Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Answering Honestly

"Momma?", she asked. "Will we get to bring our new baby home?"

... Mustering up the faith and confidence to tell her to not worry, but obviously not knowing the true answer to that, I said, "oh I believe we will, sweetie. We have been praying for this baby, you have been praying for this baby and we trust that God is going to let us bring him/her home and enjoy him/her forever and ever. No matter what, we will just trust him with this new baby."

I didn't lie. I just can't lie to my daughter. We have been open and clear with her about death and why Bubby isn't here with us, where he is and how we can be with him some day. She has been so sweet to ask questions and process the answers. We have obviously been careful and sensitive to her, but we have not lied. So, when she asked me if we would be taking home our new baby, I could not just out of the blue tell her, "YES of course!". Do I truly know that yet? Of course I don't.

That is part of the journey that I have been on since finding out I was pregnant in March. I don't truly know that this baby will be perfectly healthy, come home, live a great life, etc etc. That's the gamble. I don't even know that for my 4 year old. It was made known to me again last week, though the death of a young man in our church, that at 28 life can be finished on earth. There are no guarantees when it comes to our life, except that it will end.

Pregnancy after child loss has had its ups and downs, just as any pregnancy. I definitely get asked the  questions...
"so, are you considered high risk this time?"
"what are the odds that you could have another with a heart defect again?"

Well, I'm not considered high risk because at this time there is nothing to be at high risk about. I am doing well in my pregnancy. Vitals and all labs have been perfect and so each dr appointment we evaluate and go from there. We will have 1 thing done that a "usual" pregnancy wouldn't and that is an extra fetal echo done on the heart in Ft. Worth, so that we can be sure about this baby's heart/function/ etc. Our gender/organ sonogram is at the end of this month and so we will be checking for 4 chambers during that sono as well as finding out if we are having a boy or girl. Ava is certain she is getting a sister. :) We'll see.

So, how do we approach the hard questions and the hard conversations with our littles when it comes to loss and how do we also keep ourselves from over stressing, worrying and trying to control things we can't? How can we really put our faith and trust into action in our daily life?

Some of the things I have learned about this in light of experiencing the death of a child are this:

-it will be ok. (it really will. Noah dying was terrible and you know what? Our family is ok, we are thriving in our new season, we always miss him, but we are ok. Noah is ok. Life is ok.)

-pray. (I find that if I pray first, instead of over thinking, talking to someone else, or try to figure out every detail, I approach the entire situation more clearly and with more strength) That seems like common sense, but really think about how we react to situations and generally we do not pray first.

-think simply. (Do not try to figure out every detail at one time. What can you take care of or answer immediately? What can you ask for help with? What can be set aside? All of these things can work you through the problem at a simple pace instead of overthinking, stressing and in the end, not even asking God for help)

-seek Godly counsel. (there are so many resources for every hard situation and you can generally find them easily. I suggest your church pastor/pastor's wife, Life Group/Community Group leader, and there are some amazing parenting/loss/grief counselors, groups and support online as well.

I suppose I could have told Ava, "yes we are certainly bringing home this baby and all will be perfect!" I could have told her, "I'm not sure Ava, God sure didn't come through on that with Bubby did he?" I could have easily just avoided the subject at all. I truly believe that if we take the time, every time, to honestly, simply and appropriately discuss hard things with our kids, we will grow our bonds deeper, their faith will plunge into deeper places and create roots of foundational faith that will not shake later in life. We create a trust that they know we aren't joking around, messing with their minds or giving them the easy answer to shut them up.

When Ava has hard questions I want to find the best way to be Biblically true, honest and yet sensitive to her age, feelings and emotions. In the same way, when I come to hard times/questions, I want to approach God with honesty, willingness to listen, seeking the truth in His word, and then acceptance that he is wise, he is good and he knows. We cannot be the models of faith to our children if we are not truly putting our faith into action. We must be mindful of how we respond, not react, to life situations. (trust me, this is a work in progress here for me)

I hope you're encouraged to be honest and gentle with your kids as issues come up. I also hope that no matter what you've gone through or are going through now, you can truly trust the Lord. We can talk about God all day long, but our kids will remember what they SEE us doing WITH our faith.

Noah's mommy (and Ava and #3)

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