Baked Apple Recipe

I had lunch with my friend Emily and her adorable daughter a couple of weeks ago, and when she asked what she could bring, I told her, “Something fruity for dessert.” I had no idea what mind-blowing healthy deliciousness she would bless me with. She could have just brought me an apple, and I would have been excited, but NO. She brought this:

Delicious, Clean Baked Apples and Oats

AND she was gracious enough to share the recipe with us! Thanks Em! Y’all. These were so delicious and shockingly healthy. They are gluten-free, sugar-free, and clean. I wouldn’t recommend eating them for every meal or anything, but who wants to eat the same thing for every meal anyway? To make a batch, you will need:

  • 6 apples
  • 6 heaping tablespoons rolled oats
  • 6 heaping tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (This is optional, but if you happen to have dried cranberries or raisins or whatever else on hand, toss it in!)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of an organic lemon or orange
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 6 tsp butter
  • 1 cup hot water

Wash apples and core them using a melon baller (there is a kind with a slightly serrated edge around the scooper, which works perfectly). Arrange them in a glass baking dish large enough to leave at least an inch in between them.

In a medium bowl, mix the rolled oats, walnuts, dried fruit (if using), cinnamon, salt, zest, nutmeg, and maple syrup. Blend all this goodness together in your bowl and stuff it into the cored apples. Then sprinkle the rest of the mixture in the bottom of the baking dish around the apples. The more stuffing you make, the more will be in the bottom of the pan, and it bakes up so tasty down there. Put a teaspoon pat of butter onto each apple on top of the stuffing (more or less if you want, and if anyone wants to experiment with using coconut oil instead, PLEASE let me know how that goes). Pour a cup of hot water into the bottom of the pan.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Then remove the foil, turn off the oven, and leave them in there for about 30 more minutes

Drizzle those bad boys with a little raw honey before serving. They are amazing on their own, but you could also serve them with plain or vanilla yogurt. If it’s an extra oatmeal-y batch, Emily says she’ll just dish up 2 or 3 of them with lots of the oatmeal part and there’s breakfast!

Feel free to play with this and let me know how it goes. If you want to make more of the oatmeal mixture, you can, but you may need to adjust the amount of water you add to the pan.

Enjoy!!

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I’m supposed to write today about my favorite and least favorite kinds of exercise, but I’m honestly not really feeling up to trying to make it interesting. I like walking, dancing, yoga, and Pilates. I kind of hate everything else. The end.

What’s really on my mind is that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and while I am having a really hard week, several friends’ due dates are either here or coming soon. These are the friends I was pregnant with. Even though I was a bit behind them, we were all in it together. Now we’re not.

Now I’m in a different kind of club – one people don’t like to talk or hear about, one that people apologize for accidentally reminding you you’re in, one you wish no one ever had to be in at all. But lots and lots of people are.

I promise you, if you know any women, you probably know at least one who’s lost a baby. If you know women currently of childbearing age, you probably know someone who has lost a baby this year. When we lost Ella, at least half a dozen women sent me private messages telling me that they too had recently experienced a miscarriage. If any of your loved ones have shared their heartbreak with you, please reach out to them this week. They are likely already thinking about the baby they don’t have in their arms or wombs; you won’t be reminding them of it. You will only be giving them the love and encouragement they desperately need.

It Takes a Village (Fitness Edition)

I don’t like working out around other people. Even when I’m at home and my husband decides to take a day off from exercising, he’s not allowed to stay in the room with me while I do it. I REALLY don’t like going to the gym where strangers can see my fat jiggle when I run. I feel very self-conscious exercising in public, and I would prefer to do it in the privacy of my own home.

However, it is VERY important for me not to make major life changes alone. I need the support and help of family and friends, and yes, even strangers who are in the same boat as I am. Family and friends are great because they love you and support you, and you can text them how much weight you’ve lost and get something like this in return:

Yes, I call my sister "Buck Buck Number Two." Is that weird?
Yes, I call my sister “Buck Buck Number Two.” Is that weird?

Strangers, on the other hand, are wonderful because you can tell them your exact measurements and not give a flying flip what they think of it because you’ll probably never meet them, and even if you do, you’ve been through something together by then that makes you happy to finally meet them, still not caring that they’ve seen your measurements because they were right there with you.

