I'm told that time decreases grief. And I think in a way it's true. When Sarah died, it seemed she took up my every waking moment. The grief for her was so strong. As time has gone by, the time needed to devote to the grief has decreased. But the grieving itself continues.
Today I've been thinking a lot about her. I suppose it's because I'm 22 weeks and 4 days today. And Sarah was lost at 22 weeks 3 days. Baby is bigger than his sister now. And he's kicking and twirling and dancing like there's a party. Maybe there is!
With all that's going on, it seems that I should be too busy to have the grief get to me, but at work tonight I broke down and had a good cry. I miss her. And my love for the new baby doesn't change that.
And I realized that I'm still defensive. I wish I could make people understand, but I can't. I read a journal of a woman who's suffered through two losses (though I really shouldn't). She knows about me and Sarah, and has referred to me several times in her journal. Every time, it is painful. Mostly because I don't like being judged. Who does? But I've had to accept that she is not my judge. She is a woman of great faith, yes. But she is neither my judge nor my advocate. Jesus is both of those things. And Jesus has all of the facts. Including an intimate knowledge of my heart.
I believe I had a responsibility to protect myself from harm, which was likely. I believe I had a responsibility to my other young children, not to die if possible. I believe that nothing I could do would have changed Sarah's birth experience (she just wasn't built to live outside of me). I believe that the doctors who gave me information and talked to me every time I had a question (and I had lots) were working in my best interests. Maybe other women haven't always had that experience, but it was mine. And I believe that Sarah didn't suffer. Our labor was induced. Nothing was introduced into the amniotic sac, nothing was done to Sarah. She was delivered. That's all. From what we know of her brain, it was most likely painless. But if there were to have been pain, it would have been much much worse had she been full term. Not only would the nerves have been better developed, but the pressure on her head during birth would have been enormous.
I still think about it, and I still talk about it. And not because of my insecurity over our decision, but because I wish the people who judged me harshly could understand. It's difficult to think that anyone believes I could have intentionally hurt my precious girl! She was my daughter!
I think Sarah has it made, really. She's dancing before our Heavenly Father. Dancing, and singing praises to the King. I'm stuck here still trudging through the crud of emotions and my own human nature.
I have joy as well, I know. Bridget gives the best hugs. Piper actually talks on the phone! And Reagan is about the best you can get in 8 year old boys. And he loves his family. Then of course, there's this little one doing the tango in my belly.
But there is also an empty space in a family picture. It's missing the third little girl who was going to sing with her sisters and wear far too many hand-me-downs. Can joy and grief co-exist? I guess so. Can regret and certainty go together also? It seems so.
Am I far too overwhelmed by estrogen and my own feelings of loss? Most definitely.