‘Tis the season for a lot of things I’m not feeling right now. Making merry and giving glad tidings? I really just want to hide in my house. I am grasping for ways to find genuine hope and joy, but I can hardly speak those words aloud right now much less live in them. ‘Tis the season for some hard days I guess.
For reasons we will never know for sure, our baby boy’s heart stopped beating during his 16th week in my womb and left our hearts broken.
It has been a little over two weeks since we said goodbye to our tiny son.
The bruise from my IV has gone away. The bleeding has slowed down. The cramping has subsided. The roundness of my belly is disappearing. The milk came and now it’s gone too.
But the tears won’t stop. The empty feeling isn’t going away. We’re trying to rejoin the world and move forward but the world just doesn’t seem right today. I am surprised at how painful it is to get in the car and do my regular routines while the world spins on. Everything seems hard.
As I get up each morning and realize that the crippling nausea I’ve had for 2 1/2 months is gone, I wish it back. As I pack away maternity clothes wondering if 40 year old me will ever give birth to another baby, my eyes well up. As I hear my 5 year old ask his dad if we can pray that mommy would feel better and wouldn’t cry so much, the tears fall again.
I know that grieving takes time and that we will eventually heal, but our world stopped that Tuesday morning and the process of restarting our lives is a fuzzy one. I don’t know how to do it. Some days I feel peace and other days (like last Saturday) I wake up pissed off at the world. Most days I just feel sad. That’s grief. It’s unpredictable, sometimes ugly and it fights you when you try to micromanage it.
I have already found myself tempted to hurry the grieving process. Hurrying to get to the healing part. Hurrying to find lessons and use this to encourage someone else. Hurrying to figure out what this means for our future. But I’m trying to slow down. To sit in the pain a bit and give God room to speak. To pay attention to what I need, what my husband needs, what our kids need- and not cover it all up with Christmas cookies and obligations. And so we’ve been giving ourselves freedom. Not going to that thing. Hosting that party anyway. Being alone. Having a house full of people. Not cooking. Making donuts. Praying about it, talking through it, watching a movie to forget about it.
‘Tis the season for freedom. Freedom to take it one day at a time, to be honest about where we’re at, to engage both the good and the hard.
For a long time now, Christmas has been a mixed bag. A big duffel of joy & sorrow stuffed in together. 15 years ago, my mom went to heaven on Christmas Eve and I can picture that next morning in painful detail. Trying to unwrap the gifts she had put under the tree for each of us. Eventually unwrapping the ones we had put there for her. Feeling like I was going to suffocate. Feeling so heavy and so empty at the same time. But somehow across the years, God has redeemed some things and He has woven golden threads through my story. I can see now that my heightened longing this time of year for broken things to be made whole again is perfectly placed because that is the essence of Christmas.
My dear friend Ashley reminded me in her blog post last week that Christmas is for the broken.
“Christmastime is for those able to walk in the joys of the season, recounting memories of blissful days and stringing sugarplum visions on twinkly lights, but it might be more for those who cannot. For without unveiled eyes to see how a broken world is met in love come down, any yuletide beauty is transitory and ultimately pointless.” (read her whole post here.)
‘Tis the season to see a “broken world met in love come down.” ‘Tis the season to cry big tears and throw big parties, maybe even at the same time. ‘Tis the season for reflecting, cherishing and laying our broken hearts at the feet of Jesus.
And while I’m doing those things, I will picture our baby boy being snuggled in my mama’s arms. Right there in heaven with our two babies we lost to miscarriage earlier this year. I don’t want to debate whether that idea works theologically, I just want to picture my mom’s arms full of her grand babies. Jesus and her, holding them for us until we get there.