I have both of these groups, and hooboy is it necessary for me. I have my sweet husband telling me I’m beautiful regardless of my weight but that he’s also SO proud of me for all the hard work I’m doing. I have my sister cheering me on with every weight loss update. I have my coworkers commenting on how they’re starting to see the changes. And I have a group of mostly strangers on Facebook who are all working on healthier goals together. We can post links to recipes, we can complain about how hard our workout was, we can encourage each other to keep it up anyway or get back on the wagon, and we can give each other big cyber-fives on a job well done.

I work out alone or only with my husband (who doesn’t count as “people”), and I prefer it to the gym or to a group class, but it really does take a village to help me stay on track and make good choices. So to all of you who have read and posted or texted me encouraging comments, THANK YOU. I need you. I can’t do this without you. I’m thankful that I don’t have to.

Healthy Start

I could go back as far as high school to start this story, but I won’t. I’ll just go back to when I was pregnant with a tee-tiny bit of back story. Like a lot of women, I have always struggled with my weight. Looking back at high school pictures, I can see now that I was reasonably thin, but I did not believe that at the time. After high school, things just got worse, and although I’ve tried now and then to lose weight, I just seem to keep putting it on. I didn’t even lose a pound when I was training for the half marathon I did in New Orleans.

When I was pregnant, the nurses at my OB/GYN practice liked to remind me that I was overweight. As if I hadn’t noticed that I was shopping at the plus-size store. And as if I wasn’t already self-conscious enough with my belly growing and people asking if I was sure I didn’t have two babies in there. Thanks, gals, for the ego boost.

But I wasn’t allowed to try to lose weight at that point.

Then we lost our sweet Ella, and through the kindness and generosity of SO many people, we ate a LOT of not-the-healthiest food in a very short period of time, and I put on another 8 pounds in just 6 weeks, which put me at the most I had ever weighed in my life, including the time I spent pregnant. This was getting serious. I knew that I needed to do something, and I knew I needed help and accountability to do it.

Well toward the end of August, I noticed that a friend from college was going to be leading a health and fitness challenge group for beginners on Facebook. I didn’t really consider myself a true beginner, but I knew I was REALLY out of shape, so I figured I would fit in just fine. We’ve been at it for almost three weeks now, and not only do I fit in just fine, it is HARD.

The exercise is hard, the eating plan is hard, and all of the feelings associated with it are hard. There’s the determination to succeed, the fear of failing, the desire to eat things I shouldn’t eat, the guilt of eating things I shouldn’t have eaten, the thought that I should just give up, and then back around to the determination to succeed. I’ve just come to think about food and exercise in a certain way, and changing my thought patterns is really difficult. But it IS time for me to make these changes, so I’m going to do it.

On a purely mental/emotional level, I need to do this now:

  1. because I need to succeed at something after losing my baby.
  2. because I need to feel like I’m in control of my body after the complete traumatic helplessness of PPROM.
  3. because I need to treat my body well after being so angry at it.
  4. because I still feel so sad so often, but endorphins make you feel so great.
  5. because I need to be proud of myself for something.
  6. because I need to keep myself busy until we are ready/allowed to try to get pregnant again.

So off I go on a frightening, exciting journey. If you can relate to any of this (with or without the pregnancy stuff), you are cordially invited to join me. I hope you will, and if you want, you can tell me that you’re with me, and we’ll keep each other going.

It Takes a Village

Dear Family and Friends (and Complete Strangers),

I want to thank you. Thank you for your kind words, your encouragement, your wise advice, your compassion, your love. Thank you for sharing your own struggles with me, for joining me in the pit as it were. Thank you for sitting with me, for hugging me, for checking in on me periodically, for sending me cute animal pictures and videos. Thank you for bringing food, for offering to bring food, for taking us out to eat, for having us over for food, for not judging us when we ate ALL the food and then some. Thank you for helping me with housework, for taking me for a pedicure, for inspiring me to treat my body well, for being so kind to me and helping me to be kind to myself. Thank you for letting me cry, for letting me laugh, for letting me space out completely. Thank you for sending me thoughts, words, and songs of healing. Thank you for letting me explore, doubt, find, process, and pour out my heart. Thank you for offering me love and new hope in return. Thank you.

I don’t think it’s possible to heal alone, but you have not made me try to do that. In fact, you would not have let me if I’d tried, and that’s a really good thing. It takes a village to heal a broken mama’s heart, and I don’t know what I would do without you. I’m not there yet, but I have a little bit of hope, so thank you.

