Embracing What I Never Wanted

September 10, 2012

Sometimes I wonder if there are really people that exist or have existed and never faced any type of traumatic loss.

It’s not an angry or jealous thought, it’s simply there. I thought I might be one of those people, but in the back of my mind I was always waiting for the tragedy in my life. Isn’t that strange? I knew that I’d made it 28 years with no real loss because something major was going to happen.

Then I think about if this had never happened to me. If I’d never woken up that day and had my water break at 18 weeks – who would I be right now? I’d have 2 little boys who were a few weeks old, be tired, probably cranky, and whiny. I’d still avoid baby loss blogs. I’d still wonder when reading who on earth would want to keep talking about it. I’d still say a silent prayer that it would never happen to me.

And of course, it never would. Right?

I play the “what if” game in my head all.the.time lately. It’s almost like living in an alternate life at times, I can picture what should have been and it’s hard to shake that. It follows me throughout my days.

I try so hard to be thankful for what I have, to see the world I’m in with new eyes and an appreciation of the fragility of life. It’s hard to balance that with the other life – how can you be thankful you got to sleep in because you don’t have babies to wake you up? How can I rejoice in the ability to pursue my dream of writing and working from home knowing that at this point I should be swamped in diapers and screaming and tiny fingers and toes? How?

And yet, I try. Because it didn’t happen. I have to remind myself of that often. It didn’t happen. I didn’t get them. So I have to focus on what I did get, make the very best of what was placed in my path instead. One of the reasons I’ve been so adamant about writing and working from home was to have that part of my life still with me. To not lose another part of what I loved. To turn what could have been an empty life into a full one – a differently full one.

I would never choose to go back and be the old Diana. I wouldn’t choose to have Preston and Julian die, but I can’t decide that part. I have learned so much, felt so much these past 4 months. It’s been the most amazing thing – as I get further from the intense pain I can see myself respond differently in situations. It’s not because I’m such a wonderful person now, it’s just because pain and grief that intense has to alter you. Has to slow you down. You can’t get out of this kind of thing without changing in some way.

Maybe some people find this without a great loss. I never would have. I’m one of those people who only learns from my own actions – how frustrating that must have been for my parents. Going through this was probably the only way for me to accept a change, a deeper faith in God, an understanding of loving what I do, a knowledge of how blessed I am to have Sam and Bella.

Isn’t it odd – I never wanted this. I’ve said that so many times on here. And yet, here I am. Embracing what life has given me and stubbornly refusing to let it destroy the parts of it I love so much. Bowing my head to God and asking him to change my heart, my soul, my life. Stumbling every day and yet seeing it now. Knowing intensely what being a Christian means – even though I can’t seem to reach it. I know it although I fall way short. Loving Jesus is so different than what I thought it was supposed to be.

So while I used to envy people who had never faced a life altering loss – while I used to envy myself 4 months ago – I don’t anymore. I know this is part of my story, I’m seeing the fruits of some of our pain as I walk with other women through their journey. I see my son’s short lives changing others.

Thank you Lord for it all. The pain, the suffering, the loss, the grief, the joy, and my eyes being opened to what life can be. Thank you for taking my deepest fears and turning it into a beautiful part of my life story.


  • Bethany

    September 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I completely agree that going through tragedies in life can change you in good ways. Even though no one wishes to go through them. You said it beautifully, and I’m amazed at the healthy place you are at right now.

  • Meg

    September 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss of your babies. You are a very insightful woman and obviously very strong.

  • Tina

    September 13, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    I totally understand. I miss my little boy so much but I wouldn’t have his sister if it wasn’t for losing him. I wouldn’t appreciate every minute with her or every minute I am happy with my life. It is so hard because I wish it never happened, I wish I never lost him, but at the same time, I’m glad I did… wow I’ve never said that before. But it’s true, I wouldn’t give up my daughter for anything, not even for him.

    I just started a blog about my life because of reading your blog about your sons. I lost my son almost two years ago now and reading your blog helped me through a lot of stuff I didn’t realize I was still feeling. So thank you for writing a blog. And thank you for inspiring me to write about my loss.

    Gay Mom Straight World

  • Corri

    September 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

    16 months ago, I woke up with one giant contraction and my water broke. 20 minutes later I delivered my 29 week old baby girl – breech – in our dining room as the EMT’s arrived just in time for me to push. 20 minutes later she was finally revived and stable enough to move to the hospital. Two days later we had the horrific task of ending her suffering. We have two other beautfil babies, a boy who was born at 24 weeks and God showed up miracle after miracle. A girl who made it to full term. The what if scenario is inevitable. I love what you said about learning what it means to truly love Jesus. I was not ok, and I was not ok with the sequence of event and all the faith I put in God for Him to take her anyway. After all we went through to get to 29 weeks, I assumed God would show up the same way and heal her miracle after miracle – just like he did for my son. Well, God showed up, just in a VERY different way. For a minute I was mad at God, dissapointed in the outcome he chose for our family. By 29 weeks I had clothes, blankets, stroller, carseat, crib… everything. Dreams, a name, plans…. changed in 20 minutes, erased in a split second two days later. I was mad at the EMT’s for reviving her… I was mad at the doctors for not calling sooner so we could have made it to the hospital with time to say goodbye… I had to make my spirit match the word – which is God never fails, God knows the whole picture. God knows why. Be thankful for what I have and God is NEVER wrong. God is all knowing all powerful. Like you I had o decide to not let my life get crushed by this, not let my other children suffer the extent of this loss that I do. Thank God, bittersweetly, that they are too young to know what happened. Enjoy the time I now have to continue dedicating to them that I wouldn’t have with a third child. But, What if? In reality my what if has been horribly changed by her medical condition, but my hearts what if… its like torture. This is a club, like everyone else said. And not one any of us would willingly sign up for. A loss like this, the loss of your own child – makes you wonder how abortion is even a debate. Changes how you see everything in life, even as simple as a pregnant woman saying – I can’t wait to get this baby out. Hallelujah for the perspective God has given you, and the peace that surpasses understanding. 16 months later, I still struggle on certain days, and others I don’t as much. Then I feel guilty for not struggling… anyhow… the pain won’t ever be over, but it will find its place in your life to drive you. It inspires you and makes you care a lot less about the petty things, and helps you keep perspective of what is truly important.

