Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mothering Liam

Today a good friend of mine told me she sometimes wants to ask me how Liam is doing, because she feels like I know. It was the most wonderful thing I've heard in a long time.

This month I've decided to focus more on being Liam's mommy and less on whether I get pregnant again. I have one baby. Even though I miss him a lot, I still have him. Because my friend is right. If you asked me about how Liam is doing, I would have something to say, because I do know. Not 100%, but I know enough.

The harder part has been figuring out what that means for me. What do I do because I'm Liam's mom? I can't hold him, or rock him to sleep, or watch him grow. And that is really frustrating, to say the very least. But in the past couple of weeks I've felt close to him in a new way. Being close to him used to be just crying over him and longing to be with him. And I still cry. Often. But there's a new closeness that comes in moving on. Which seems like the most backwards thing to say ever. Maybe because moving on means something different than what a lot of people think it does. I'm not talking about "getting over it" or even "letting go." And I'm not talking about moving on without Liam. I'm just talking about moving on. Going forward in a good direction, instead of staying in the same place. Doing something with my life instead of letting it end when Liam died.

There was a time for grieving. In fact, there is still a time for grieving, and it's usually every 2 or 3 nights just before I fall asleep, and a few random moments in between, and probably at least 20 minutes on every major holiday. But the time for binge watching Friends is past. The time for refusing any food that isn't in the shape of a milkshake needs to come to an end. And the time for ignoring anyone outside my immediate circle is long gone.

Now is the time for beautiful music and sweet children's stories. For reaching out. For speaking up. For proclaiming that my son lived and I'm glad he did, not just to the people around me, but to myself. I need that reminder more than anyone. Now is the time for pursuing dreams. Now is the time to let the world see how much more beautiful it is because Liam was in it.

I have spent a lot of time over the past week or two researching ways I can get involved in supporting the baby loss community. It has been surprisingly difficult to find the thing that I feel like I need to get involved in. I am constantly asking myself what this community needs that Liam and I could give. And although I haven't found it yet, the more I look, the closer I feel. Closer to who I'm supposed to be as a mother, and amazingly, closer to Liam than I was before.

Which makes sense... I am better because Liam was here. Anything I do because I know him will really just be an extension of him.

Which I know isn't a new idea, really. People talk about legacies all the time. But it just makes so much sense now--I don't know that I could possibly explain it any better than what's already been written by hundreds of authors more worthy than me. But to experience it first hand, it just makes so much more sense.

And maybe there's something different about caring for your child's legacy. I imagine this is probably what it feels like to coach your kid's soccer team, or join the PTA. You're just so excited to be involved in something that matters to him. That's what I dream about anyway.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I want for my future. Or, let's be honest, a lot of time worrying about the future. But last week I tried an exercise that asked me to imagine where I'd want to be in five years. Something realistic, but optimistic, too. And of course I first thought about wanting more children. Healthy living children. But as I thought about it more, I realized that would never be enough. Having more children doesn't fix my need to mother Liam, because Liam can never be replaced. And time isn't going to take that away. I will always need something that ties me to Liam. All of my life.

So, I guess, there are blessings that come out of not being pregnant right now. I have time to just focus on my first baby. To really get to know him, and learn how to mother him. To get really good at understanding him before I try to start learning another baby. Every baby deserves attention. I don't want to rob Liam of that. Or baby #2.

(But if the pregnancy Karma gods are listening, I still really really want baby #2. And I'd totally be okay with that happening any time. Okay, I know that's not really how it works... But you can never be too careful.)

But it really is exciting. That this goal doesn't require any charting temperatures or peeing on sticks or crossing fingers to get started. This is mine, right now. Because Liam is my baby, right now.

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