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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

6 months

I had originally intended to post monthly.  It's funny, during pregnancy, you know that things can change at any moment and not to count on anything going according to plan, but it feels like that should resolve after giving birth.  I should be able to plan out my time and do things in the order I prioritize them, especially without a newborn interrupting me, yet life has continued on just as messy as it was before.  I will have a thought pressing on me to blog about, but I'll do it after the kids eat.  Oh wait, after I pump.  Shoot, I forgot to reply to that e-mail.  Someone's calling me.  All littered with the ping of Facebook and requests for another sippy cup of milk or help on the potty.  The only consistent time I have at home without kids needing me is after they are in bed, by which point I am often not in the right frame of mind for writing.

I got hung up on feeling like I needed to explain why I was pumping before I could discuss many details of it.  This was a mistake because I don't think I can ever really express why, and now I've missed out on sharing much of my journey.  (Although really, part of me is skeptical that many would find it as fascinating as I do.)  I have documented it all with photos and logs, but it's not the same rebuilding it later and I groan at "and a great time was had by all" writing style.  I might try to catch up on at least some of it later, maybe...

In my process of self discovery, I have realized just how private a person I am and that I am actually a bit shy.  Now my mother has always bemoaned my private nature, but it didn't make sense to me because I am naturally an extrovert and rarely is there a topic that I shy away from.  I have no qualms speaking in front of a small or large crowd.  But when it comes to the topics close to my heart, I definitely shield myself.  I deal with it in my own time and space and not outwardly.  Unlike with multitasking or time management, where I'm hopeless navigating on my own unless I have a listening ear available.  On issues where every word and intonation counts, I prefer writing over speaking since I have a backspace.  I can pause and let my mind wander before coming back to where I was, to finish grasping at the thought floating out of my reach.

Why am I explaining all that?  Because I know there are many in my life still concerned and wondering about me, who are watching me for cues.  They see me introduce myself to someone else and not mention Naomi.  Meeting new people is always a little awkward, because I don't want Naomi's story to be a prerequisite to getting to know me.  I don't want anyone thinking I am in denial or ignoring my thoughts about her if she is not on the tip of my tongue.  It's more like I want to wait a bit, to have sure footing before bringing forth something so special and personal to someone who is a stranger.  (This is where the shyness comes in too, I don't like unloading such a huge emotion on someone moments after meeting them, because it's so much direct attention on me.  And the idea that they might think I am seeking that kind of attention makes me queasy.)  I am 100% fine with people referencing Naomi by name, asking me questions, or checking up on me.  Mentioning Naomi won't be a painful reminder because I never forget her.  Emotional support from friends and family is not something I am lacking by far, which I am grateful for.  I find comfort in the silence, knowing the support is there even though I'm not expressly calling for it.

I still trip over the question of "how many children do you have?"  I feel like I "should" say three, but technically I only have two with me.  I don't HAVE Naomi, that's the whole problem.  So, still trying to work out my pat answers to questions like that.

I remember learning about grief stages and such pre-Naomi.  I knew grief took a lot of time, but for some reason I thought it would be like one more thing on the to do list.  1) Fix breakfast, 2) shower, 3) cry for 20 minutes, 4) get dressed.  It's not like that at all.  It's not one more thing to fit in the list but an undertow pulling in all above it.  It's not a new independent thing to struggle with, it takes all your normal struggles and intensifies them.  So if you're lazy, you will be lazier.  If you overeat, you will eat even more.  And if your executive functioning skills are the equivalent of a monkey on a typewriter, your house will look like mine right now.  At least, this is what I'm telling myself when I think about how I haven't deposited any of the checks people mailed me for The Shepherd's Crook or how I still have last winter's outgrown clothes in the kid dressers.

"They" say that the worst point is six months out.  I feel like around four months was worse, so I don't know if that happened earlier for me or if I'm just in a lull.  Sometimes having a heads up on something isn't helpful.  I do often wish that I could just STOP the clock and freeze my kids and just have TIME to deal with stuff at my own speed.  To saunter through the condolence cards waiting for me, to carefully choose pictures to print and hang, or to catch up on posts in some of my support groups.  But time and I have never gotten along too well and try as I might, it just keeps passing against my will.


  1. Beautifully written, Sarah. Your description of grief -- how it is like an undertow -- is so amazingly apt!

    I wish it didn't sound so trite to say that I am praying for you, but I am. I wish I had more to offer, but I don't. But I do thank you for sharing this journey, in whatever time frame you want, with us. Naomi's life meant a great deal to a lot of people.

  2. Reading your blog made me think of these lyrics:

  3. I know Krista Welch always says that she has X number of children, and that 1 is in heaven and the remainder are on earth. She had a later-term miscarriage and this is her method for acknowledging that child who is so special to her and still one of hers in her heart. But I don't know how that would be for you. I just wanted to share it because it's one possibility for wording choice if it makes what you say jive better with your heart.

    I want to say thanks for sharing this with your public. :) We are all praying for you and thinking of you daily. I am certain that the grieving is such a real yet intangible process that is hard to put into words. It is good for us who've never been in your shoes to hear what it's like. And to know that grief shows itself in ways that we don't always assume (it doesn't always mean tears -- sometimes it means that life is just harder, or we're chronically distracted, etc.). Your writing is beautiful, and we are all honored to read every word that you choose to share. But even if you don't share, that's your business! And we are still remembering you and praying for you, either way.

    You are so special and wonderful. You are extremely amazing. I was so happy to see you a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't believe how thoughtful you were. You had such a way of making me feel special and also at ease and I could talk to you about my pregnancy with ease, though normally I don't with most people. Or it's superficial talk. So thanks.

  4. Beautiful piece -- and such an apt description of grief as an undertow, just lurking under everything in your life, and making the everyday struggles and challenges just more challenging.

    I have heard people who have lost children answer the question of how many with, "two living children." That acknowledges your lost child but means you don't have to go into further details with a new aquaintance.

    -- Nicole

  5. Oh Sarah, I wish I knew what more to say. Thank you for sharing with us. I think you said what a lot of us wish about a lot of things -- that we could just freeze the time moving around us so that we could have the time we need to process life events. But it doesn't, that's the hardest part. It sounds like you're doing exactly what you should be doing -- feeling the grief as you feel it, while still doing the daily tasks you need to. It's so easy to sink into a hole and try to just let the world go one without you. But you can't do that, especially with other children dependent on you. It's okay if everything is a bit chaotic, because the important thing is that your children will remember that even with the sadness, you were still THERE for them. Sure, sometimes you're going to need Dad or someone else take over for a little bit when you need that space for yourself, but all moms do for various reasons. No matter how much you may feel like you're moving in a fog, your kids will remember you still lived life with them, even while all of you ached for the life that was lost. That's the hardest part, and it sounds like you're doing just that -- that's true bravery.

    I wish I knew something better to say, more wise. But that's the best I have right now. And this: we miss Naomi, too. Not as much as you do, Momma, but we miss her too -- she was so beautiful. I'm still very glad you were her Momma before she went to be with the Lord. For what it's worth, I thought I'd tell you that again.

    I love you Sarah.