Currently, I am working on documenting our time in the NICU in a way that reflects the journey and emotions without using tons of words. In a way that shares my feelings and emotions while also sharing Aaron’s. While I work on documenting our NICU journey to share, I am going to jump ahead to the now, to where we are currently, how Arrow is doing and the emotions that have come along. I apologize in advance for jumping ahead to current without sharing the inbetween, without going in chronological order, but there is much to share currently, that if I don’t share this way, I may never get to sharing. I ask you bear with me and understand the jump in time, the lack of chronological order that is occurring and continue to share this journey. With that said, it’s time to share what’s been heavy on my heart.
Arrow. How I love this precious angel. She is four and a half months now and in that time she has begun to grow my heart in ways I didn’t realize I needed to have it grown. The emotional rollercoaster I experienced during pregnancy hasn’t ended, but rather is different, and filled with more moments of joy than of worry or sadness. I will be honest though, there are still many moments of tears and of grief. I love Arrow. I love everything about her, from the way she smells to her smile, her laughter, her snuggles and her bright eyes. I hold her and my heart swells in a love I didn’t know I could have. I love each of my kids; I love them with more love than I ever knew i could carry, but the love for Arrow is different given the fight to get her here. The love for Arrow is different because it is mixed with grief and sadness.
One night, not too long ago, I was holding Arrow as she slept in my arms. I looked down at her sweet chubby face as I carried her to her cradle and my heart swelled with love for her. As I looked at her feeling such love, tears suddenly streamed down my face. As I stood in front of her cradle to lay her down, my heart ached. I kissed her head telling her I was sorry she will never get to experience this kind of love, that she will never get to know what it feels like to hold her baby in her arms, to know how much love can flow from her heart to that of her child. As i held her I continued to sob. As I sobbed I cried out to God asking “WHY?!” As I continued to cry out asking why, I laid Arrow in her cradle, covered in with her blankets, kissed her forehead and told her I loved her. I then sat next to her cradle, feeling the grief and the sense of loss, allowing the tears to continue to flow, and prayed. It wasn’t until this moment that I realized how much my heart would hurt to think I will never hold a grandbaby from Arrow, that my daughter will never get to experience being a mom, to experience how much she is capable of loving.
Even now, I feel angry and grief that she will never get to know these feelings. I feel angry and sad that Arrow may instead know a feeling of an unfulfilled desire; that her heart may hurt over a desire to be a mom. Given this, I pray that she grows up to not have the desire to have kids, but instead to travel the world, to be a world changer and to be the best auntie. Should she grow up to have a desire to be a mom, to hold her own baby in her arms, to experience the joy of motherhood and the love of being a mom, I don’t know how I’ll help her process the fact this isn’t an option for her. I do know that I will help her proces it though, I do know I will walk every part of this journey with her; I will cry when she cries, I will laugh when she laughs, I will love when she loves, I will be angry when she is angry. She will not walk her journey alone. She will walk her journey with me every step of the way. Granted, that may not always be with me right by her side, as I will raise her to have wings, to spread her wings and soar, but I will always be right behind her. I will alway be her home, her safe place to land - just like I am for my other kids.
I don’t know how long my heart will hurt for her right now.I don’t know how long I will feel grief about the loss of the opportunity for her to have children, for her and for myself. Even though I have had three children, I never knew that I would feel such love for a child; love filled with joy and yet sadness at the same time. I look at Arrow, I see her smile, her blue eyes, I hear her laughter and my heart beams and my heart aches. My heart beams for all the miracles in her life; for how much I love her; for how she just lights up a room and completes our family. My heart aches for so much that I have trouble putting into words. It aches over the fact she can’t have kids when she grows; for the fact she has to work twice as hard as other kids to hold her head up, to roll over, to sit up… to do anything. My heart aches that people will judge her before they know her; that there are people who feel her life doesn’t have value and worth.
Over the four and a half months since Arrow has joined us not only have I been grieving the realization of Arrow not being able to have kids, but I have found myself struggling when I see others with healthy typical babies. Babies that are meeting their milestones on time. Babies who will get the option to have babies when they are grown. Babies that don’t have to be screened yearly for high risk health conditions. Healthy, neurotypical babies. Don’t get me wrong, I love Arrow. I wouldn’t trade her for the world, but I would be lying if i didn’t say that I don’t struggle; that I get angry with others with typical babies take them for granted; when they compare their babies’ development to that of Arrow’s. Sometimes I just get angry that they got the baby they planned on when they found out they were pregnant and yet I didn’t. I instead took a detour. It may be a beautiful detour, filled with people I would never have meant otherwise, filled with joy, and love and growth that I never would have experienced on the other path. Regardless, there is still a season of mourning, of grief, of sorrow. It’s season that no one talks about because what would others think? I sound like a horrible mom. I sound like I don’t love her, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I have found a love I didn’t know existed. I have found pieces of me I didn’t know I had. As I process the various forms of grief, I keep finding peace in knowing that God blessed me with her for a reason; that God doesn’t make mistakes even when I don’t understand the path. I find peace in knowing that He is using Arrow for His plan and He is using me with her for His plan. He has gifted me with the desire to write, and He is telling me to be bold, to step out and share; to share my heart, the good, the bad, the real, authentic journey. He is calling me to be my daughter’s advocate, to stand strong with a silent strength, to share her journey, our journey and in the midst to point to His glories in our lives.
I am to feel the grief, the sorrow and the sadness. I am to feel the emotions, to process them not remain in them, and I am to use to speak out and to reach out. I am not alone in this. I am not the only mom to process these emotions. If you’re reading this and you are on a similar journey, feeling similar emotions - know you’re not alone; know those feelings are natural and they mean you’re human, you’re normal. I’m learning the emotions will heal, and they will change. The sense of loss I feel with slowly leave me and it will be replaced with thankfulness; after all, God entrusted me with Arrow. He entrusted me with a child who needs more… and He believed in me to be her mom, to meet her needs… and if you are on this journey with us, He entrusted you to be part of her journey, of her life and He believed in you as well. Together, we can walk the journey before us of Jesus Praising and Arrow raising.
I'm a single mom of four radiant kids who believes in relationship with Jesus over religion. I'm trying not to battle with fear anymore - instead I am choosing to follow what God has called me to do. With that you'll find me here, trying to be brave, with the goal of being authentic and honest about God, single parenting and the beauty in the mess of my joyful chaos. It's sure to be a journey... and I am blessed to share it with you!