Over the last several weeks I have been so blessed with so many friends checking in on me and asking me how I have been doing. Thank you. I've needed it. Like many people, I'm sure I too have put on a good face and tried to be stronger than I ever thought I could be. It has been a couple of weeks returning to work with new families for the first time who technically are still strangers who know about our situation.
This week was the first week, I have felt more sad emotions towards our situation and that is OK. I am blaming "THAT QUESTION." I have pondered upon so heavily this week on "that question" because it really struck a cord as I have been trying to be so brave. As many of you know, I work as a pediatric occupational therapist helping and assisting families with their babies and toddlers. BABIES and toddlers! Yes I said it, BABIES and toddlers. I love BABIES and toddlers. Since I have been back to work, I have been asked "the question," so many times. "Isn't it hard working with babies all the time"? "Does it make you sad when you work with babies." Trust me when I say I have had many questions that make me think long and hard after I leave my work visits. Now I don't want people to think I am harping on the questions that have been asked over the last month or so. The truth is, the questions that have been asked have truly started to better help me understand the emotions I am going through at this difficult time in my husbands life and mine.
This week when I was asked "the question" yet again, I realized that the answer is YES. It does make me sad, but it also strengthens my love for my angel baby even more each day. Also, It makes me long for a baby of my own one-day to play with and nurture in this life. I know in my heart that my sweet boy in heaven feels happy to know that I think of him often and love him so much. I also know that he feels happy for me to help families who too are going through a very challenging time in their lives also. That I hope makes him proud. I pray for him to help strengthen me each time I work with a baby or toddler.
You see, I work with a variety of families who little babies and toddlers have disabilities of all kinds. Granted, I work with some that just need a little support and are for the most part typically developing just at a slow rate. However, I do work with some moms and dads whose lives have been changed drastically for the rest of their lives. I'm talking these families have children with SEVERE disabilities. NOT ONLY are these parents sad, frustrated and frightened on "what's to come," but also they worry everyday if their child who is not "perfect" will ever be. (Thankfully because of the Gospel, I know these special spirits are the most perfect) I tell you what, being a parent with a child with disabilities is HARD WORK. I don't personally know this, but I work with families daily who struggle and know it does not look easy. So to those families out there who do have a child with a disability, just know I pray for your strength and courage daily. As I too now work through similar emotions you face, just in a little bit different way.
So.... "THAT QUESTION." I decided that instead of feeling sad or upset when "that question" or other questions that seem unfair are asked, I would try & reflect on how I was feeling emotionally about the loss of our sweet Bode. Not how I felt emotionally about "the question." I also decided, that people say things and sometimes they come out wrong. Or it might just be wrong timing. I believe people really just want to say something to help us feel thought about or cared for. We are all guilty of sometimes saying the wrong things at the wrong times.
So thank you to the persons who have asked me that question. It does make me sad and it's OK. I wouldn't in a million years switch my profession or take more time off to grieve. Because the truth is, my baby would want me to HELP others. He would want me to make their lives better by helping them with their sick and disabled child. Giving them strategies and suggestions to help their babies/toddlers thrive and grow &/or live in a more functional way. He would want me to assist and guide parenting strategies to those I work with to help them have more fun with their child and be less stressed. He would want me to listen to these families concerns and cry with them because LIFE IS HARD. At the end of the day he would want me to help them because in turn, it will really HELP ME. After taking the time to ponder, I do not believe that these questions are unfair.
Even though that for us or any family who experiences the loss of a pregnancy, baby/child or the opportunity to have a baby or child; it really does seem unfair.
Yes, I will always be sad knowing I don't get to see what Bode would be like growing up at this time in our lives. I will always wonder when he would start crawling or if he would have been a late or early walker. Or if he would be a picky eater. I will always miss those TERRIBLE twos and wonder what kind of mischief he could have gotten into before he was three. I will always, always, always wonder. THAT is why I feel sad when I work with babies and toddlers. Not simply because I work with babies and toddlers. I LOVE BABIES AND TODDLERS. I know in my heart this experience even though is so difficult sometimes to bare, having the opportunities to work with and help babies and toddlers daily is a blessing. I also know that because of my experience I can and will grow to become even more empathetic and compassionate for others around me. That is and what ALWAYS will be what this life is all about. Learning to be more like our loving Savior Jesus Christ.
I truly am grateful for Him and His atonement. I know that LIFE IS UNFAIR sometimes, but know that we have a Savior who died for each of us and felt every emotion and sadness we have or will every feel in our mortal lives. Because of Him, we can feel comforted and loved during our hard and difficult times in our lives. I will always try and remember this when I work with BABIES and TODDLERS. I already know right now that I will often feel sad because I will always miss Bode . And that’s OK.
ps. Sorry if my grammar is incorrect. I TRY and that's all that matters right?