I feel like this journey has been documented by a lot of self-portraits...so I wanted to share another one. Similar to this one I shared last year for Cesarean Awareness Month but a little different too...just bronze prints and and whole lot of memories snuggled on top of my belly and scar.
That's the crazy thing about grief: it is very much a wave you ride. Ups and downs, crashes and swells...and you really don't know what you're going to get each day. But you keep riding it, keep surfing that wave, because no matter what you do, you'll never fully escape it. You'll be riding it the rest of your life...and it may slow to itty bitty baby waves, but it's still there. Because grief never truly vanishes it seems...just shallows and hides.
One thing I've realized is that what happened to our sweet Clark is not going to change. We aren't going to get him back...and that sucks. I think everyday about the 'what ifs' and what 'should have happened'...but you know what? What should have happened DID happen. And sometimes things that happen, like Clark being stillborn, are shitty. Really shitty. And as much as I want them to change, what happened, what 'should have happened,' still did. As I ride this wave of grief, I keep reminding myself of this: I can't change the past. I can certainly be upset about it, want to scream and cry about it and wish it were different, but it's not going to change what did occur.
So what do I do now with that knowledge? I embrace it. The tough, awful, sucky shitty reality. And I use it for good...because even in the worst of worst situations life deals you, like losing a child, there can indeed be some good that comes from it. And one thing that has is this:
With everything that has happened, I have something that not many others have: perspective. I know first-hand what it's like to lose a child...to deliver a stillborn sleeping baby. It's something I wish on no one else to ever have to experience. However, reality hits and the harsh truth is that others do indeed have to experience this grief, and it sucks. But that's where I'm trying to take the good in a crappy situation and use my perspective to help others. To provide a bit of insight into what they're facing and hopefully wrap my words around them and let them know they are not alone. They do not have to go through this alone.
Last week I met with a birth client -- they are due in a few months and much like we did with Clark, received a fatal diagnosis "incompatible with life" for their little girl. A year ago I absolutely would have taken this client on as well...but I would not have had the outlook -- the perspective -- that I have today. We chatted and shared our experiences...how very similar they are. I answered questions for them, questions that a year ago I'd have had no clue how to answer, but no I very much do. And you know what? It was tough to talk about, but also it was super easy. It's like I felt Clark on my shoulders saying, "Hey mom, I'm here. Tell them about me, it'll help. Promise." And man, it did help. It helped them, helped me. It's no secret that sharing about him has been a big therapy for me, but in this situation sharing his story directly with someone else in a similar situation felt good to do. And that connection we had is all because of perspective, because of Clark. And I am grateful for that, for him. Because as much as I hate to say it, Clark isn't coming back...but I'm using what I do have of him here -- his story, my perspective -- to hopefully help others. And I hope when I capture this amazing family's little lady coming into the world I provide them with captures and memories that they'll hold onto forever and ever as their little one lives on inside of them instead of in their arms, just as our Clark does with us.
I miss the hell out of him so much. And I'd love for nothing more than to be getting ready to welcome him into our family in less 7 weeks for all of those newborn snuggles and goodness, but God had other plans. And as much as those plans weren't what mine were, I'm embracing them...learning from them, growing from them, and using my unique perspective that I've been given to hopefully help others faced with similar circumstances.
2019 is all about giving back and I feel like every day my little Clark man sends me another sign in how to do that. Embracing it all this year, the good, the not so good, and making the best out of what we've been given. Because even though our Clark man isn't with us, he's a gift...a big gift. And he's doing big amazing things up there...pushing me to keep the positive, find the best in the worst of situations, and use the fire of his memory to keep shining bright for others.