Two days ago I walked out of the hospital where my three children were born. That statement in itself may not sound strange to you but to me it closed a part of my life and journey in a way that most would never know.
For years I had watched women be rolled out of hospitals holding babies wrapped in special blankets and sweet clothes. I had wanted to be like them. Three and a half years ago I was rolled out in a wheelchair holding nothing but a box that contained a beautiful mold of my son’s footprints and a few other pictures and mementos that would become the most special possessions that I will most likely ever have. I was one of them, I was a mother, but I was not like them because I knew sadly that the world would not see my son in my arms or holding my hand, playing at the playground or going on playdates. My heart was shattered into a million and one little pieces.
Two and a half years ago, I became one of those women that I had always wanted to be. I was rolled out of the hospital holding a beautiful baby girl, wrapped in a soft blanket that I had made and wearing a sweet outfit with her name on it. I felt as though I heard the world breathe a deep sigh of relief. I finally had my baby right? I should be ‘better’ now, I felt people were saying. Maybe now she will stop living in the past and talking about her dead son. Yes, people actually said those words… My heart was full of joy but in every little milestone, cute smile and funny face, I still yearned to see that in my son, too. My first daughter gave me a hope though that somehow I would find a way to hold both joy and grief together on my journey.
And then this week, I thought I was going to be wheeled out again, but it was chaotic and the car was packed and had to be moved and it was hot and we did not want to adjust the car seat in the hot car so my husband insisted we put our new daughter in the car seat inside the hospital and just roll her out. In my mind I was screaming, “No, I want to be wheeled out again! This is the last time this will ever happen! I want to hold my child and have that experience one more time.” I know it seems so silly. But when you’ve walked in my shoes, little things matter. But then, I realized. Three and a half years ago I did not know how I would live let alone walk this journey. Two and a half years ago healing was emerging in amazing ways but I still desperately needed a gentle presence around me because I was fragile. And, two days ago I realized, I still need love and support, I need people to say Max’s name, I want the world to know I have a son and two daughters. I still hope people will not say things like, “God had a plan along.” “Things are just the way that they should be now.” “Everything happens for a reason.” But the difference is that with the love and support of so many I have found a way to walk again. I look at the picture of us before we got in the car and drove away. It represents the end of a chapter but also the beginning of a new one. A new one that I can now look forward to with hope and grace and a love that forever carries on.