Last week I shared the three day story of Ira's birth in a series.
It felt like a train hit me. I was depleted and empty, exhausted from pouring out intimate, raw details of our birth story for anyone who felt like knowing it.
In case you missed it, in short: we hoped for a home birth and after days of laboring with an asynclitic position ended up with a cesarean. But not just a cesarean: I was knocked out cold and missed the entrance of our second-born son, our only biological birth experience. And not just did I + my husband miss his entrance, but was woken up from surgery by torturous pain, wishing I were dead: not numbed and freshly sewn up 8 layers deep, I had my midsection pushed on every 15 minutes to ensure none of my blood was clotting.
I shared our pain-filled birth story and was shocked at the response.
As I hit publish on each piece of the series, a pretzel of anxiety knotted in my gut for mamas who've grieved birth trauma...and also the loss of their child. Who was I to be sad about our birth of a living child? But here I am.
My inboxes flooded with emails of mamas sharing their birth trauma stories.
It was overwhelming. The entire spectrum of feeling a little known and less alone.
LB and I had to decide I couldn't respond to everyone if I wanted to be even slightly present with my family. If you didn't receive a response please know each email has been or will be read. It is an honor to hear your story, to be trusted with such vulnerable pieces of your story. Each family is prayed over as I read story upon story.
I caught myself angry at some of the stories I read.
Anger and jealousy crashing into one another, wishing I could have had your birth trauma instead of mine.
Wishing you knew the extent of my trauma, the depths of the loss and physical pain I endured.
Wishing to be truly seen: the aches deep in my scar area I still encounter when a happy baby kicks me or when I'm at physical therapy or when I am simply walking for too long.
I wanted to be seen and understood more than I was being seen.
I'm human, ya know?
I didn't want my home birth cesarean trauma clumped into the same category as trauma from a successful home birth. How could they be compared?
But that is exactly the thing. They cannot be compared. I cannot compare my hard with your hard. You cannot compare your hard with mine.
It's not some weird, unhealthy competition about whose suffering is worse.
Both of our hards, all of our traumas, are absolutely hard.
All loss is loss.
Loss is unquantifiable.
Being fully seen or understood by anyone isn't the point.
As I found myself craving to be validated and fully known, I stopped up short and was reminded He is the one who sees and knows. He is the one who validates and meets me in tender spaces.
He is the one who offers grace and space to grieve what demands grieved.
This is the same for all our hards, all our losses, all our aches and pains: all of it is absolutely hard, none of it is quantifiable or comparable.
We like to do that, though. We like to compare and quantify.
When tragedies happen, we ask for specifics so we can gauge the tragedy of it: How many people were killed? How far along were you when you miscarried? How many foster homes has she bounced between? But was it physical abuse or emotional abuse? How long were they married? But I mean was it just some sketchy emails or was there a physical affair? But how many years have they been trying to conceive?
But tragedy isn't to be gauged, tragedy is to be mourned. No matter the loss, trauma, tragedy, or brokenness, it is to be grieved and offered its space.
It is in the invisible and hidden spaces of grief I find Him. It is in the hard and pain-filled moments I experience His tender love for me.
It is when I feel unknown and unseen, not fully understood, by anyone...I run deeper into His arms and embrace.
No one can one-up me and I cannot one-up anyone in our hards. It's all hard and we must stop comparing.
Comparing helps no one; it switches the focus onto ourselves and incites unhelpful pity parties.
Your hard and my hard are both absolutely hard.
I hope to offer spaces of grace for you to walk through your dark valley, whatever that looks like for you in your hard. Because I believe He is with us, I believe He invites us into walking through it, honestly. He can handle our honesty.
He's a good, good Father because He holds Himself close to us even when we aren't looking at Him. He sees all our hard, all our suffering, all our aches. He makes note and counts our tears.
He walks with us when we walk through the hardness of life.
He loves us in the easy, sure; but He loves us intimately in our hard, in our pain, and in our trauma. We only have to soften our hearts to hear His whisper.
As far as I'm concerned, ever loss in life demands its space. I'm not about wallowing in self pity, I'm about pursuing wholeness in our brokenness.
Join my email list and download three amazing freebies + know when my book is released this fall. It's a book about loss, and though I feel pretty unequipped to be the one writing it, I feel I was made to write it. It's about loss and finding gifts in choosing to grieve, uncovering fullness to life.