Grateful for you all,
Beth

6 Reasons to Marry Your Best Friend

Today I’m supposed to talk about my best friend, which is going to get really sappy really quickly because Will is my bestest best friend. But before I get to him, let me say that I have amazing friends, all different, and all special to me in their own ways and for various reasons. I’ve got friends I’ve had since before I can remember having friends. I’ve got friends with whom friendships were forged under the most trying of circumstances – adolescence. I’ve got friends from college who watched me (and bore with me) as I did a fair amount of growing up and becoming myself, making a fool of myself as expected along the way. I’ve got friends from New York who took on the big city with me, who didn’t bat an eye when I started cutting my clothes up and got my nose pierced, but loved me, accepted me, and appropriately challenged me. I’ve got friends from Raleigh, who, though they are my most recent acquaintances, have become family. Literally.

And when I say literally, I literally mean literally. Whitney has spent the last couple of Christmases with my family, yes, and she is very close to literal family, but I’m talking about the friend who is now actually my family – my husband. We sometimes have surreal moments when we just can’t believe that we are married because still, after two years together, only a quarter of our relationship has been romantic in nature. We were friends for six years before we ever got together, so we often find it hard to believe that we get to kiss each other whenever we want, and we often find it hard to believe that there was ever a time we didn’t kiss each other.

Smooching is only one perk of marrying your best friend, though. Here are some more:

1. Hanging out with friends is simple.

We each have some friends that the other doesn’t know (or doesn’t know well), but we don’t hang out with them all that often because they don’t live nearby. If they did, we’d try to hang out with them a little bit more. The friends we hang out with the most are the ones we’ve both known for years, the ones we knew before we ever got together, the ones who, when we started dating, said, “Well it’s about time!” So I almost never have to go to awkward parties with Will’s friends and make small talk (introvert problems), and he’s only had to do that once or twice with my friends and family. Nope, none of that. We just hang out with people we both know and love.

2. Spending time together is fun and easy.

You’re friends! You’ve already spent time getting to know each other and developing “your things” – the things you always do together and/or the things you only do with each other. You have your favorite restaurants and hangouts, you have your inside jokes, you probably enjoy a lot of the same things, and you know what to expect from each other. Sure, Will and I have our disagreements, and we get frustrated with each other at times, but for the most part, being together is enjoyable. We don’t get tired of each other. We just do the things we’ve always enjoyed doing together, and it’s great!

3. The relationship moves at a comfortable pace.

I have two things to say about this. First, a lot of Christians get married lightning fast. The joke is that they just want to have sex, but they have to get hitched first, so they speed the process along. I’m sure there’s some truth to that, but I sincerely hope it’s not the whole truth because marriage is a huge step, and you really should be sure you’re ready to commit to marriage with that specific person before you do it. Otherwise, you are likely in for a bumpy road and a lot of heartache. I believe it is entirely possible to meet, fall in love with, and commit to a person for the rest of your life in a very short span of time (my parents did it), but it’s rare. By marrying your best friend, you can take it fast AND slow at the same time. A lot of people we met when we were engaged (or about to get engaged) were shocked that we’d only been together for such a short time, but as soon as we told them we’d been friends for six years, they were fine with us getting married.

Second, I always hated online dating because it took me six dates to decide whether I liked a guy enough even to be friends with him, much less date him. But by the time you’ve been on six dates with someone, news flash, you’re dating. The pace of it always made me uncomfortable. But with Will, I already knew I liked spending time with him as a friend. I then learned pretty quickly that I loved being in a relationship with him, that in fact I loved him. With that knowledge, stepping into engagement was a no-brainer, and even though marriage is a scary prospect that brings a lot of change, we were WAY ready for it by the time our wedding day rolled around.

4. There aren’t a lot of surprises.

Will and I were friends for six years. By the time we started dating, I knew what foods he liked, I knew how he liked to spend his time, I knew (more or less) how tidy he was, I knew the kinds of things he would want to do and the kinds of things he’d need to be coerced into doing. By the time we got married, I knew even more, and that knowledge has been invaluable. They say the first year of marriage is the hardest, and I think that’s the case because there’s just such a steep learning curve if you haven’t been living together beforehand. But when you marry your best friend, you know what you’re getting for the most part.

