Friday, March 13, 2015

The Grief and the Uncertainty

I have concluded that for me, there are two parts to Lydie's death.

There's the grief.  You all know about the grief.  I expect to carry the grief with me for the rest of my life just as I'll carry the love I have for my daughter.

But there's also the uncertainty.  And this feels different from the grief.  I don't expect to carry the uncertainty forever.  Justin and I had all these plans for a family and until November, it seemed they were being realized: a couple kids, close in age.  It seemed like we were going to have it all: good jobs, a house in the suburbs with a fenced in backyard, a crazy dog, an obnoxious cat (the cat was Justin's college roommate, I'm not a fan), a son and a daughter.

And now, the uncertainty.

Part of me wonders if I'll always want to have one more child to fill the hole in our family.  If I'll always struggle with the incomplete family.  When, in reality, I know that no matter how many children we have in the future, we'll always have that hole.  Our family will always be incomplete.   We'll always be missing one.

But I also know I never wanted Ben to be an only child.  Only living child that is.  I always wanted at least two kids.  Living kids that is.

And hence, the uncertainty.

I wonder if five years down the line when I'm still grieving my daughter but the question "will we be able to have more (living, breathing) children?" has been answered, I might feel different. I might feel more at peace with the direction my life has taken.

When I was pregnant with Lydie, about to have my boy and my girl, I thought we'd be done.  I don't enjoy being pregnant.  I want to have a guest room.  I want to be able to pay for my kids' college and provide them with stable lives.  I thought man-to-man defense was probably the safest and I didn't especially want to have a middle child (as I have some severe middle-childhood-syndrome). 

And then our daughter died.
And I decided pretty quickly that we couldn't be done.  This couldn't be the end of our story.

And soon I started thinking about having more children.  Yes, plural.

This is the conversation that took place in our home:
"I want to tell you something, but I don't want to freak you out." - Heather
"Okay..." - Justin
"Lydie's death makes me want more kids.  Like not just one more.  Like two more." - Heather
"I want to tell you something, but I don't want to freak you out.... that doesn't freak me out." - Justin

It seems totally fucked up.  Instead of being done having kids like I thought I'd be at this point, my daughter is dead and ideally, I'd like to have two more.  But Lydie's death put things into perspective for me. All those reasons I thought we'd be done...  who cares?  Who cares about a guest room?

Lydie's death made me want more of the love.

But who knows?  Our family is living deep in grief and uncertainty.  We don't know if we'll be able to have one more living child, much less two.  And when my mind gets ahead of me, which it often does, I remind myself that there's no sense in making plans, since our plans clearly didn't work out.  I need to continue to take it one day at a time.

But I really hate the uncertainty.


  1. The uncertainty is definitely hard as well as the grief. I think you beautifully wrote and explained the two parts of losing a child. Its hard having that uncertainty, its hard enough having the grief but both are very true realities.

    I think its really cool that Lydie has taught you that you want more than one. I think the fact that you can fathom the idea of more than one pregnancy shows the distance you have come since November.

    Keep taking it day by day :)

  2. The uncertainty was really hard for me before we brought home a living child. Since Cale was our first it was a little different, but the same in that the uncertainty was really hard and a whole other aspect to our loss.

    Just yesterday I got (and I've gotten it a lot) comments about how lucky we are to have one boy and one girl and they pain me every time. The hole will always be there. But the uncertainty doesn't pain me the same way anymore. Now I feel like the decision to have more (or in our case most likely to NOT have more) children is OUR decision and not one that is solely intertwined with grief (though it's a big factor).

    I hope in time the uncertainty diminishes.

  3. However, one certainty is you and Justin...your love and support for each other. I am so thankful you have that....especially because of all the uncertainties.

  4. I always wanted 2 or 3. I'm knocked over almost daily in the process of achieving another living child...and then having them hits me hard again! (Theo is a terrrrrrible sleeper). But I'll catch myself thinking, who cares...I want 2 here...and maybe 3. And I want to parent a bunch of living kids dammit! Just like I wanted to before my baby died!! But uuuf, it's a damn doozy that one. It's mind blowing to know I'll be on my 3rd pregnancy (if we ever expand), and still only have Theo in my house... <\3

    I have no certainly either. And it's somewhat separated from grief, but more because life is just damn hard a lot of the time.

    I hope as time moves forward, the uncertainly changes, in the gentlest of ways xo

  5. We had the exact same conversation about more children. We lost our first, so there are differences to note, but I wanted more. I had never wanted more than two. And all of a sudden, I wanted 3 or 4. That quickly changed when my subsequent pregnancies nearly ended in complete devastation again, but yeah. We had that talk.

    Uncertainty is definitely a real emotion. Just like the crying, it changes all the time. Sometimes the answers are more clear than others and sometimes the tears flow more than others.

  6. I just found your blog from Brooke--and see a lot of familiar names here in the comments. I never knew why this happened to me too. I try to remember what I wanted before the the baby loss. It was 2 I think, 3 would probably be OK, and 1 might be OK. Then I wanted 4, even 5 doesn't sound like too many. I think 3 would be OK, but I'm not ready to stop at 2. I'm trying not to make too many plans. Just last night I was telling this to a friend! Like the other ladies said, the uncertainty will change and your feelings about the uncertainty will change. It will somehow, someday, feel better than it does now. But, the math is never going to add up.


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