Sunday, April 30, 2017

what i learned from loss

Oh my heavens. It's been three months since I've sat down and recorded anything here. I constantly have blog posts floating through my brain, things I want to remember, things I want to be sure to tell you about. But honestly, we've been so busy living. Life with four is infinitely different than life with three. I've let a lot of things go so that I can focus more on the fun--the laundry, a clean house, this blog. But so far the trade off has been worth it...our clothes may never make their way back to our closets and may be stuck in a perpetual cycle of wear, wash, grab out of basket, but we are really having fun in this crazy season of life.

Last week, though, I kept meaning to type out a blog in my head, one that is important for me to tell you four about one day. Last week was infertility awareness week, and even though I managed to miss the official week window, there are a few things I want you to know.

While your dad and I didn't experience traditional infertility, we did experience the heartbreak it entails. With each loss, each unexplained failure, we felt our dream family slipping further and further away. When we got married, I had a pretty concrete plan: Be married for approximately 7 years before kids (during which time I would focus on my career), pop out a baby every 2 years until we got our four little ones, send our kids to an amazing school or find a dual language nanny so I could be super mom and super lawyer. I had quite the story written.

But here's how our story really went down: Be married for 1.5 years before beginning treatment for reproductive issues, decide after 4 years that we better start trying for a baby, really really want a baby quickly, lose 3 babies in an extremely short timeframe, decide to leave traditional lawyer job to find a lower stress environment, go all in on fertility treatments, get pregnant with twins at 28, decide to quit being a lawyer all together and stay home with my kids, go through a failed ivf, find out we were having another boy, be super excited we had 3 kids, find out on the day of kid #3's first birthday that kid #4 was on his way. Looking at it like this, it doesn't look as pretty as my plan. It's definitely not as neat, there are some extreme curves along the way, but let me assure you...this was the most beautiful story written.

I've finally, years later, gotten to a place where I view our losses through a different lens. I can now look at that time in my life and see how it changed me, our family, and the choices we went on to make. I am a better person because of those three babies that we never met, because of the failed embryo that I had pinned so much hope onto.

I'm nicer now. I know that sounds silly, and it's a little embarrassing to admit, but the pain we waded through softened my edges in a good, good way.

I respond more quickly with empathy. I believe empathy is one of the most important character traits, and I know that mine was developed through the fire of loss.

I am a better mom. The moments I fought for you gave me a different perspective on motherhood, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I am more honest and vulnerable. Our journey to kids taught me the power of telling your story, and more importantly the power of listening to the stories of others.

So here's the thing, little ones. Your life is not going to go as planned. You'll have your story written, and then the chapters will come all out of order, or maybe not come at all. And in that moment, maybe even for years, it will be heart wrenching. Finding a bright side down the road does not negate the real pain of whatever situation you find yourself in. But this is my plea to you...when you find yourself in those places that feel God-forsaken and unredeemable, keep your heart as tender as you possibly can. I promise to protect you as fiercely as I can, but I beg you to hold on to your tenderness. Because the tender spots are where the light creeps back in. And one day, if you let it, you just might find that enough light mixed with your darkness to make you a new person--a person filled with more gratitude, more love, more wholeness. A better person than your planned story could have possibly accounted for.

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