Monday, October 12, 2009

The things I didn't know then... Mel's 74th Show & Tell

Today, while looking through some things, I came across a set of pictures of hubby and I from a vacation in August of 2007. What struck me most about them, was just how young we looked. I am only twenty nine, but feel a world away from the girl in the pictures with her happy smile, tan skin, and blissfully naive outlook on life. There was one picture in particular that really affected me. In the photo, I stand on the beach looking over my shoulder at hubby, smiling, a  hand placed gently across my stomach. I was pregnant in the picture, we had probably conceived a night or two before the photo was snapped, and in my heart, I remember just knowing. This child, the one just below my hand, was our first pregnancy, our first child, and a month later, became our first loss.

Photo Courtesy PBinderPhotography

That's what hurt the most about seeing this photo. The memory of how excited we were at the time to start a family, and the realization of how much the process has taxed us physically, and emotionally. None of it has gone as we had imagined it would, when standing on the beach, looking out into our future.

In the time since the photo was snapped we have been pregnant twice, and still, we have have no living children. Only twenty six months separate me from the girl in the photo, and yet, in looking back at myself, the "me" of two years ago, I felt like a voyeur glimpsing the life of a stranger. Her life was good. Her possibilities seemed endless.

The "me" in the picture, didn't know what it was to bury and grieve a child. She didn't know that a baby could pass every prenatal exam, could be deemed "perfect" at birth, and still go on to be diagnosed terminal just moments later. This "me" didn't even know that infant leukemia existed, or that grieving one child could keep you from conceiving the next. For the "me" in the picture, life was simple, and all was right in the world.

Looking at the image I couldn't help but wonder, did the "me" of that time realize how very blessed she was?

There is an old song, Something to Believe In, that has been playing in my head lately. I was in fifth grade when this song came out, and I probably haven't heard it in at least fifteen years, but for whatever reason a portion of the very last line has come to mind, and it speaks perfectly to this experience. The song says: 
Sometimes I wish to God I didn't know now
The things I didnt know then... and give me something to believe in.
I wish I didn't know. I wish no one ever had to know... what it is to lose a child, and with that child, what it is to lose so much of oneself.

To see what others are showing and telling visit here.


  1. Touche' I wish I didnt know what I know now too. Its a haunting knowledge and I wish I could rip it out of my head. I wish we could go back and warn ourselves.

  2. Two years isn't long at all, but then sometimes, it can feel like a lifetime. Especially when our babies had such tragically short life times. I know exactly what you mean in this post and think it often. We're a similar age and had our losses at a similar time. It is just so hard to imagine how we got here.

  3. Wow, this is so true! When you said "I felt like I was glimpsing into the life of a stranger. Her life was good. Her possibilities seemed endless." that is me all over. I look back, think back and it is two very different people. I don't even recognize that person, really. So sad. I am so so sorry. I wish none of us knew what we know now.


  4. I feel exactly like you do when I lost my first. And after my third loss, I gave up. Then Josh was born. I didn't want any more children after that and Rodney came along.
    I know it's hard to believe but I know something good will come along eventually. I'm still praying hard for you.


  5. I couldn't agree more. I have aged a hundred years since trying to start a family. Eight pregnacies with nine babies later and I have two living girls for my efforts. It's heartbreaking the physical and emotional toll loss takes on us. I will never be the same girl again before loss and not only do I mourn my son, but I mourn the woman I used to be. Hugging you

  6. Yes, it really feels like I was a different person before my losses too. I too wish I didn't know what it was like to lose a child. I wish I never knew that it could be so hard.

    In fact, I just had a really strange experience a couple of hours ago. I fell asleep on the sofa, and when I woke up I was confused, somehow I forgot the last year and a half, and thought that I *was* that person that I used to be. Then it suddenly came back to me, and I realized that I'd gone through two losses, and lost a precious baby so shortly after meeting him. It was such a shock to the system to remember that this did happen. It was surreal, and I have no idea how we all make it through day after day, it's just so hard! I think the person I was before any pregnancies just wouldn't be able to fathom the life I'm living now.


  7. Honey you will become that woman again. I swear to all of you who have had loss... as I have also... 3 children, all late term or, one living 36 hours post birth... you WILL find joy.

    The pain will be tucked away. It will, and when you are READY you will move forward. Don't stop talking about the pain... and if people say you need to move on tell them you aren't ready.

    We are here for you, as shoulders. But the woman who once had the world at her feet... ME... when I was your age... feels that way again. Yes, my life is tinged with sadness... because I've not only lost children but my entire family and support system, and my best friend to ovarian cancer. I survived renal cell cancer at 36 years old... and realize mortality exists.

    I also realize joy. And love. And friendship. And that I was put here for a purpose. God will show you the way out of the pain and into a more full life. It may not be what you expected it to be but the path you are taking is a rough one, filled with boulders of pain.

    You will get through this. You will never forget but you will move through and find tiny slivers of joy.

    hugs to every one of you, but most of all, to "Once a Mother". You are ALWAYS a mother -- don't marginalize yourself by labeling yourself once a mother... you are always and forever, Peyton's mom.

  8. Experience can make time seem like centuries, lifetimes ago. Very well put.

  9. I couldn't have said it any better myself. *hugs*

  10. I cannot imagine how it feels to lose a part of yourself. Hugs. I left you an award over at my blog for your endurance.

  11. I stumbled across your blog a few days ago and have since read every post.

    While our stories are very, very different so much of what you have written here touches me to my core.

    I've read of your loss, your grief, your precious Peyton and tears have run down my face. For you. For me. For your Peyton and my Jayden.

    I am the Nana not the Mom yet I have felt, do feel so many of the same emotions you have. It's been just over 10 months since my grandson passed away and I often wonder if I'll ever get off this roller coaster.

    Hugs and Prayers to you. Keep writing. Your words, I'm sure, touch so many.

    Thank you.

  12. I too look back at pictures and try and remember the happy, carefree times. The days of pure happiness, not knowing what real pain was. The days of thinking that getting pregnant meant everything was going to be alright. We have suffered through infertility and during that time I kept thinking as long as I can get pregnant, everything will be okay...but thats not always true. And i've learned that the hard way. I wish you hadn't learned that the hard way either. *hugs*

  13. I completely get this post... Completely...

  14. I remember that song.

    Yeah, the me of my pictures was a different person. Definitely more naive.

  15. hmmmm, it must certainly be difficult to look back on the person you were, but I am sure that we are all better for our journeys no matter how easy or hard they were.

  16. This is such a beautiful and eloquent post. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  17. Oh sweetie, I have chills going down both my arms right now. This was such a beautiful post and the excitement in that picture shines straight through. And to know what came next is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry.

  18. 26 months is nothing in the scheme of a lifetime yet it can contain a lifetime of pain. What a touching, eloquent, heart wrenching post.

  19. I love this picture of you two. I believe that this joy is still within you. It's just that it's hard to feel, see and know it when times are tough.

    I believe that you will feel this happy again. You're still so young (younger than me) and you will be experiencing life in a richer manner than ever. That's what loss does to one-- it hurts like hell for some time but we come through it appreciating all that we have and all that we are so much more. And we also wind up treating others better, with more kindness, because we know how real pain feels.

    A day at a time...

  20. What a gorgeous picture of you both. I feel this ache too when I find old pictures of us before we knew loss or the ways in which our lives would be challenged. So heartbreaking, but in some ways i think it is reminding myself of who we were and our hope will get us through. With love.