Tuesday, April 12, 2016


I wrote this on February 21st, 2016...

My niece is due on May 12th.

You may remember that I volunteer weekly at a pregnancy resource center. They offer classes for pregnant women/couples there, with information regarding pregnancy, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, fetal development, etc. The classes go up until the time a child is 2! It's really an incredible resource. Not only are these mothers and fathers able to learn valuable information about caring for themselves and their children, but they also earn "mommy and daddy money." Since my brother is unable to go during the hours they are open because of work, I've been going as Kala's support person, to earn more "money" and just to be there for her. The money is able to be "spent" in the baby boutique, where there is everything from diapers, to swings, clothes, etc. All things baby. I jokingly said they need "auntie money" too. ;)

Anyways, today the lessons were on breastfeeding. That's a bit of a touchy subject for me. I planned on breastfeeding Lily. I was excited about bonding with my baby in that way and knowing I was giving her the best I could for her health. When Lily died, there was no way I could explain to my new-mother body that there wasn't a living baby to feed. That means my milk came in on one of the days between her birth and burial. It was painful physically and emotionally (obviously), to be recovering from birth, milk coming in for a baby who would never need it, all while preparing for the service and burial of my baby girl.

So watching these videos about breastfeeding and how beneficial it is, techniques for it, and what not, oh how my heart ached! Breastmilk is life-giving. And the fact my baby never needed it is a reminder that she didn't have life. It feels like I was gipped. All the things that motherhood entails were taken from under me. Death robbed me of breastfeeding, it robbed me of hearing my baby cry at birth, it robbed me of everything Lily's life would have held up until this point. It almost feels like my motherhood was stolen from me by death much of the time, when I never got to mother Lily outside of the womb alive.

I should be able to give Kala tips about breastfeeding, out of my own experience. Instead, I'm just about as clueless as she is. I still have the unused nursing bra I got shortly before Lily was born.

Going to the classes with Kala brings my mind back to 6+ years ago when my mom and I went to similar classes at another pregnancy center across town, a center that is no longer under the same name or at the same location. I cannot tell you how painful it is that 6 years after the classes I went to when I was pregnant and learning about these very things, such as breastfeeding, that I still have not had that shared bonding experience with my baby. I still have not been able to mother a living child in any tangible ways.

Sitting in the classes, my mind drifted to happy daydreams of one day getting married and sharing in the joy of finding out with my husband that we are having a baby!... dreams of going to the ultrasounds together and watching our wee one flip on the screen, finding out the baby's gender, praying about and selecting a name, shopping for baby, planning, hoping, dreaming, rejoicing, praising God, having a smooth and safe delivery of a living baby, learning to breastfeed... all the things I feel I didn't get. I mean, I got some of those things with Lily, but I didn't have a husband by my side. And obviously I experienced none of the things after birth.

Honestly, thinking about these things gives me hope... because I wondered for a long time if I would ever be able to feel joyfully expectant over a new life, without overwhelming sadness, fear, and anxiety. And you know what I realized, what I feel God has been speaking to me over and over lately. He can and will restore all things to me, even the things that feel impossible. I have hope for my future, hope for having a beautiful marriage with a wonderful man who loves the Lord, hope that we will have such sweet pregnancies, not overshadowed by the loss of Lily, but instead enriched by her life... and even her death. I know that the man God has for me will love my girl too and will love who I am and how God has sanctified me through her life and death. I will love our future babies in a deeper way because of my first-born baby.

My God will restore unto me what was lost. I told my mom and Kala that I am not sure how that restoration will look in my life, whether it will include a husband and children or not. But I know He will restore. I pray in the deepest part of my being that part of that restoration comes from being given those gifts.

It was a gift to be able to talk with Kala and my mom about these things. Because sometimes I can feel alone in my memories and my dreams. Like when I went to a prenatal appointment and we heard my niece's heartbeat, I thought of all the times I heard Lily's heartbeat and then the time when I didn't.

I realize I don't have to feel alone in these things because I have people who care about me and Lily.


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