This is a very hard day for me. Last Thanksgiving we announced that we were pregnant with our third baby. I was 8 weeks pregnant and it was so hard to wait that long to tell people because I had been so sick (as usual.) It was really hard to keep the secret from my Mom, especially, because we had been teaching Children’s Church together and I felt absolutely awful. I remember standing in front of a big group of kids with my mom sitting in the back and I had to smile and teach while I swallowed down vomit. I was so determined to keep the secret until Thanksgiving. Both my family and Josh’s family all get together in South Carolina for Thanksgiving, so it was the perfect opportunity to share our exciting news. We let Asher announce the surprise with his big bro shirt.
It was so fun, one of my sweet Lucy memories. It makes my heart ache now, though, because here we are a year later and Asher still isn’t technically a “big bro.” I feel her absence with every breath I take on this day, my sweet baby girl who I wanted so much.
But with all this pain as a backdrop, the things that I am thankful for stand out so brilliantly. So, what am I thankful for this year? This year that has been the worst year of my life. I am thankful for so many things and the thankfulness does not have to be conjured up or forced to be recognized. These things I am thankful for come to my mind almost daily and they are a respite for me and they refresh me and they bring healing. Thankfulness is a bright and shining thing in this year of darkness for me.
I am thankful for the blissful ignorance that I was able to have with my first two pregnancies. How grateful I am that I had my two healthy pregnancies before these losses of mine. I know the beauty of a “normal” and innocent pregnancy and birth and I am thankful for that. I had to include this awesome picture of me right before giving birth to Asher.
I am thankful that my boys have each other. After Liam was born I felt this constant burden to give him a brother. SO many times as I watched Liam play I would say to Josh, “He needs a brother.” I felt like the reality of Liam having a sibling was something at jeopardy and I couldn’t breathe easy until he had his brother. They are the best playmates and they love each other so much and when I see them brothering through their day it soothes my heart. Nothing has brought me more joy on this earth since losing Lucy than my boys have.
I am thankful that the trees are losing all their leaves because it’s easier when the world around me mirrors my inner heart. I remember how painful it was to see the fresh, bright green leaves emerge in the spring right after Lucy died. The world’s cheerful beauty seemed to be mocking me. The new life of spring was bursting all around while my heart and my dreams died. Now I feel much more at home with the cold air and the soon to be bare trees.
I am thankful for those who have the ability to mourn with me, who choose to connect with my sorrow even though their lives are in a joyful place. These people feel like Christ in the flesh, easing my sorrow. They refresh me.
I am thankful for the comfort I have found on the internet. I was able to google “stillbirth” right before Lucy died (I had a feeling I was losing her) and it explained what to expect. It gave me a little time to decide how I would birth her and to choose whether I wanted to see her or not. The internet connected me to my lifelines- baby center and blogs from other baby loss moms and so many other resources that I couldn’t get anywhere else.
I am thankful for my most favorite new friend, Sara Hopper, who lost her baby Luke earlier this year. I have never met her face to face, but I feel like I know her well. She found me through my blog and we have been good friends ever since. At first I was so happy because I was able to support her in those horrible first dark days after she lost Luke. I thought God was bringing us together so that I could encourage her, but now I am sure that the opposite is true. Sara has encouraged me more than anyone else on earth since I lost Lucy. She has listened to my heartaches and frustrations and she understands completely. Sara always urges me to hope and when I just don’t have the strength to do it, she hopes for me. Her baby Luke feels like part of our family. My boys love looking at pictures of Lucy’s friend, Luke and talking about what Luke and Lucy are doing in heaven together. I am so thankful for these sweet new friends and the comfort they have brought.
I am also thankful for my best friend Shelly, who understands me and lets me be me. She encourages me so much. She doesn’t get weird when I say things like, “I can’t wait to be in heaven” or “I just can’t be around people today” or “I’m starting to spiral.” Shelly knows that if we are out in public and a woman with a baby girl sits next to us that we need to move and find new seats. She knows what I need. She is a place of refuge for me.
I am thankful for the slow healing that I’m starting to feel. I’m starting to enjoy things like food and tv and people more. The pain is (usually) not so excruciating anymore. The weight on my chest is slowly starting to lift and I can feel that I am starting to move from the “losing Lucy” stage to the “finding hope” stage. Even my hair has stopped falling out (gross, I know) but that is something I am thankful for.
There are so many things I am thankful for, but these are the ones that stand out the most right now. I am also so very thankful for all of my blog readers and fellow baby loss moms. Your support means more than you know and has had a HUGE impact on my healing. I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving Day!