This week you turned 3. I have yet to write your birth story down. Part of that is life with two can get away with you, but the truth is your birth was painful. It was hard. Mommy still cries when she talks about it. And that’s ok. I hope I always do. Your great grandma is 96 and she still cries when she talks about the baby she lost at his birth. I know the depth of her love and loss for John because she cries when she talks about him. The more life I have with you the more I am so grateful. You are a miracle. You are a gift. You are funny. When we lay in bed at night and all you want to do is tickle me, you just giggle. A really big laugh that lasts for minutes. This is how you love – you make people laugh. And you feel so deeply. Buddy, you and mommy are the same in that. Not everyone will understand that part of you. Some people will want you to tame it and control it. I want you to embrace it. This is a gift from God. You are an artist. Artists feel very deeply. It is where their best work comes from.
I want to share part of your birth story here. I know someday I will write the fullness of it.
I remember when they said it was time for the c-section. I was grateful. Your heart rate was dropping while I was pushing and it wasn’t safe. Right after they took you out, you didn’t cry. I remember the nurse coming over and calmly telling us everything. It is still a bit of a blur in my mind but I remember the gist of it – you had lost oxygen while pushing, they had to work to get you to breathe and they were taking you right to the NICU. I remember a hint of fear but I remember a huge feeling of peace and gratefulness. Grateful they were taking care of you, grateful we had such wonderful doctors and nurses, grateful we had the c-section. I was nervous but there was peace. It was hard not being able to hold you right away, but the doctors knew what was best and I wanted you to be ok. When we came into your room at the NICU you were so peaceful. They said you did wonderful. You were a little fighter. You are still a little fighter. And I am so grateful.
Recovery was hard after your birth. I was in a lot of pain for months. It was hard to do simple tasks. It was hard to exercise. We had a lot happening that first year of your life and I worked hard. With recovery after Gideon’s c-section it was gradually uphill, I thought the same would be true for you. I learned months into my recovery I had scar tissue pain – which can be common for multiple c-sections. I had a wonderful massage therapist. She helped me and gradually, slowly the pain started to lift. It was still hard to exercise. But I slowly got back into it. I still haven’t lost your baby weight, in fact I have gained weight, but I am learning another part of the recovery that has been hard – I have had depression after your birth. And I wonder if a part of that has been the depth of pain from your birth that has been so hard to verbalize. Which is why I am writing it out here. It helps to verbalize it. Often I have felt so alone. I have communicated my physical pain and my inner pain but there have been few who have truly understood. I have often felt like I needed to move past my difficulty. People offer solutions, quick fixes, when the truth is I just have needed to grieve. To cry. To talk about the difficult parts of your birth in all its fullness. Not to dwell in the past but to talk about it because it was real. When we don’t talk about what is real and hard it creates false realities. When we don’t acknowledge the full truth of a situation our grief comes out in other ways. When there isn’t space for us to grieve, we suffer. We could have lost you buddy. The weight of that grief is heavy. No one really wants to talk about those kinds of things. They want to move on to happier topics – “but he is here, that is all that matters.” You are here and I am so grateful. You are my son. I am your mom. I almost lost you. My heart hurts with that reality. And it should. It has been hard for me to put words to the range of emotion I have felt around your birth. The weight of the recovery afterwards and how difficult it has been. There are other factors to the depression too, but I know your birth has weighed on me and I have needed to tell it.
As this year turns and you turn 3, I want to tell your story. Our story. You are a miracle. And though I know we almost lost you, I always knew you were being carried. God always had you, and He always gave me peace. And so my son – I have hope as your little heart already feels so deeply – that part of your story will be the ability to be with people in their deep places, in their hard places. It matters. It matters I almost lost you and that it hurts. It matters that you are a miracle. Hard truth matters. Your story, your full story matters. As you grow older and I tell you your story I won’t leave the hard parts out. It makes the good parts even better knowing the hard parts. And whenever I tell you about your birth and how we almost lost you, I will tell how much mommy hurt. How much you matter and how much my heart hurt so much knowing you may not have been with us. And when I look at you while I am telling you this story I will say to you – 'Jeremiah, don’t shy away from people’s hard stories. Sit with them, cry with them. Tell their stories.' And I have an inkling you will. I love you, Jeremiah.
It has taken me years to write Jeremiah’s story, as I mention here. His birth is near Mother’s Day. And as I tell this story I am so aware that this is a hard season for some moms. There are lots of painful stories being held in hearts. A baby lost through miscarriage. A baby lost during pregnancy or just after birth. Longing for a baby that is yet to be fulfilled.
As I have processed through Jeremiah’s difficult birth story I have realized what I needed most was the ability to talk about the pain. To be able to sit in it, to live in it, to speak about it. And for the pain to be heard without quick fixes or solutions. The ability to speak about the pain and it be ok to sit with that.
We can love moms well when we give her space to share her pain. When we give her space to grieve. When the child she lost, almost lost or hasn't come to be matters.
**Part of my grandma's story of her loss was written with her permission.