Friday, 17 October 2008

Joy and Sorrow

After I gave birth, my body readied itself to care for my baby. But I had no baby to feed or hold, and the physical pain accentuated the loss and added to my heavy burden of grief. My arms felt so light as they cried out to bear the weight of my little one. My breasts filled with milk and ached for having no child to feed. My body demanded an explanation for this subversion of the natural order. It went through the rigors of giving birth, and it wanted its reward. I had nothing to satisfy it with. The best thing I had to hold was the little bear we received from the funeral home. It was just the right size. I slept with it tucked under my arm for days, as I begged God for my milk production to subside, and for my body to stop harassing me to produce a child for it to tend to.

Grief always has a physical component. It slows you down, makes you tired, and takes away your ability to focus. I am thankful for the way God designed us to bear grief. I needed the effects of shock in order to recover physically. The exhaustion and numbness allowed me to sleep, which gave my body a chance to heal. But now that my body is strong, the pain of loss has increased. The dam that my body erected to defend itself from a flood of sorrow has sprung leaks.

Now Jeff and I have to deal with reality, and that reality doesn't include our daughter, and may never include biological children. We have to face that we may go through this again. These issues compound our journey of grief, as really we grieve more than one thing. We mourn the loss of Leah, the knowledge that our bodies create life that can not live, that our oneness does not produce life the way God intended it to, that future pregnancies will never bring the same unadulterated joy that this first one did. Now they will come with a large dose of apprehension.

We believe that God has directed our steps to a different path for creating our family. Making progress down the road to adoption has given us hope for our future, but at the same time it reinforces our losses as it tangibly confirms that our plans have changed.

Last night I slept with my Leah bear again. I hadn't slept with it since right after my milk production subsided, but as I lay in my bed I was overcome with an urge to hold Leah, and that bear is all I have.

Last night we had our first meeting with our international agency, and it looks like we will be officially accepted into the program (we get the final approval next week). I don’t think it is a coincidence that this great joy also triggered feelings of deep sorrow.

3 comments:

Haley Ballast said...

I feel like in my comments I always say the same things, but I will keep saying them because they continue to be true: You are in our prayers. We hurt with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting to this blog and allowing us to be in this with you.

mary said...

Amy,
I am so sorry and I remember how anxious I was when I remembered that your milk was going to come in. Something that I had not anticipated but am so glad that I could call on a group of my friends to pray for you during that time.
Your tears will be healing even as we look forward to the news about our next grandbaby.

Tom said...

Amy and Jeff

I am so sorry for your loss and love you very much.

Dad