Share about your first steps back into life. What helped you survive in the world outside as you took those first tender steps? Are there still tender areas for you today, living in a world that doesn’t embrace or understand the loss of a baby/child? How do you cope with those struggles? What advice would you offer those new to this walk to encourage and bring hope? How has this changed for you from the beginning? If you are in early grief, what do you fear/struggle with as you try to navigate a new normal….life without your baby?
I remember the steps I had to take walking out of the hospital with empty arms. Literal steps. With my older 4 kids, they had always taken me out of the hospital in a wheelchair but after I had Noah, they didn't do that. I had to take those painful steps on my own, carrying nothing but the plaster molds of his hands and feet, while the tears streamed down my face, leaving behind the only place my son lived.
Steps into life around me proved to be just as painful in the following weeks and months. I didn't leave the house for 3 weeks after Noah's funeral. During those couple of weeks, people brought meals, helped with mowing & took the kids out occasionally to do activities. But after those few weeks, it seemed like everyone forgot. Most people avoided me and other than 3 friends who had also lost baby's, no one else came along side of me to "help" me or even just to sit with me at times or help mother my broken heart. I have never felt so alone in my life. There was definitely a lack of support, sadly from those who I thought would've been there for us the most.
I really do think the lack of support made getting back into life much more difficult for me. I was forced to get back into some semblance of routine after a few weeks. Before having Noah, I had been babysitting a little boy and his mom had a baby 2 weeks before I had Noah. So just 3 weeks after Noah died, I was back into full-time babysitting. I suppose on one hand it was good to force myself back into doing something but on the other hand I do think I should've taken more time off. At this same time, we had to start up with homeschooling again (as we start in August). But other than these 2 things, I still didn't leave the house more than I had to. I couldn't handle being in crowds of people or around people who were always so happy when I was so broken.
Exactly 2 months after Noah died, our homeschool co-op started. This was about the only group of people I felt "safe" around, though I still struggled for several weeks getting used to it all again. I was thankful for these gals as they often asked how I was doing, and truly wanted to know. They cried with me and most of all, the acknowledged & remembered Noah. It felt good to be around people who truly cared!!
It took me 4 months to be able to start going back to church, again mainly due to crowds of people and there's just something about being there that easily brought me to tears. Memories of Noah's funeral, knowing he was buried just outside, the words in the songs, etc.
Since physical support in real life was lacking, I found some of the best support was online. Being able to talk to others moms who understood helped me tremendously. Mainly to know that was I was thinking & feeling was "normal" in the world of babyloss. I needed that especially because by this point, there were people in my life that tried to imply that what I was experiencing wasn't normal. Blogging about what I was going through was another way I found to help me as well.
While this time of my life felt so lonesome, I knew God was holding me up. He was also using this time to refine me. People I thought were friends up and left me, other people stepped in and became close as we were now connected in ways that most aren't. He also reminded me to not live for others but keep my focus on Him no matter what others opinions were.
Another difficult thing I found when trying to get back into life, was when people asked about my kids. If all of them weren't with me when I was asked how many I had, it wasn't too bad to say how many I had as there weren't heads to count. But those times when my 4 living kids were with me, and someone asked about my kids and I said I had 5, there came the inevitable question. Many times in those early days I'd tear up, which I was ok with but I know most weren't. I always wear one of my "Noah" necklaces everyday and often get stopped by someone asking it about. I can finally say I don't tear up as often now when asked but answer instead with a smile on my face, sharing how old Noah would be if he were here in my arms.
I can see I was able to get a bit more adapted into life around me but it's been a long road. Though there are times I'd also say I've just gotten better at hiding my grief from most around me as well. I still do have times even now I just can't be around groups of people or just have to say no to things, it's just one of many ways I'm not the "old" me, nor will I ever be. I still feel isolated at times and it still stings when others don't remember Noah. I don't know if that tenderness will ever go away. I have just learned to surround myself with those who do care & remember.
If you are new to this journey, remember, there is no timetable. There is no right or wrong despite what those around you may try to imply. Don't force yourself or let others force yourself back into life around you. Focus on you & your immediate family (ie, spouse/kids). Find at least one person you can completely release everything to, whether it's a real life friend or an online friend. Do only what you need to do for now and just rely on Jesus to get through each minute or hour of your day.
My previous weeks posts:
My previous weeks posts: