Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Last Christmas

Last year (I think) we got a new Christmas album. It was Sixpence None the Richer's "The Dawn of Grace". We listened to it several times over the Christmas season and I remember hearing this song, but I don't think I actually listened to the lyrics. I put some Christmas music on the other day and the words of this song just jumped out at me. It is now MY song for this Christmas. It just speaks so clearly of what I am feeling and thinking right now. I love it.

Ok, I realize anyone reading this knows full well that we are expecting a new baby.  Just in case any strangers wander by my blog I'll throw this out there. A fourth little Neumann should be joining us on or around May 28, 2011. We are so excited.

Back to my song. =) If you want to hear it, here is a link:

I start crying just reading the lyrics and I don't think it's just the hormones. Although, I don't take them completely out of the picture either. =)
The Last Christmas

I feel your heart beating
Inside my own skin
And I think of Mary
In Bethlehem
That night in a stable
Our Saviour was born
Yes, we have so much
To be thankful for
On the last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

We're choosing the colors
Preparing your room
For one day; Midsummer
The advent of you
Together we wait for
A heavenly gift
Is winter a wonder?
Enchanted that this is

The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

See the stars shining from above
Hear the seraphm singing
Praise to the Giver of Life and Love
Maker of Beautiful things..

I feel you heart beating
Inside my own skin
And I think of Mary
In Bethlehem
When darkness was shattered
The dawn of God's grace
And the journey'd begun
To the first Easter day
On the this Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The very last Christmas
The last Christmas (x 3)
Without you

Epic Fail

Well. So much for my New Year's resolution. Let's see... a grand total of two blog posts for 2010 and the year only has 28 more days. That has got to be a new low.

Looking back I know why I wasn't writing. So, so many reasons, and none of them good enough. This year has not been one of my best. I am looking forward to 2010 ending and a whole new year beginning with fresh hopes, dreams, and plans. This past year has held a lot of sorrow for me and in my struggle to deal with it, writing was the last thing I felt I had the energy for. Now, in hindsight, I do regret that fact. I regret not being candid and writing when the pain was fresh. I regret not documenting this year in my children's lives. They are always changing and when I read the old blog posts about the kids I always have a smile on my face. I'm sad that they're aren't any for 2010. There are barely any from 2009! Especially for Micah. He went from a cute little blob to an talking, walking, whirlwind of a boy and there is no reflection of that in my blog. So, so sad.

Alright, wallowing in regrets will get me nowhere. Once again I will resolve to do better, and with that resolve firm in hand I look to the future and it is bright and full of writing. I'll kick it off with taking a picture a day for the month of December and committing to blogging at least once a month in 2011. That's a reasonable goal. There you have it, keep me accountable!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Grief is a strange thing. It is hard to wrap your mind and heart around because it is one of those things that changes all the time. Despite the psychologists attempts to fit it into a neat box, to some extent it defies explanation. There are so many factors that influence it; the person grieving, what they're grieving, their belief system, past experiences, and on and on.Some things that one person finds really comforting, another would find completely off-putting and maybe even hurtful. Rituals that one person does to give honor and meaning to the person being mourned, the next person might find odd or even distasteful.

Then there is the language surrounding grief. Let's look at it from the point of losing a baby, since that is what I'm most familiar with. If you want to get technical, the medical field refers to the loss of any baby prior to 20-22 weeks gestation as "abortion" then further sub-categorizes it as "spontaneous" or "induced". I remember when I learned that in nursing school it really bothered me. The word abortion carries with it so many opinions and emotions and is so entwined with the word choice. Anyone who has spontaneously lost a child early in a pregnancy knows there was no choice involved in the matter. Then there is the more common term "miscarriage." This is much more commonly used, I don't know of any doctor or nurse that would refer to the loss of a baby as a "spontaneous abortion" when talking to a patient. Even then, the word has connotations. Some people don't like the word miscarriage because they feel it lessens the importance of their baby's death. For them it carries the connotation that they just lost a fetus, not a baby. Even saying, "I lost my baby" doesn't seem quite right. It holds an implication that if I had been more careful, more watchful, maybe that baby wouldn't have gotten lost. You can't just say, "my baby died" unless you want to get a lot of interesting reactions from people. It is a hard enough subject to talk about and not knowing if the words you are using are the "right" ones makes it even harder.

So, where am I going with this? I'm not 100% sure. I guess I just wanted to acknowledge that it's complicated. I feel for people that are grieving. I'm grieving myself and I know first hand that interacting with others is hard. Half the time I don't even know what to think about myself and how to explain or understand what I'm feeling, but I want so badly for someone to be able to relate and understand what I don't understand myself. I want a friend who is ok to just sit with me and cry. I wish I felt like it mattered to someone else, anyone else, as much as it matters to me.

I feel for people who aren't grieving and who are trying to figure out what to say and do. Don't give up. Be there, but maybe just don't say much. Let your actions do the talking. They do anyway, so you may as well make sure they are saying what you mean. There are no perfect words. Don't try to find them. Just be there. Check on the person. Let them know you love them. If they have kids, maybe take the kids for a few hours so that person can have space to cry and be sad without having to worry they are traumatizing their children.

In case anyone is looking for resources, here's a short book review. When I had my two miscarriages back to back late last year and early this year, I wanted something to read. I'm a reader. Most of the books and information out there seemed to be geared and focused on stillbirth, or losing a child shortly after birth. This sucks, because it made me feel like I didn't deserve to be as sad as those other moms. Anyway, the two books that have meant the most to me in this process are Tear Soup and About What Was Lost: Twenty Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope.

To be honest, I bought Tear Soup for a friend. I thought it was a children's book and might be a good resource to help her talk about grief with her daughter. Then I read it and I kept it for myself. I like how it talks about some of the things that are mentioned above. How everyone has to grieve in their own way and no one can do it for them. How friends will say hurtful things and how to feel about that and deal with it. It made me feel more normal and ok with my grieving process, especially when I felt that so many things and people around me were telling me my grieving process wasn't right. I think it is a great resource for people who are grieving, but also people who want to reach out to people in grief.

I bought About What Was Lost kinda on a whim. It had the word miscarriage in the title and it was stories, not a professional giving advice. I really just wanted to know on some level that I wasn't alone and I didn't feel that reading a book about how to cope was what I was looking for. Plus I wanted something that would be easy to read and not take a lot of concentration. I found it hard to concentrate on much of anything for quite awhile after my miscarriages. I really appreciated this book. It was comforting to me to read other people expressing their emotions and thoughts. Some I completely related to, others not at all. That really helped me process that this is a very personal journey.

I have also heard rave reviews about Empty Cradle, Broken Heart. I even own a copy that a friend gave to me. I just haven't been able to bring myself to read it yet. I hope to some day.

If you're grieving or have been comforting someone who has, what helped you? What resources did you find the most helpful?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Truth

**I wrote this, obviously, the day after my second miscarriage. I didn't post it. I felt too vulnerable and afraid. My heart was raw. Now, two years later, I think my feelings have worth enough to be out there. I didn't then. I'm going to post it to acknowledge those feelings. Who knows, maybe it will help someone else who is going through grief.  I'm going to post it on the day it was actually written, to keep things organized, even though I'm hitting publish on 1/26/12.
I do appreciate the friends who reached out to me, even if you said the wrong things. Most of the time I was able to look past your words and see your heart. I know how hard it is to reach out and find words to say to someone who is grieving. I'm sorry I didn't feel I could trust you with my grief and kept a lot locked inside, only to burst out at inappropriate times and in inappropriate ways. Thank you to the friends who stuck with me even when I was mean and withdrawn and confused as I worked through all my emotions. I treasure you.


