The other day, I read a post by a recently-delivered mama of twins. [Please read it, it's wonderful!] While her boys are mostly healthy, they were born a bit premature, and so they had to spend some time in the NICU, which is always hard for parents. And not less so "just" because their babies aren't severely sick.
Her experience with her twin boys really resonated with me. In my struggle with infertility, and now with a lengthy and drawn-out and unpredictable adoption experience, I feel a growing sense of loss.
The Loss of ultrasound appointments and announcing "We're pregnant!" Informing the grandparents that they are, for the first time or once again, grand. Missing those baby-kicks inside me, or the first tell-tale signs of labor: this is it--we will see our baby soon. The Loss of experiencing those first precious days of our baby's life with her. Seeing her first smile. Sleepless nights, and early morning snuggles with a swaddled, cuddly newborn babe. Even sore nipples from that unique breastfeeding relationship. All these things I am missing.
Please don't misunderstand me. I am not despairing that I will never be pregnant. Or that I will never recover from waiting for our Baby Girl to come home to us. I do not think that this (admittedly short) time in our lives will be without fruit later on. I do not believe that there is no Hope beyond our struggle.
But, as Arwen said, "If I didn't process my pain ... it would turn into trauma. Everyone else's relative amounts of pain had no effect on my situation: I felt the way I felt about it, and I had to give myself permission to work through those feelings ... I deserved to grieve what I lost, and letting myself do it was the healthy way to handle it."
There is a balance in struggles like this, of course. A balance between being thankful for the (many) blessings I have, but also acknowledging that there has been a loss. And while it's certainly ill-advised to compare my own situation with those who have something I long for (allowing jealousy to creep in the back door), it's also just as detrimental to compare myself to those who more difficult crosses to bear, to deny my own grief. Grief at the loss of what one had hoped for, what one longed (or still longs) for.
The point of grieving, of course, is to progress forward. But if the grief isn't allowed expression, if I can't allow those feelings of loss to surface, then there is no movement forward, no matter how much one focuses on the blessing. The loss has to be acknowledged to move from grief to acceptance and growth. "The only way past my sadness is through it," Arwen reminds me in my head. "The only way through it: to put my head down and cry."
I don't want to dwell in my grief. I don't want to remain here. I know that I need help to maintain the balance between grieving and growth, hope and helplessness. I know that, when we are able to bring our Little Girl home, these months of waiting will seem less dramatic than they feel now. But then, of course, we will be gazing at her between us in bed, watching her smile and laugh, and kissing her sweet cheeks.
For now, though, I will wait out my mourning.