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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Talking about loss

Lately I have been learning of more and more mommy friends of mine who have lost their precious babies through miscarriage.  Maybe I am more sensitive to the topic now because I have had the joy of watching my daughter grow, and presently have a new little one growing inside me.  I hope that no one reads this and is put off by my words, or believes that I have no business writing on the topic, but I want to express some heartfelt thoughts. 

Loss is loss.  I can’t think of anything worse.  The thought of losing a child is unbearable and almost unthinkable.  When I try to imagine the grief, my mind literally will not go there.  It’s like there’s an innate barrier that forbids my imagination to come up with the connections to make such imagining possible.  To experience a positive pregnancy test, the excitement and anticipation of wondering what the child will look like, act like and one day become is an incomparable joy.  Anyone who has ever had the truth run through her mind, “I am pregnant.” will surely relate to the myriad of accompanied emotions.  Happiness? Yes!  A stew of hope, anxiety, love, pride, panic, excitement, awe etc. mix within the heart as the new information is processed. 

I have never personally experienced a miscarriage, but with my limited experiences of seeing people through such times, and my incredibly small capacity to concoct such a devastating scenario in my mind, the emotional assault is almost overwhelming.  The alarm, fear, anger, sorrow and the pure hatred of the matter replaces all of the once positive emotions.  The sense of powerlessness and sadness is so legitimately present, even in just my imagined scenario- I can’t begin to comprehend the intensity of real life loss. 

For any of you who have experienced such loss, I am so sorry.  I know, primarily based on your transparency that such loss is deep, real, and often overlooked.  It makes me sad to know that many of my friends have gone through this pain, right next to me, and I never knew until after the fact.  (I understand that it’s a very private matter, and everyone will process their grief in the way they feel is best.)  I hate that so many people are going through this and no one knows how to respond.  I just want each of you to know that your babies are not forgotten, are special and will always hold an irreplaceable place in this world.  Without even having breathed a breath of air, they have changed lives.

A friend of mine said that knowing that her sweet baby will never have to know the pain of this world, comforts her.  It is a beautiful notion to consider the truth in that statement.  Every parent wants to protect their child from hurt, and these angel babies are exempt from that.  While there is little rejoicing in loss, perhaps rejoice in that fact.

For those of you who, like me, have not been touched directly by such tragedy, I hope you take the opportunity to appreciate each moment with your child.  Every breath, every tear, every hope, frustration, giggle and fit are part of what makes your child yours.  Please don’t take for granted the opportunity you’ve been blessed with to know and love this little person.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Sleep Saga Continues

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since becoming a mommy, It’s that parenthood is full of challenges.  I’ve had my limits, patience and endurance challenged, sometimes on a daily basis.  I would say that our primary challenge with Molli has been regarding the issue of sleep.  She has never been a great sleeper, and despite the tried and true techniques presented to us, Molli broke the mold.  She had reflux when she was little so sleep was inevitably going to be a problem.  Once the reflux was under control, we attempted sleep training, which was an absolute disaster.  We let her “cry it out,” which, despite the success most everyone we knew had with the theory, it failed miserably in our house.  I remember her crying in her room for up to five hours, while my heart broke and I cried in another room.  Phew, it was ugly!  We tried everything we could think of- crying it out, attaching to a “lovie,” nursing to sleep, rocking (oooh, the rocking), walking, car rides, co-sleeping, even fake weighted arms to trick her into thinking she was still being held.  We had minor successes, but ultimately, sleep times generally sucked.  I dreaded naps almost as much as I dreaded bedtime.  Myles is dead to the world when he sleeps, so the responsibility fell heavily on my shoulders.  That being said, I rejoiced in a major way when, around her first birthday, she gave it up and became an excellent sleeper.  Sure, we’ve had our sleep fights since then, but for the most part, things have been good. 

Fast forward to now.   She’s currently sleeping in a pack-n-play at my parents’ house until we can get her real crib out of storage.  Some nights are decent, but oh my, when it’s bad, it’s really bad these days. She gets out of that thing like it’s nothing, and constantly comes looking for me. What gives???  She’ll acknowledge that she’s tired, but refuses to stay put.  I dread the moment when I lay down for bed and hear her scratchy voice yelling “All done! Yeah, Mommy! All done! Night-night?  NO! Mommy! Etc.” It never fails.  Myles can roll over, put his pillow on his head and sleep, no problem.  I can’t.  I have the lovely opportunity for much midnight bonding.  Many times this “bonding” requires me repeatedly replacing her back in her crib, listening to her scream at/for me, giving her water, turning on her music/projector over and over and typically, eventually sleeping in her room. Definitely far from ideal.

This challenge in particular has taught me, primarily, my capacity to love.  No matter now crazy she makes me, I remain head over heels with this girl.  I’m incredibly thankful that this love comes so naturally. These experiences will undoubtedly increase my number of gray hairs but have really deepened my appreciation for a good night of sleep!  She’s currently reciting the dreaded “All done! Yeah, Mommy? All done…” monologue.  Here’s hoping she turns it off and sleeps well tonight. 

A well rested Molli = A well rested Mommy
A well rested Mommy = Ability to exist the next day

In the words of a wise friend (shout out to Nancy Ranke!) “I don’t exist when I’m tired.”