5. You always have a buddy.

We fully acknowledge the fact that we are disgustingly sweet a LOT of the time, and the romantic part of being in a good relationship is GREAT. But sometimes, you just don’t feel lovey-dovey. Sometimes you feel wretched and gross and gassy, and you don’t want to be touched. Sometimes you’ve had a hard day, and you don’t want to deal with it. You just want to watch TV and veg out. Sometimes you’re tired and don’t feel sexy at all. And in those moments, the good thing about being married to your best friend is that you’ve always got a buddy. You’ve always got your friendship – your simple enjoyment of each other’s company – to fall back on. You CAN just veg out together and watch TV. You CAN just lie next to each other in bed and look at Facebook. You don’t feel the need to constantly impress each other, and you don’t have to worry when the googly-eyed phase of your relationship stops being a 24/7 thing. Our googly eyes come and go, but our friendship fills in the gaps in between.

6. You can talk about everything.

I mean everything. Everything from the frequency and consistency of your bowel movements to theories on life and purpose. And when things are tough and you need to talk to someone, you’ve always got your best friend there with you, wanting to hear what you have to say. And when things are absolutely abysmal and you would rather not talk about it because you think it will hurt too much, you’ve got your best friend there too, encouraging you to keep talking or just letting you cry it out.

If you didn’t marry your best friend, I don’t think it’s too late to be married to your best friend. We got there slowly, and with a lot of movies. I think you can too. Find some common ground, have fun together, make jokes, laugh, flirt, watch silly TV shows, talk about your poop, ask about each other’s day, talk about your hopes and dreams and theories on life and purpose, and maybe do a little smoochin’.

*This post was co-written by Will and Beth. We are also available for parties…but bear in mind, we are very awkward at them.*

Healing

They say that time heals all wounds, but I don’t think I believe that. I think it takes time for wounds to heal, but I don’t think time itself is the healer. I’ve read a lot of the internet, and I’ve come across a whole slew of message boards where women who’ve lost a child to PPROM discuss their struggles. And there are plenty of ladies out there who seem no better off after two years than other ladies after two months. But then there are ladies who seem further along in their healing process at six months than ladies who’ve waited six years. I’m very careful to use the word “seem” in this discussion because I clearly have no idea what’s really going on in their hearts. I can only see what gets typed on the internet. But everyone is different, so I think there must be more at play than just time alone.

As a Christian, I believe that God is the best healer there is, but I think I also play a role in my own healing, so the whole process is a sort of dance, a cooperative effort, a give and take that eventually results in acceptance of my situation and myself in it.

Everyone participates in this process in their own way, so it can take more or less time depending on who you are, and it looks different for everyone because God relates to unique people in unique ways designed to best engage them. For some people, reading about God’s loving nature and promises in scripture is the only thing that helps them feel better. Other people connect with God more through music. Some of us need to feel a physical presence, and for that, God gives us people to hug. Some of us need to feel peace in the midst of turmoil, and for that, he gives sleep. Some of us need chocolate cake for a week, and for that, God gives us old high school friends who own a bakery and are willing to make deliveries.

My temptation is to say that your healing will only go as quickly as the extent to which you engage with God in his healing offerings, but I don’t know if that’s true. I just don’t know. And I won’t attempt to box up healing in a tidy 3-step process because it’s not that simple. What I have experienced, though, is that when I acknowledge the good things in my life – our friends and family, the support they’ve shown us, my cuddly husband, the love I feel for others, the love they show me, the freedom I feel to be myself knowing that God accepts me completely, good sleep, good music, a great job with amazing coworkers and students, chocolate cake, etc. – when I acknowledge all these good things, it feels like they replace little bits of the bad.

Maybe that’s what Isaiah was getting at when he said that the Lord had anointed him to provide for those who grieve, to give them “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair” (Isaiah 61:3). Maybe everyone who has loved and supported us through the loss of our daughter has been anointed by God to provide for us, to switch out the bad for the good, little by little. And maybe very slowly, I’ll even start to find good things in what right now feels like an entirely bad situation. I’ll let you know if/when that happens, but in the meantime, thank you for everything. I hope you know how big a part of my healing you’ve been so far, and I want you to know that I see it, and I appreciate it more than I can say.

Comfort Food

When we came home from the hospital, Will’s mom went grocery shopping for us. She came back with everything we’d asked for and at least four different kinds of soda. Over the course of the next week, more people brought more soda. We couldn’t fit it all in the refrigerator, so we had a little stash on the floor in the dining area just waiting to go into the fridge when space opened up.

