I keep wondering when I will start to feel like me again. Don’t get me wrong I have had many moments of joy again. I have felt happiness with my husband or when I am with my friends. We have laughed and danced and cried, both happy and sad tears. I have allowed myself to dream of the future – again. Although this time with much more hesitation. I even feel like I cherish these moments of joy even more than I did in my before life.
Along with those days, I have also felt crippled in fear. I have felt anxious to walk my dogs down our street, just incase I see someone who last saw me when I was pregnant and they ask the dreaded question, “How is the baby?”. I have thought and rethought about the what if’s. I have cried out to God. I have continued to write to my son every month on his birthday. I have wept, wondering what he would be doing if he were here now. I have grown even closer with my husband, and together we have grown closer to God. I have prayed that years from now, we will be able to look back and connect dots that will never make his death “justified”, but to see how something good came out of the most horrific situation. I feel like I have fully embraced my grief to the best of my ability, however when it comes to finding “me” again I still feel a sense of skepticism and uncertainty.
Professionally, I been a photographer for the past 10 years. In my before life, I poured my entire being into my craft. It was my passion and I truly couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. In the months leading up to his birth I carefully planned my maternity leave, and even thought about how I would work my schedule once Preston was here. Then my world crumbled beneath me, and I went from a perfectly planned future to straight survival mode. Instead of tending to my baby, I had to tend to my sore, engorged breasts as well as the physical pain I had just endured during labor. I could only focus on the day in front of me, because looking too far in the future was too painful, and I just couldn’t make sense of it.
It’s been almost 10 months now and I have yet to pick up my camera again. What if someone asks me why I have been gone so long? What if they ask me if I have any kids? How do you tell someone that your one and only son passed away and not completely tank the mood, then get back to “Ok, now smile!”. A part of me wants to shout his name and tell my story from the rooftops, while another part of me wants to shield others from the excruciating pain I have endured.
Over the months, I have slowly come to accept that this is my story now. If I meet someone new or have a new client, they will undoubtedly (and unapologetically) know about my son too. I was reading a blog the other day about how everyone has their “hard” or their “struggle”. And in all honesty, I thought infertility would be my struggle, and that was tough enough! Shouldn’t I get some “free pass” for already tackling one huge hurdle? Unfortunately, I have learned the answer to that is no. We don’t get to decide the cards we are played, but we do get to decide what we do with the cards we are dealt. In my before life, I think I would have been described as positive, optimistic, and generally a joyful “glass is half full” person. And while I haven’t felt many of those things the past almost 10 months, I do believe that I will get back to that “me” again. I will pick up my camera again, because at one point it did bring me immense joy. It may take me awhile, and I may stumble and have a few set backs, but I will find the new and restored “me”. And because the holy spirit dwells inside of me (and you!), I will be back stronger than ever. He promises NEW mercies every morning. We just have to be willing and open to see them.
Your story, and mine, is still being written, and I still believe the best is yet to come.