Monday, March 31, 2014
Then I read an article someone had shared on Facebook recently: 20 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Postpartum. The author admits in this article (#9) that loving her babies after they were born did not happen immediately, it took time. She articulated better than I ever could how it took time for her to grow to love this tiny little human that you are solely responsible for. I was so relieved to read these words! That's me, too!
When all three of my boys came into the world, I was overjoyed to finally get to meet them. I was overjoyed (especially with the twins) that they made it safely! I got a bit emotional over the experience as well. But "love at first sight" it was not. And that's okay. The profound love I have for my children grows over time as I get to know them and experience their presence in my life. It was nice to read that I was not alone in that.
It also got me thinking about loving the children we have lost as well. As someone that has to get to know my children over time, how do I feel love for a child I've never seen? Or only seen for a short time before he was taken away from me?
Six years ago today we said good bye to our first child. Casey Marie was only 8 weeks in the womb when she was miscarried. We never saw her on ultrasound, never held her, barely knew of her existence before she was gone. There was no opportunity to experience her over time. There was no time. So how does one go about loving a child you barely knew?
I've been asking myself this all weekend. How to explain it? Because the fact is, I do love her. But I didn't get to experience being with her in the same way as I have my other children. I never got the opportunity to be with her, to watch her grow, to get to know her as a person.
I came to the realization that although I have not experienced her physically in the here and now, I have still experienced her presence, just in a very different way. The first moments after the miscarriage were covered in grief. That grief persisted for some time. Quite a long time.
But slowly, as time has gone on, I have come to accept her place in heaven away from me (for now). Accepting the loss of Casey doesn't make me forget. Instead I can pray for her soul. I can also ask her for prayers and for her intercession when we need it. Over time I have come to know my child through prayer in a way that is different from how I have gotten to know my living children. And through that I have come to love her.
She is my first child and as her mother, she has a special place in my heart. A place that is full of love for her. And I look forward to the day when we can be reunited and I can tell her face-to-face, "I love you."
Happy Birthday, Casey!