Looking ahead and behind.

An alert on my phone popped up yesterday letting me know that an event had been deleted from my shared calendar with Josh. The event was made back in October, and it read, “Deliver Baby!” on June 10th, 2020. It’s funny how some words on a screen can knock the wind out of you like a punch to the gut would.

I knew at some point one of us needed to go in and delete it, but that notification flashing on my phone it still left me feeling that familiar feeling of pain and loss the last few months have been stained with. It’s been almost 3 months since we miscarried, but somehow these little reminders can still make it feel like yesterday.

On Halloween, we found out we lost our 8 week old pregnancy. A pregnancy we had planned and thought about and prayed for and desired. It was finally the right time to grow our little family.We were SO excited to be parents again. To experience Ezra’s joy as a big brother and walk the beautiful and mysterious road of pregnancy and childbirth. I felt so invincible during those weeks, knowing that each moment I was part of the ultimate undercover multitasking operation. It all felt so miraculous and I felt such a sense of purpose.

When it was all gone, the emptiness I felt was so visceral. Taking a shower the night before surgery and saying goodbye to whoever shared my body those last 8 weeks, and then waking up for the procedure the next day, all I could think about was the physical and emotional void within me. It was really dark there for awhile. And sometimes still is, to be honest.

I don’t say these things so publicly for sympathy. It’s just taken me 31 years to realize that I am simply wired up to need to get things in my brain to the outside world. The most crucial steps in my healing so far has been to share deeply and honestly with the people I love and trust, and I’m sensing a need to not hold back my experience. To make my grief public for the sake of being seen, because I think as women (and maybe especially as mothers) it’s so easy to feel invisible. We hide our pain and our experiences to help others around us stay comfortable. I feel like I need to choose visibility over hiding, or the darkness wins.

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I would love for 2019 to be remembered for so much more. It deserves its place in history for so much growth and life. I learned a lot and experienced some life-changing moments in those 12 short months. I got my first tattoo. I joined the leadership team at our church community. I went rollerskating with girlfriends for my 31st birthday. I sipped champaign in the German town my Grandmother grew up in and walked the same streets she walked as a child. I jumped (completely naked, in broad daylight) into an ice-cold pond at a thermal spa to prove to myself I could be brave. Turns out, I can be.

I painted with watercolors while my toddler took his afternoon nap. I got to see one of my heroes speak on inclusion within a local church’s walls. I learned to make bread. I celebrated my son’s second birthday. I swam with sea turtles in the warm blue waters of Maui. What a life I live…What a freaking life.

My tattoo in Hebrew means “woman of valor” and as I think back on the year, it’s unbelievable how fitting that was for this season. I needed to have that phrase etched into my arm as I said goodbye to our growing life in my belly. I needed those words spoken over me as I ventured on a trip across the Atlantic Ocean without my family by my side (but knowing I needed the time away). I needed the words as I wrestled every day with what it means to be a Mom and a woman and a wife with dreams and opinions that all feel too big to fit inside this little existence I find myself in.

Life’s hard and confusing, but beautiful and precious. I’ll still be riding the roller coaster of grief for a bit longer. Thanks to everyone who has checked on me, fed me, cried with me, and loved our family the last 2 months. I’m not sure what 2020 has in store for us, but I will do my best to welcome all of it with a posture of curiosity and wonder, seeing each new day as a chance for me to move toward God’s infinite mystery.

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I might not be entering this next year with the same naive enthusiasm as the last. My excitement feels more muted and cautious. But it’s there, and damned if I won’t try to prove to myself this year too that I am brave and am capable of withstanding a lot more than I ever realized I could.

Let’s be brave together.