Then there was the food. Delicious, cheesy, carbohydrated goodness filled our refrigerator and our bellies. Also cakes, candy, and cereal. We did get some vegetables, which we ate gladly, and some fresh fruit, which we also ate gladly…after we turned it into cobbler.

We felt guilty about it all for the first few days, but then we decided that feeling guilty about food was not what we needed to be doing at that moment. Our to-do list for the first week after we lost Ella consisted of three things:

  1. Get out of bed every day
  2. Breathe in and out
  3. Feed ourselves

That was all we could do, really, and even then, we relied heavily on the kindness of others to get ourselves fed. And y’all, that food was delicious. If you brought us anything edible, THANK YOU. I ate it all. There was a chocolate cake that disappeared little by little over the course of about a week, and it wasn’t until we were down to the last two pieces that we realized I had eaten literally almost all of it.

Food in general has been very comforting to me since my miscarriage, partly because there were so many things I missed eating when I was pregnant that I can now consume with abandon, partly because sugar and carbs and dairy are delicious and make your brain feel great, and partly because I was touched by the kindness and generosity of all those who provided for us when we could barely get out of bed.

I think there are probably two directions you could go with food after a tragedy. You can eat it all like we did, allowing yourself the grace and freedom to be comforted without worrying about the nutritional value of it. Or you can get very meticulous about your diet, using it as a way to control something when everything feels out of control. I honestly don’t think there’s anything wrong with either as long as you acknowledge what you are doing with food as part of your grieving process.

But six weeks and eight pounds later, I think it might be time for me to bring the eating phase of my grieving process to an end. And at the risk of using too many 30 Rock gifs (no such thing), I’ll just leave you with this and promise to talk more about food and exercise at a later date.

shutitdown

Processing

I’ve always been an observer before being a participant. I think this comes with being an introvert (at least that’s what I’ve read). When I enter a new situation, I like to watch before jumping in. When something big happens or I’m thinking of making a big change, I have to sit with it for a while before I can talk about my feelings and ideas. Even when asked a question, I often need to take a moment to collect my thoughts before responding. This used to make me uncomfortable because I felt like I needed to be prepared at all times to deal with whatever came my way. If I didn’t have an answer, a response, an action plan, a clever idea, or a solution immediately, I felt like I was failing. The silent time I needed to process felt awkward, like I was letting people down.

To fill the silence after a question, and to buy myself time to think, I used to immediately respond with, “I don’t know.” But then I almost always followed that up with a response that showed I did, in fact, know. I didn’t realize I did that until my counselor friend pointed it out to me, and when she did, she said something I will never forget. She said when I responded that way, it put up a wall between me and whoever I was talking to. And it’s true. Answer a question with “I don’t know,” and see how much longer the conversation lasts. Answer two questions in a row that way, and you start to feel defensive. Answer three questions in a row that way, and you shut down the whole thing.

If you can give yourself permission, though, to be silent instead of saying you don’t know, or if you can say, “Give me a minute to think about that,” or, “I need to organize my thoughts on that for a second,” or, “Hang on and let me process that for a moment,” then you invite your friend further into the conversation AND give yourself the time you need to process before responding.

Sometimes I feel like I should be further along in the grieving process than I am. I think, “It’s been a month and a half. Why does it still hurt so much? Why can’t I just move on? Why do I still think about it all the time? When am I going to feel better?” But the thing is it’s only been a month and a half. Death hurts. Loss hurts. And I lost much more than a pregnancy. I lost a child. I lost the future I thought I would have with that child as her mother. I lost a lifetime I had hoped for. I lost the innocence and naivete I had before. I lost the unbridled optimism that defined me. I lost part of myself, and I don’t know what will replace it. I think about it all the time because I’m still in the process of figuring out what happens next. I think about it all the time because thinking about it and reliving it are my brain’s ways of acknowledging that it is reality so I can live with it and learn to let go of the pain and fear of it. And very, very slowly, I do feel like I’ve made some progress. It still hurts, and I still curl up in a ball and weep when I need to, but I can definitely look back and say that this week is a tiny bit better than last week, which was a tad better than the week before, which was an itty-bitty bit better than the week before that.

