day 7: me now


My identifying roles look much the same as they did in early 2011, before I became Ava Faith's mom. I was then, and still am, a blessed mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and writer. However, as I think about "me now" versus then, it is obvious to me that each of these roles have been reshaped by this special daughter of mine.

I have been told I am not as light-hearted as I used to be. I would agree with that assessment. My heart is bigger since Ava came into it. It soaks up more of the beauty and also more of the tragedy in the world around me. I think I always was a sympathetic person, but I now believe I am much more empathetic.

In a lot of ways I think I am more fearful. I must work through more anxieties than I remember needing to before. I always thought that the worst-case scenario would not happen to me because I was healthy/careful/educated/ prayerful/prepared. I now have to work through regular anxieties that every tragedy I hear about or think about could most definitely happen to me or those I love. This is something I am working on, as I do not want to leave my children with a legacy of fear, and I don't particularly enjoy living an anxious life.

Ironically, in a lot of ways I am braver than I once was. I have complete confidence that I can live through any reality with God's help. Even though anxiety is more common for me now, I can generally recognize it and overcome it with His truths.

There is also quite a difference between me now and the point of impact -- the silent ultrasound on June 3, 2011. I feel it is important to share a bit more about the way it was so that it is not mistaken for the way it is.

It is easy to see my smile in the picture above and read my pretty words all tied up neatly with a life lesson on top and think that I am a stronger person than you or the next guy who is going through a tough time. Please don't believe that.

I have had ugly, dark moments. All the "why" questions completely consumed me for quite some time. I felt hurt by God, and for a time I had no words to pray. I had prayed every day for this child, even before she was conceived, but God did not save Ava. With no answers, He was the only I could find to blame, and I did not know what to say to Him.

The days leading up to my going into labour, every detail of what I did, every word that the doctors said, and the three days in hospital with Ava played over and over in my head. I could not hold down a conversation with anyone that did not involve my pain. I thought every other subject was so insignificant, and I would be consumed with a flash of anger about having to be subjected to everyone else's day-to-day blah-blah-blahs. I would think to myself, "Really? This is your big problem today?! My baby just died!"  Because of this internal dialogue, I seriously feared losing every one of my friends and turning away all my family because I could not fathom ever being able to talk about anything else again.

I felt physically broken for a long time. I felt my body had failed to protect my child somehow. I hated looking in the mirror as I felt like a living shrine to what I had lost: the surgical scars, the painfully engorged breasts ready to provide for a baby who didn't need me, seven weeks of bleeding, 10 weeks of stabbing pain in my connective tissues, one of the worst cases of abdominal diastasis that my physio had seen and months of insomnia. Adding insult to injury, strangers asked when my baby was due up to seven months after I had Ava. {Please don't assume someone is pregnant unless they tell you so.}

We can now fast-forward 858 days from me on the saddest day of my life to "me now."

"Me now" has many wonderful friends and family members who supported me through the darkest times and still talk and listen about Ava with me today. I feel that I am able to be a good friend in return again; I can extend comfort to others that was once given to my family. Even before I left the hospital I knew and hoped this day would come, but I needed to deal with my own family's wounds before I could reach out to anyone else.

"Me now" still wonders why Ava died, but I catch myself before I get bogged down too deeply in the questions again. Knowing why wouldn't change the outcome, but obsessing over all the questions makes me feel angry and bitter. I don't want to live in anger and bitterness, so instead I work daily to trust God, pray and give thanks. Some days it is harder than others, but overall it is much easier for "me now" than "me a year ago."

"Me now" is physically healthy, thriving and rested as I can be with a teething 10-month-old. I even ran a 5K last month after a long hiatus from running. I cannot underestimate how the physical improvements have positively impacted my emotional health in the past three or four months.

"Me now" is not who I once was. "Me now" is not who I will be next year. "Me now" is trying to do the best I can, as authentically as possible, within each of my identifying roles, including my role as Ava's mom. I grow and change every day, letting go bit by bit of all that does not serve the type of person I want to be and picking up the positives that help me along the way.

{I guess that's my little life-lesson cherry-on-top.}


*   intro   *   day 1   *   day 2   *   day 3   *   day 3.1   *   day 4   *   day 5   *   
*   day 6   *   day 8   *   day 9   *   day 10   *
day 15



2 comments


Anonymous said...

Beautiful Laura...I am so thankful for you. The "you-then" and the "you-now" and especially the "you-to-come".
Tricia

Laura Monchuk said...

Thank you very much for such kind words of encouragement, Tricia!

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