Motherhood. Neighboring. Grief. Sarcasm. Jesus.

Writing what I’ve learned along the way.

I’m The Same, But I’m Different {Since Losing Our Child}

I’m The Same, But I’m Different {Since Losing Our Child}

It has been just over a month since our daughter Aliza passed away at 33 weeks pregnant.

A friend at church asked me if I could describe in a few words how I am doing. I simply said, “The tears feel good. And the laughter feels good too.”

We are coming to the part of the story where the rest of the world stops grieving with us. Not our family or our close friends of course, but the world beyond that. This is natural, and it’s okay.

But as I slowly come out from under my rock and back into community, there are a few things I want you to know about me.

Since losing our child, I am the same.

I updated the “About Me” page on my website to include Aliza. But I didn’t have to change the information specifically about me: “Stay-at-home mom by day. Writer and accreditation coordinator by night. Dove chocolate and movie partaker in between. Lover of truth and laughter. Neat freak but not a germ freak.”

That’s all still true. I still have a place for every single item in our home. I still make sure each item is put back in its place after it is used. And I still let Toddler continue to suck on her sucker after it has fallen on the floor of the doctor’s office. Twice.

I am still able to laugh.

I was leery at first. I mean, the “Hello” page on my website says that “I write about things like Jesus, marriage, parenting, teaching, and stuff that makes me laugh. {Like trips to the gynecologist.}”

But I have not laughed during a trip to the OB-GYN office in a long time. Could that still be funny to me?

A few days after Aliza passed, Husband and I watched the movie “Patch Adams.” While Patch is attending medical school, he is on the welcoming committee for the group of gynecologists who come to visit the hospital. The welcome sign he hangs up across the front of the hospital says this: “WELCOME GYNOS. AT YOUR CERVIX.”

I laughed. So yeah, it’s still funny.

I still have two children.

It is a judgment call every time a stranger or acquaintance asks, "So, how many children do you have?" It's a judgment call of how much I want to lay out my entire life's story to someone who I know is looking for a much shorter, simpler answer.

But two. No matter how I answer, no matter if you only see one running circles around me, I have two children.

I still feel genuinely happy for those celebrating pregnancy and the birth of their child.

Before you go and name me an up and coming saint, hear me out. It’s not that I am not sad for me. It’s not that seeing a pregnancy announcement, or a swollen belly, or a newborn baby doesn’t make me sad for what I have lost. It’s not that it’s not hard seeing those things. Quite the opposite, actually. It is really hard to see those things.

But just as death should be mourned, new life should be celebrated. And just as you cry with me through my greatest pain, I want to celebrate with you through your greatest joys.

I don’t equate people sharing the discomforts of their pregnancy or the hardships of parenting with complaining or ingratitude.

For some reason I am nervous people will think of me as the “Gratitude Police” since our loss. As in, “one shouldn’t utter a single word about how hard pregnancy and parenting can be in front of me, because being grateful for our children means that we pretend it’s all butterflies and snuggles.”

But it helps that I have been there before too. I remember a healthy pregnancy and its nausea, rib pain, insatiable hunger, and psychotic hormones. I remember a newborn baby and our year of sleepless nights, constant feedings, and lack of any schedule or sanity.

I just also hope that as much as parents are able to recognize and share about the discomforts and hardships of pregnancy and parenting, that we are also able to recognize and share about the absolute delight that is called a child. A living, breathing child.

But since losing our child, I am different too. Everything feels deeper.

The hurt hurts harder. The happy feels happier. The days where all emotion seems lost feel foggier. This is why I said to my friend, “The tears feel good. And the laughter feels good too.” Tears are how I process my grief. And the laughter is how I remember that even though I am not okay, it’s okay.

I have learned more in the past five months than I have learned all of the previous years of my life combined.

Things like, "No matter what I think, I am not in control." And all lessons related.

My friend’s mom sent me this poem. She said she put it to memory after delivering her first child stillborn at eight months pregnant:

I walked a mile with Pleasure; she chatted all the way.

And left me none the wiser with all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow, and ne’er a word said she,

But oh, the things I learned from her, when Sorrow walked with me.

I wish it didn’t have to be that way. But it is. 

I can’t control my grief. I can’t “get over it.”

While watching a movie with Husband the other night, the couple gave birth to a healthy, crying, beautiful baby. I burst into tears. This was coming off a week where I felt great. Those tears were so unexpected. Uncontrollable.

My friend sent me an article on grief. The counselor who wrote it recounted his meetings with a mother who had lost her child. The mom did not understand why after six months she couldn’t “get over” her loss. The counselor explained, “The depth of her sadness was simply a measure of the love she had for her daughter.”

I don’t think I will ever “get over it.” I have been told that it will get easier, that my grief will be different someday. I believe that. And until then, I will let God use this grief to work through me.

I am afraid.

A couple days after our daughter died, Husband drove and dropped off Toddler two hours away at his parent’s house. I had to fight back tears when they left, because of course they were going to get in a horrific car accident or something.

Since losing one thing I love, my thought is often, “What will it be next, Lord?!” My other tendency is to bargain. “Okay, Lord. You are bringing me through this heartache. But please don’t let anything else bad happen to me.”

I am afraid of losing something else in my life. I am afraid of how I am going to feel on our due date {July 15, 2015.} I am afraid of not being able to get pregnant again. I am afraid of getting pregnant and something happening to that baby too.

I heard before that at times, grief expresses itself through fear. I can vouch for that.

I know that in some ways these fears are a natural, emotional reaction to what we have lost. But I also know that I should not let fear, or any other emotion, control my actions. God is bringing us through this. Day by day. And I can trust that He will carry us through whatever other trials might come our way.

I say that through gritted teeth. But I believe in my heart that it’s true.

I feel more aware of the fact that many people are suffering. Often silently.

We are not the only ones. 

The responses to my writing, the comments, the emails, and the messages I have been blessed to receive are a solid reminder of that. 

We are not the only ones who have lost a child, or who have been through something painful in their life. I am grateful for this new awareness. It breeds compassion in my heart.

And it is inspiring to me too. So many have reached out to talk to and take care of us. I pray we will do the same as we walk alongside others who are suffering.

I yearn for Heaven.

I knew before that Heaven is going to be awesome. I knew before that this world is not all it’s cracked up to be. But never have I felt that in the depths of my soul. Never have I felt with such urgency, the desire for Jesus to come back again. Today. Tomorrow. Yesterday.

Since our daughter went to heaven, she took a piece of my heart with her. I cannot wait to get it back. I yearn for the day.

My life is moving on in different ways too.

I think about the child we lost a lot. Every day, actually. But I think about other things too.

I want people to feel free to ask me about Aliza, and about our experiences over the past five months. I want people to feel free to say her name out loud in front of me. But I also want people to feel free to talk about what is going on in their lives too.

My life is moving on in different ways. It’s just that my life moves on with a big hole in my heart.

So don't be surprised.

Don't be surprised if you hear me talk about our daughter. But don't be surprised if you hear me talk about other things too. Days and weeks, months and years down the road, don't be surprised if you see me laugh. But don't be surprised if you see me cry too.


Since losing our child, I am the same. But I am different. And that’s okay.

Grace and Peace,

PS. I would love to hear from you. Whether you have been through a situation related to ours, or something else difficult, how did it change you? And how are you still the same? 

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