Why do I get anxious at the thought of running into someone I know at the store? Why do I want to cancel plans, even plans I was okay with making at the time? Why don’t I want to answer the phone, even when it’s one of my closest friends calling? Why is it so hard to be normal?
I’m not the same person that I was. And I’m not sure what that means or how to be myself or if I can do the same things I used to do in exactly the same ways anymore. My life, myself, is different now.
I don’t say this with a sense of defeat or depression or discouragement… I say it with a relief of realization. I find freedom in the understanding. I have felt it for the last couple months, but didn’t have the words to describe it until someone else said it for me.
I was sitting on my living room floor, talking with a close friend while her kids played in the background. We hadn’t really talked about our loss, my feelings, the ups and downs, prior to that conversation (which took place about 4 months after Jon and I lost our baby. That’s love, friends. That’s selflessness at it’s best. When it can be okay for one of your closest friends to NOT talk if they aren’t yet ready…and you don’t take it personally or get upset or express your own unmet expectations. That’s friendship, too, just as much as being there in the thick of it. That’s letting the person in need decide how their needs get met. It’s beautiful.). And the first (and most important) thing she said to me was: “you’re not the same person anymore”. Please hear this loud and clear: she was not criticizing, condemning, or complaining. She was expressing understanding. She was getting it. She was giving words to a new reality I was struggling to comprehend myself. A reality I could feel but not explain.
And then she said, “you couldn’t be. You’re a mom now.”
All the tears.
It’s true though. It’s real. I’m a mom now. And yet I have no child to hold… It’s an empty, confusing place. A place that means you’re not the same person anymore. And that’s okay. You couldn’t be. You’re not supposed to be.
That’s why it’s so hard to be normal.
I see you out there. Some of you have also lost children you’ve yet to meet. Some of you have met and even lived life with the child you no longer get to see each day. Some of you are hurting because you’re still waiting for that first encounter with the life of the child you long for. Whatever place you’re in, I know you’re there. And I know it’s so hard to be “normal”. I know that whatever your personal experience is, it has changed and marked you, and you aren’t the same person anymore.
And that’s okay. Here in my small corner of the world, I’m learning what that means for me. I’m learning where it makes me stronger, braver, and more who I was created to be. I’m learning how it hurts me and makes me ache. I’m learning how to let it be purposeful despite the pain.
I’m learning to stop trying to be who I used to be. To stop trying to be my own or anyone else’s version of who the “normal” me is and what the “normal” me does. I’m learning to release, to trust again, to hope afresh. I’m learning how to talk about it when I want to, to be silent when that feels right, to move in peace as Jon and I walk hand in hand with Jesus through this journey that is our life.
One day, one step, at a time.
There are so many brave women whose stories have been a source of encouragement to me as I learn my new normal, whose voices of hope have pulled me up when the heaviness of discouragement pushed me down. I’m so grateful for their courageous sharing of their journey, both the women I am blessed to know personally, and the ones I don’t. I’ve put the links below to a few Instagram pages and YouTube videos…These women (who don’t know me and I don’t know them – sometimes there is so much beauty in social media) have encouraged me and I hope that if you are here because you have a story like mine (or theirs) that you will find support and encouragement through them as well.
And it’s my prayer to be that for you, too. So please, if you want to, send a message. You don’t have to be “normal”. I know it’s not the same anymore. And that’s okay.