    Blessing and love to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I randomly found your blog today, and really needed this encouragement from another who has actually experienced a loss. People who haven’t just lack a depth of understanding, and I am glad they are able to lack that depth, but it is not the same as from someone who has experienced loss.

  • Katie

    September 12, 2012 at 6:24 am

    I have never lost a child, however did struggle with infertility. It was a long hard battle and a terrible pregnancy. But her she is, 9 yrs later…..cute as a button and smart as a whip. Life gives us so many challenges, from death of loved ones to difficult pregnancies. I have had the worst years of my life these past 7 yrs . I have had uncontrollable roller coaster rides that I just want to stop! I am FINALLY seeing the light at the end of the tunnel ……. Stay strong. You will get through this. When you look back and see how strong you were, you know you can make it through anything! Good luck & stay strong!

  • Anne-Marie

    September 11, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I think the most important lesson in my life, one that I am still learning, is to surrender and trust God; the things I have fought against, hated, grieved over, have made me who I am much more than the things that came easily. My losses take more words to explain than I want to leave here. I do want to say that they have been heavy and that the pain still catches me by surprise. Something small will set it off, and eventually it passes. I’ve lived with it for a long time. My point is this: you are doing so well. For what it’s worth, I think you are being so healthy and so smart.

  • Sarah

    September 11, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    It’s amazing to me you have the words to all my emotions, my family lost My almost 4 year old two years ago. It’s hard for me to find the words to express where I am, how and who I am now. My sister who is across the country from me sent me this link to encourage me and it has, Thank you for posting this!!!

  • Liz Lovelace

    September 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    That was beautiful, thank you!

  • Kate

    September 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    This is amazing and You are amazing. God is good all the time, even through difficult circumstances.

  • Tweepwife

    September 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I loved this post. I never lost a baby, though I struggled with infertility and the persistent grief of not getting a baby for several years before my two miracles happened. I lost my father to cancer very rapidly. I am the survivor of sexual victimization. All these traumas share the same thing that you describe – I wouldn’t have asked for them, didn’t want them, but they happened. And somehow they have shown me the power of grace, opened my eyes to blessings other people don’t always see, and given me a depth of understanding and empathy I would not have otherwise had. Do you know the Zoe Girl song Unbroken? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsl9-X3rLbI or Natalie Grant singing Held (though I don’t love the video, I love the song). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOufqWodFNo I think these touch on what you are feeling. Thanks for sharing.

  • Amy

    September 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Wow! Diana. Seriously. I don’t think most people could express that kind of growth so beautifully. Well done.

  • Alia

    September 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    you’re so strong. God bless you

  • Law Momma

    September 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Oh how loss changes you. But the only way to ever really make it semi-okay, is to take the loss and let it change you. Otherwise, what a seriously tragic loss on top of it all. Love you.

  • Beth Anne

    September 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    There is so much truth to embracing our circumstances, even the shitty ones, rather than fighting against life & all it hands out.

    You are amazing.

  • becca @ sewLOVED

    September 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    diana, thank you so much for sharing these words. it’s so beautiful and so hopeful. we haven’t experienced such a loss in our family as yours, but we did have some close friends lose their 4 year old to brain cancer earlier this year. i never knew how much his loss would affect all of us… and even though it wasn’t our immediate family, i can definitely relate to some of those feelings of being closer to God and struggling every day to be stronger in my faith. the loss of sweet noah has forever changed my life… and while i hate that he’s no longer with us, i’m thankful at the same time for causing me to pray more and shift my focus. again, thank you for sharing your heart and mind!

  • Kim

    September 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

    You said this so brilliantly, so beautifully. I have tears in my eyes full of gratefulness for you. I’m thankful that you’re at this stage in life, in your grief. That it hasn’t swallowed you up. I’m thankful that you’ve turned to Christ and are sharing this journey with all of us.

  • Tanya H

    September 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Surprisingly, I know a handful of people that have never, ever suffered the loss of a person close to them. These people aren’t less sympathetic or less loving. They are just missing a certain, how would I put it?…uhmmm. A certain dimension that can only be gained by experiencing the deepest depths of grief and loss. I find that I don’t envy them, I just pray that when they do experience that first loss that they will have the personal fortitude and enlightenment to seek out those of us that are intimately acquainted with this aspect of life.

    You, my dear, unfortunately have a ‘frequent flyer membership’ to this group. I’d never voluntarily sign-up, by I’m grateful for the perspective its membership has given me. Thank you for always putting your heart out there…

  • Jen

    September 10, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Beautiful! You are amazing. That brought tears to my eyes!

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