As a mommy who recently (5 1/2 months ago) kissed her baby boy goodbye for the 1st and last time I figured maybe, just maybe, I can share what it's like to have a friend have a baby shortly after you do. I'm not talking acquaintance. I'm talking friend. A person that you spend time with often, you talk to all the time, someone near and dear to you. I have plenty of acquaintances that have had babies since Grant died. I even have quite a few that had baby boys in August, when Grant was supposed to be born. However, I also have a few good friends who have had babies recently or will in the near future. Only one of these friends actually lives in the town that I live in. The others live a few hours away so it's a little different for me with them. The one that lives here I see a few times weekly and talk to all the time.
One of my biggest concerns when we found out that Grant wasn't going to live was how was my friendship with this woman going to survive this? How was I going to be able to celebrate her baby while I mourned mine. Well, here's how. It's not easy. It hurts. However, it needs to be done. It's not her fault that my child died. Her baby is a blessing from God just like Grant is. Therefore, I'm choosing to celebrate her through my tears and pain. It's what a true friend would do and she deserves no less. I do have to say that it did help the pain a little when she found out she was having a girl. Something about knowing I wasn't going to have to watch a baby boy who should be growing up with Grant, grow up without him. They still would have been friends and would have grown up together but at least she wears pink and bows :) My first hurdle was getting through her baby shower. I decided I would help host it. We had talked baby showers before Grant passed away and it was something I wanted to do for her. I made hand-made baby presents so I wouldn't have to look at the registry and could focus on "girly" things. I survived that day with only a few tears, in private, before and after. I knew the next hurdle would be the delivery and visiting her in the hospital. She was delivering at the same hospital I did. There's not much choice around here. I thought her delivery would be in October, it's when she was due. I thought I had time to prepare. That's what I get for thinking. She texted me yesterday morning to let me know her water broke and she was heading to the hospital at 35 weeks. I called her and prayed over her and that baby girl. When I hung up I prayed some more. I prayed for safety. As a mommy who has lost a baby and knows many others who have lost babies and as a Pediatrician I know things can go wrong. I prayed that God would protect that little girl. A little girl I already love. I felt a peace and knew that she was going to be just fine. Then came the time to go to the hospital to visit before the baby came. We went up there last night and I think my husband and I did ok visiting while there. However, I have to admit that I did cry when trying to go to sleep because everyone was laughing and anticipating a healthy baby in that delivery room where the last time I was in a similar room we all had somber faces. Her baby girl was born perfectly healthy at 2:32am this morning. As soon as they told me the time I smiled and cried at the same time. Grant was born at 2:32pm. I felt like it was my little boy saying "hi mommy". I think it's really neat that they share a birth time (even though one is am and one is pm), since they don't get to share anything else. She was also born the month that Grant was supposed to be born. Today has been much more difficult emotionally. We went to see her this afternoon. I knew that I needed to make myself hold her. I knew that it was necessary and it would be hard. I didn't expect the look on my husbands face as I held her though. I don't know what I really expected from him but it wasn't that. He looked so sad again. He initially declined to hold her because it was so hard. Eventually he did hold her, and looked so precious doing so. I wonder if my face looked like his did when he looked upon me holding an infant. It took everything I had not to cry right there. How can one person feel so excited and happy for someone else and so broken for themself at the same time? That's how it is. Happy and excited for her, sad and broken for us. Intense longing to be where they are. Celebrating insetaed of grieving. I truly do think it is a necessary step of healing for me and I'm so so so happy that my friend and her baby are well. August has been a hard month and I'm happy to see it go soon. I'm hoping September is better.
For anyone who read all of that and is in my situation and wondering how they will survive it. Here's my advice. Try your hardest to do what you would have done for them before your loss. Constantly remind yourself that it's ok to be happy for them and sad for you at the same time. It's ok to walk in your door at home and burst into tears. Heck, it's ok to cry wherever you want! Your friend will understand.
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15
It's not easy to do but God has taught me so much with this one little verse. Just because I am grieving doesn't mean I can't rejoice with others.