I’ve learned to give myself permission to process and observe before I take action or speak. Now I’m learning to give myself permission to process my loss. For me, it’s a quiet, internal thought process that slowly makes its way out of my mouth or through my fingers onto the internet. Talking about it helps because bouncing ideas off of others allows them – with their experiences, perspective, and wisdom – to contribute to my thought process. Blogging about it helps because I can break it down into blog-post-sized chunks and just deal with one thing at a time. A thought will come to me, and I will slowly develop it in my mind until it feels complete and ready to share. Then I’ll type it up, post it, and feel like I’ve let go of some pain, anxiety, or fear.

This is just my process, though, and I also have to learn to give others permission to do their own thing. Grieving for me doesn’t look exactly the same as grieving for anyone else, and that’s ok. The only thing that matters is that you deal with the grief and don’t suppress it. If you’re angry and need to break something, I have a bunch of stuff I need to take to Goodwill. I’ll just give it to you and let you smash it instead. Or shoot, go to Goodwill and buy some cheap plates. I don’t know where you can go to break them safely, but I’m sure we can think of something. If you’re sad and need to take a crying shower, just try to do it in a place where you won’t run out of hot water. And if you need to talk about it, please find someone who can listen. I am very lucky to have an amazing husband, caring and supportive friends and family, and several counselor friends. But if you don’t have a great network of people already, there are support groups out there (online or in your town). You can blog about it and let the internet be your listening ear. Even just writing in a journal helps. If you need to talk, please talk.

But if you just need to process on your own first, that’s fine too. And if people get pushy and tell you that you should be talking about your feelings, just tell them that you need some time to figure out your feelings before you can talk about them. You have my permission.

Identity Crisis

I don’t know if it’s because Ella was genetically half me, or if it’s because my body created and sustained whole new organs to take care of her, or if it’s just the way it is with mothers and their children, but I feel like a piece of me was lost with her. I suspect it’s all of those things, but I found myself saying something the other day that I felt encompassed a lot of what I’ve been feeling. I said that I don’t know how to be a mom without a baby, and I don’t know how not to be a mom knowing that I had a baby.

Will pointed out recently that I am sort of an extreme processor and preparer. As soon as we started dating, I started reading books about dating, and we got a book of questions to discuss before we got engaged. As soon as we got engaged, I started reading books about marriage. As soon as I got pregnant, I started reading pregnancy books. And now I have at least three books on dealing with the grief of losing a baby. It’s just what I do. I need to understand what’s going on so that I can cope with it and be prepared for what lies ahead. Plus I’ve always loved being a student, so educating myself comes naturally, and I enjoy it even if the subject matter is difficult emotionally.

Because of that, it might look like I’m taking on this identity of a-woman-who’s-lost-a-baby to an extreme – like this is all I’m ever going to think about, read about, talk about, be interested in, or devote my life to again. But I think of it more like going to my favorite store, piling my arms full of all the clothes I want to try on, and then deciding which things fit, which things are appropriate for my life, and which things I can afford.

The reality of miscarriage is that it does change you. All major life events do. I read a bunch of marriage books because I was trying to figure out what kind of wife I would be. I read a bunch of baby books because pregnancy and parenthood are scary as the dickens, and I needed to start wrapping my brain around it all and begin to consider what it would look like when I did it. I’m reading books for bereaved parents because I need to know that the things I’m feeling and doing are normal or helpful or not crazy. I need to know that we’re not the only ones who’ve gone through this, and that lots of other folks have come through it and survived. And I’m trying to figure out how this will change me and how it will not. I’m trying to decide what fits my personality, what works for me practically, and what it will cost to allow these changes to take place in me.

Practically, I don’t know how all of this will play out. I don’t know if it will make me change jobs or hobbies or interests in the long run, but I think my identity is much deeper than those things, and that’s where I’m concentrating. I’m hoping that losing a baby will make me more compassionate, and that it will not make me bitter. I’m hoping it will show me how strong I am, and not make me afraid. I’m hoping it will make me more appreciative of the things I have, and not make me jealous of what others have. I’m hoping it will make me more caring, and not make me cynical. I’m hoping it will give me eyes to see beauty in painful times, and not blind me to hope. In general, I’m hoping it makes me a better mama to the babies I will one day hold in my arms and the ones I will always hold in my heart.

I don’t know how to be a mom without a baby, but I’m not going to worry about how not to be a mom anymore because it’s too late for that. I just am a mom now. And I’m starting to think that being a mom is largely about character anyway – character that will come out in everything I do, not just parenting. The mom I am now will affect the wife I am, the teacher I am, the friend I am, the daughter and sister I am, the writer I am, and every other role I play. Maybe I’m starting to figure it out after all.