lost a baby.  It didn’t work out this time.  I’m a little raw.  I cry easily.  I might avoid you but only because I don’t trust myself yet to have a normal conversation.  I’m also feeling tremendously blessed and loved.  I’m sad and I’m happy.

And just so you know, the baby’s not in ANY trouble.  He’s at a party right now in heaven.

Preach the Gospel at all times… and when necessary, use words. – Saint Francis of Assisi

Got Emotions?

There’s a knot where my emotions live.  If I think about the knot it makes me want to cry.  So every effort to write has been rather futile this last week.  I reach for inspiration and the knot is like a lump of noodles clogging my drain… I mean brain

I’m not that great at grieving.  If stuffing had a competitor at Thanksgiving it would be me.  Generally my emotions only leak out in intimate small group settings where I feel really safe –and then some sort of emotional dam opens and I break down from bottling emotions that have been pent-up for ages, like a fine wine gone bad with bitterness.  It’s a weepy snotty affair and I associate this with weakness. 

So the way I protect myself from emotional hijacking is to lead the group and be a great listener.  It’s a safer place –always being the strong one.

I realized the other day, after my third round of blisters from shingles in three months, something needs to give.  I don’t want to live in this guarded place of protecting myself from hurt.  All too often I stay subtlety detached, not wanting to get too close to people, because they might leave me or hurt me, so I hover at a healthy distance and inoculate myself from pain before it can catch me.

But it always finds me.  I can’t hide from life.  And if I’m honest, I hate this about myself.  I don’t want to miss out on passion and laughter and joy to avoid discomfort and devastation.

I married Mr. Fun who wears his emotions on his sleeve and experiences high highs and low lows.  And somehow I have allowed myself to live vicariously through his emotional life so don’t have to have my own.

I stand at a distance and remain the steady ship swimming through the churning seas.  One is not better than the other, but I recognize the two together don’t equal a whole.  Sometimes it’s just two broken pieces patched together and leaking.

I buy into the lie that I need to be the glue in my family.  I imagine I wouldn’t be getting shingles if I let myself unravel a little bit more.  I have become a secret control freak who only cries at other people’s stories.  

You know something’s out of whack when you’re friend has a miscarriage and you are so upset she has to console you.  This lovely friend came over last night to be there for me in my time of need and I remained dry eyed and stoic –where are my tears hiding?

So here’s my goal for the next few months –to let go and FEEL deeply.  To not hide behind the laughs but to live them, to stop minimizing, and to go to the dark places in life recognizing that even there I am not alone. 

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:11-12)

For all of you covert Type A’s hiding behind being nice and steady and secretly overwhelmed up to their eyeballs –care to join me in this adventure?

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