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Modern Perspectives, Motherhood, Young Married Mom

January 31, 2012

This Is What Keeps Me Going

Life after any kind of loss means finding a new kind of normal. The changes in our situation aren’t so dramatic, especially from outside. It might seem like we are doing okay, that not much has changed.

 

I didn’t have much of a baby bump, so I don’t have to swap drawers of maternity clothes for “regular people” clothes, as I so gracefully refer to them. I’d reorganized baby clothes a few weeks back, but things were still packed away, so there’s not much to get out of sight. I can eat cheese again, which is great, but kind of a bummer. I keep thinking that all I really knew about this little boy was that he hated cheese. In any other relationship, I’d think that was a deal breaker; as Ethan’s mother, I really think it’s something I could have gotten past.

 

The truth is, a lot has changed, but some of it is in ways we don’t even realize yet. I don’t realize until I’m faced with the idea of a couple of days of the old “normal” that I’m not ready for it yet. But still, there are some things—some people—that keep me going.

 

First of all, Jacob still needs me to be his mom. I can’t let that stop, although I can let other people help. He’s enjoyed all the family and friends he’s had to play with recently. He’s often on better behavior when other people are around, which means he eats and sleeps well, and rarely throws fits. A quiet, happy baby makes for a quiet, happy mommy.

Second, Ethan. I googled all things “miscarriage” for a few days after, trying to learn from other people’s experiences—what to expect, what to do, what I might need even if I didn’t know it. I read in someone else’s story online that for her, knowing her baby was in heaven made her all the more driven to get there herself. That rang true for me. This is not a time to give up; this is a time to grow in love for God, for John, and for our family. I can be selfish in wanting some time to myself to read or lie down or cry, but I can’t stop loving the people who are taking care of me, who love me and our little boy.

 

John and I have a strong relationship, but it’s tough to deal with your own emotions and try to figure out someone else’s at the same time. Initially, at times when I thought he didn’t understand, part of me thought it would just be easier for me to take care of myself. But I thought of baby Ethan watching us. He wouldn’t want to see that his short life made his mom and dad struggle to love each other. This is a child who has only ever known love, whose whole life was lived being held by his mother. A whole life lived in a hug, I like to think. He’d want to see that his life made his parents love each other more. It’s crazy and it’s scary to say it, but I can see how losing a child can tear a family apart. Love is a choice, and we are choosing to love. Every day it gets easier. Every child, every member of our family will only make us stronger. A child created and formed in love should only bring more love.

 

And finally, Number Three. As much as I want to lie on the couch all day and eat chocolate, I can’t let myself get out of shape. I have a toddler to take care of, and hope for more children in the future. I need to keep exercising, keep getting to bed on time, even if it takes an hour to fall asleep, keep eating (mostly) healthy food. There’s also the fact that a bulging belly will fool me into thinking I have a baby bump. It’s hard enough to keep my hand off my stomach now. It’s a natural position for me while I’m pregnant, and it’s a tough habit to shake when the rest of me got un-pregnant so quickly.

 

I have hope that my body is not done with babies yet. I will take a vitamin every day. I will run around with Jacob. I will do all I can stand to do, without putting some crazy pressure on myself, to stay healthy for my family and for myself. I don’t watch The Biggest Loser for nothing. Taking care of yourself is never just about yourself. People are many parts: mind, body, soul, and this is the time to attend very particularly to all three.

 

This—my children—is what keeps me going.

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