I so badly want to write about this. It sucks that I feel like I can't. It's my blog and I should be able to be honest about my feelings if and when I want to. I don't think anyone really reads this thing anyway, but...there's a chance that they do. The possibility is there. They might read and just never say anything. If they do and they read this they might get their feelings hurt that I didn't tell them what was going on. That they didn't know I was pregnant. For the fifth time. I don't know how to explain that i was afraid to hope. I felt to vulnerable to share my fledgling joy. That the possibility of this day coming was why. I don't have answers to all the inevitable questions, and the potential "why, why, why?" Aggh!
Basically, I feel like grief is a luxury I can't afford. I wish I could, but I just can't. I have three kids to take care of. They don't go away. Everyone wants a piece of me, even the well meaning ones. I don't want to feel like I have to explain myself. I don't want to feel like somehow, since I already have three kids this shouldn't be a big deal. That's what you're thinking aren't you? I can hear you!

"What do you have to be sad about? It's not like you aren't a Mother already. You probably couldn't handle another kid anyway. I mean, common, just admit it, you didn't really want another baby, did you? You were just doing it for Christoph. Maybe God's trying to tell you three is enough. You're always saying how tired and stressed out you are and how you can't handle three kids. How can you think you can manage four?"

I'm not trying to be a Drama Queen. I have had people say or imply all of these to me in the last few months since my first miscarriage in Oct. I have had some of them repeated in the few interactions I've had since yesterday.

Well, I am sad. I want to go away and sit and cry until I can't cry anymore. Too bad for me life doesn't stop just because you have two miscarriages back to back. You still have to take care of your kids, get them to school, feed them, wash their clothes, brush their hair. Your husband has to go to work, at both jobs. He has to go on a retreat and travel out of town for work. You have to go out to dinner and celebrate you Mother-in-laws birthday. You have to smile and go to church.  You have to go to work and take care of other people's babies! You have to plan birthday parties. You have to be present. And eventually you have to see the friends that know, and meet their sympathetic looks and accept their loving hugs, and answer the always present question of "How are you doing?" I don't care how I'm doing! I don't know "how" I'm doing! If I had a choice I wouldn't be "doing" at all. I would be not "doing" so, it doesn't really matter now does it? I am forcing myself to "do" what has to be done and that is the only "doing" there is for me right now.

I did want another baby. I wanted the first expected one that I lost in October and I wanted the surprise one that I lost yesterday. I will keep wanting them as long as I live.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


YIP-Day 5

Well this is a few days after the fact, but it's been hectic around here. Thursday was my Mom's birthday. It was nice to be able to celebrate her birthday before she and my Dad returned to Ecuador. They were here for three weeks, but it went by in a blink. My Mom is great. I will be the first to admit that I've always been a Daddy's girl. Growing up I think I often took my Mom for granted. I loved her, but I don't know how much I really thought about how great she is. The older I get, combined with having become a mother myself, the more I realize how amazing she is. She is very creative and delights in making all sorts of things for her family. She is a wonderful cook. She is kind and loving and an amazing listener. She is wise and a better nurse then I'll ever be. Mom, I am so incredible blessed to have been raised by you and to have you for my Mother. I hope I can have the kind of relationship we have with my own daughters. I love you!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back To Life

Hi everyone! Did you think I disappeared off the face of the earth? No? Well, can't say I'm surprised. I know the only people who actually read this blog are a few close friends and family. You're all my friends on Facebook, so you've been kept fairly up to date. :)

I'm not real big on New Year's resolutions, but I would like to blog more consistently this year, even if only for myself. Facebook updates are quick and easy, but not quite the same as blogging, you know?

So, how to keep myself being more consistent? I've noticed that for me, photography and blogging seem to fall in the same category. Creative outlets that help preserve memories. I always seem to get distracted by life and forget to pick up my camera. (Take my parents recent visit, almost no photographic evidence.) I also seem to get stumped as to where to start when I sit down to blog. I've noticed that having a photo seems to inspire my blogging. So, I've decided to follow in my friend Amy's footsteps and take up a Year in Pictures Project. I really hope I can stick it out, and I hope my pictures will be fun, beautiful and full of memories. hopefully I can grow as a photographer and a blogger!
I know I didn't start right at the beginning of the year, but hey, we're only three days in, right? Here is my picture for today. Christmas break is over and today was all about squeezing in every last bit of relaxing we could before school starts again tomorrow. I am so not ready for that!
YIP-Day 1