Yesterday was so hard – we said goodbye to Ada’s physical form and brought her ashes home. I might write about that another time. But today was a good day.
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself,
‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
― Eleanor Roosevelt
A babylost mom posted this quote on the First Candle Stillbirth Support Group Facebook Page. It’s from You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life. I’d like to read the whole book sometime but this quote is something to live by. Horrible things happen. We will never forget, but we need to keep living. Take as much as we can from each experience and use it to be a better person.
Today I ran (well, jogged/walked) in the LoziLu 5K mud run. It’s an empowering all-women event that benefits kids and young adults with leukemia and lymphoma. Plus, I donated my old running shoes to Project Sole.
It wasn’t easy to do something so physical – I’m still recovering from delivering Ada, and I’ve pretty much been homebound for the past 3 weeks, unable to even go for a walk. I am out of shape! My whole body ached. My lungs burned. My sports bra was not keeping things stationary so I had to run very carefully. I had to keep my chest out of the mud to avoid risk of infection as I’m still trying to prevent lactation. Plus, it was so very hot! I almost blacked out at one point – strangely enough, that happened was while I was just standing there, and thankfully I felt better after sitting down for a while.
The run was also tough emotionally. I shouldn’t have run this race – in fact, I had been trying to sell my ticket since I found out I was pregnant. I should have been cheering from the sidelines with a glowing face and a big baby bump. Instead I was struggling to run, showing off these terrible bags under my eyes from crying so much. There were so many beautiful fair haired little girls among the spectators, and it’s hard to not think of what Ada might have looked like, which makes me want to cry if I look at them for more than a moment. I was dealing with all of these pains that are a direct result of losing Ada. It was super frustrating to not be able to keep pace with my team. But I carefully pushed through. It may sound silly, but I kept thinking: “I want to show Ada that I am strong, that women can do anything.” As I approached the finish line, a butterfly flew across my path, and I knew it was all worth it.
As hard as it is, I did it. I have lived through this horror. I have experienced the most horrible thing that anyone can experience – the death of a child – and I have survived. I honor Ada not by hiding in the dark but by tending my garden, running with friends, communicating science… all of these things that I love doing and that I am good at.
Being with friends today, though, made me realize that I need to try harder. I need to find ways to help people be comfortable with me, and for me to be comfortable with them. Babyloss is too much – there are no words. So I need to find ways to show that it’s ok to talk about it even if it is awkward (there is no way to talk about it that isn’t awkward!), and it’s also ok to not talk about it. But I can’t pretend this didn’t happen. This isn’t something horrible that I did that I need to hide.
I need to find ways to let people know that Ada is always on my mind, so it’s not going to upset me (at least, not any more than I already am) if someone brings her up. I want to talk about her, I need to talk about her. Talking about Ada, and about my experience, helps me to feel more normal. I’ve been so scared to go out, even to the grocery store, to go back to work, to see friends, to do anything – because I haven’t figured this out yet. But if I can live through this horror, then certainly I can figure this part out. At minimum, I can try.