I recently found a company, Bears 4 Absent Babies, who make personalized bears for Mamas who have lost their babies. My Sam Bear arrived about two weeks ago. He is six pounds, one ounce and 19.5 inches long; just as my sweet Sam was. I find myself cuddling him a little extra this morning.
Last night at grief counseling Ted and I were discussing the differences we’ve began to notice in our grief. One of the first things our Doctor and the labor and delivery nurses told us was that we will grieve differently. Jointly and equally, just differently. And the same holds true for our family members and friends. We’re all alike but different. I feel different as Sam’s Mama.
Our counselor was insightful enough to share the differences between little boys and little girls. Girls grow up with dolls. From the very beginning we dream about holding babies, taking care of them, changing them, loving them, bathing them. I remember as a little girl I was particularly intrigued with my American Girl Doll, Kirsten. (I looked her up and you can now find her on their website under the Archives page, ha!)
At one point my Mama made Kirsten a bassinet and attached her name in block letters to it. It was made perfectly for her so she could sleep beside me. My Mammaw made her clothes so she was unique and I could change her. I would get together with my girlfriends and we would make up stories about our American Girl Dolls. We nurtured them. If we weren’t nurturing dolls, we were nurturing our pets. If we weren’t nurturing our pets, we offered the same protectiveness over our brothers and Dads. We offered them love. The same love I have to offer Sam. The same love I grew up with and dreamed that one day I would pour into my own baby.
As more babies are born I find myself feeling envious, even jealous. Two characteristics I am not proud to admit. I am envious of their opportunity as a family to share life together, but thankful that they can. I am jealous of their healthy babies, but celebrate that they are. This morning I laid in bed crying and told Ted I just really had no idea how sad I could be, until now.
I woke up with all these things on my heart. A silent, still voice brought my attention to Jeremiah 29. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” A Father’s word to his children. A Mother’s offering to hers. I know the plans I had for Sam. Plans of good, not disaster. To offer him a future and to grow in hope. How desperately my heart desires to be able to do all those things.
In reverse, how hard it is to hear those are God’s plans for his children. They can be hard to grasp when you’re looking at it submerged in grief. Trusting that God still has a plan for Ted and I, that he has a plan for Sam, can be so difficult; but I still try. I am still searing for His hope and placing confidence, even if small, in my future. A future that God has planned for me, for Ted and for Sam.