I realize some of you will read this and think that I am nuts for writing these feelings. However, I feel that it is very important for me to write these down and move on from them. We all are battling some kind of challenge. Some may be small and some may be large, but they are all battles of some sort. Comparing our battles to one another does not make sense because we all have a different journey and are battling our own mountains.
My mountain that I am battling is the grief that I still struggle with from "losing the child I never had." I know, just in writing that it sounds so silly to be grieving something that I never had. They were thoughts of a perfect child birth, or taking my child out on the town and showing her off, or taking her to play groups and the list goes on and on. It is the grief that I can't experience the same things with Lydia as I enjoyed with my other children. It is the grief of walking a new, unfamiliar path with Lydia. It is the grief in a lost moment that captures my breath and strangles me. It hits me out of nowhere and then leaves me feeling silly for ever feeling that way.
I love Lydia with all that I am. I love Lydia and I would not change her for anything. I love the journey that Lydia has taken us on. I love the things that Lydia has taught me. I love the person that I have become because of her. So don't get me wrong, I don't grieve Lydia, I grieve that silly image in my mind of what I thought, I grieve the moments that I don't have. Yet, what I forget, is the things that I do have and that those moments have been replaced with something new (and often times better).
These moments for me started the other day when I went to go visit a friend in the hospital who just had a baby. I walked on to the fourth floor infants unit and I was suffocated with these feelings. As I rounded the corner I noticed that she was in the same room that I was for Ellen and Allison's births. I walked into that room and I remembered feeling so alone after I had Lydia. I had no baby, there was no nurse in the room, there was no husband, it was me. Lonely and sad. Arms that longed to hold a baby. Worry that embodied me wondering how my little girl was doing.
There she held a perfect little girl. A healthy girl with no tubes or wires. The perfect baby. I was so happy for my friend, but I couldn't help but just be overtaken by sadness. It is something that I can't quite explain. I held her precious girl in my arms and I just felt over joyed but so sadden too. Ellen's first comment was "Hey mom, there are no tubes or wires on this baby." I wanted to scream in frustration but scream in complete happiness.
I was completely unprepared for these feelings. I don't want to be selfish and take away anything from my friend and her happiness. But I can't ignore these feelings that completely overtake me. I can't escape these feelings at times. I don't want to feel that way. But I know that part of me will always grieve Lydia's birth. It was just so hard to have her go, it was so hard to watch her endure so much, but we all have been change because of it and we are better because of it. It was HER birth story and it happened just as it was suppose to happen.
The other day we took a bike ride. As I was strapping Lydia into her bike buddy a neighbor biked by. She was pregnant at the same time as me. Her son was born just weeks before Lydia was. He was riding a bike. I couldn't even imagine Lydia at that point yet. I was pierced with this sudden grief. I was overtaken with this unwanted feeling.
I remember how I felt when my sister said that her son, seven months younger than Lydia was potty trained already. I was so happy for her, I really was. But the grief that over took me was almost too much to bear. I don't expect anyone to understand it, how could they? I don't know what to do with this unwanted grief that seems to just consume me at all the wrong moments.
I remember eating dinner with good friends and two of them watch me strap Lydia into her high chair. Lydia was 27 months and I was still feeding her baby food. They made the comment about how they were so glad that they were out of that baby stage. I know that it was not a hurtful comment in any way shape or form. However, the feelings that I felt were numbing to my entire body. I didn't want this baby stage to stay forever either. And at times, I feel like it will never go away. This was not what I intended and that grief consumed me once again.
And today, when I had to take the crib out once again for my almost three year old, it was about more than I could handle. Lydia has to sleep in a special bed and she has always been a good sleeper. However, the past several months she has not slept and nor have mommy and daddy. So in sheer exhaustion we decided rigging the crib to keep her "caged" would be our best option. It tore me in pieces. My husband held me and told me that it is not a step backwards but what we needed to do. I agree with him, but I couldn't help the tears and just this overwhelming feeling of grief.
I knew that the path would be different, I know that nothing is as I think it should be anyways. However, in these moments that I am completely overtaken by these feelings, I am not sure what to do. I feel so silly for feeling them in the seconds afterwards, but they are real feelings. I am trying to write them down in hopes that I can just put them past me and keep moving forward.
We just had Lydia's IEP this past Monday. Everything went as we had expected and it was just fine. In our family we treat Lydia no different than the other girls. We expect the same things from her, within reason (besides how we have to treat her due to her medical needs). So we never focus on the gaps that she may have or how behind she is. She is Lydia and we celebrate her. However, at the IEP we heard things like she was significantly delayed and she was only at a 19 month capacity. I realize that she has to be compared to "something" in order for them to get a baseline for where she is. I get it. But I am torn somewhere in this crazy place of these consuming moments of grief, comparing my child to something that she is not, and accepting her for her.
I am sure that this makes sense to nobody but I needed to get this off of my mind. I needed to get real. These moments of grief are real but I am glad that God does not allow me to stay in them. These moments of confusion about this journey and where Lydia is at are real, but again God does not allow me to stay in them. We keep pushing on, loving her with all that we are, learning what God wants us to learn on this incredible journey, giving thanks for where we are at today, and taking things as they come.
Not everything on this journey is as beautiful as unicorns farting rainbows, but we survive. This is my journey that I have been called to battle and to live. So I will embrace all of the moments, make the best of what God has given me, and be completely thankful for everything that I have been given. I may not have had that perfect child birth, the journey showing off my child when she was just a couple weeks old, a child that can ride a bike at three years old, a child who is potty trained close to the time that society says is acceptable, a child who can't talk, or a child who cannot sleep in a big girl's bed yet. But what I was given was a journey that would change me from the inside out, a journey that would give me a whole new perspective on things, a journey that allowed me to get to know my child very intimately, a journey that has allowed me to slow down and really embrace every moment, a journey that has made me celebrate every small thing as though it was the largest accomplishment in the world, a journey that catches me by surprise from time to time, and a journey that has taught me how to love through any kind of circumstance. And that my friends, is getting real. I would take the second journey any day over the first!