Tuesday, May 24, 2016

7 Things I Wish I'd Known

“Your son will not be able to survive outside the womb.”  Those are words that I will never forget.  The day my entire life changed.  Knowing your child can’t survive, and each day could be your child’s last.  Your dreams and wishes turn from watching them grow up to just wanting to see them breath, to cry just one time.
What I wouldn’t have given for a list of what to do. I looked, but people don’t tell you what to do after a fetal fatal diagnoses.  They don’t give advice, most people don’t even know what to say.  These are the top 7 things I wish someone would have told me soon after my son’s fetal fatal diagnosis.

  1. No matter what choice you make, it is the right one.  That feeling of not knowing what to do, and how to handle things, that’s okay.  Make your choices out of love, as a mother or father.  You know it’s the best choice because you are doing it out love.  Let your love guide you, and then all your choices will be correct.

  1. Guard your relationships (marriage, significant other).  Grief is hard, and people grieve very differently (see below) that is not uncommon to rip relationships apart.  Remember to take care of you and your spouse.  Lean on each other, and understand that the anger is not towards him/her but towards your new reality.  A reality that no parent wants to find themselves in.

  1. We all grieve differently.  Way, way differently.  While I wanted to barely drag myself out of bed (and some days it was my 2 year old making me get out of bed), my husband wanted to go back to work as soon as possible.  While I cried over everything, he would just say, it’s going to be okay.  It didn’t mean he loved our son any less, just simply that he grieved differently.  It was very hard some days to deal with the way he grieved.  I wanted to yell often at him, why do you not love our son as much as me?  Why do you not care?  I knew though, I knew that he did care.   He did love him just as much as me.  He just grieves differently.  He grieves with distractions, and I grieve with giving myself alone time and being able to talk it out.

  1. Make as many memories as you can, while your child is still here.  Just because you won’t be able to take your child to the zoo when they come into this world, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t now. Make those memories now.  I took my son to as many basketball games as possible.  He loved them, he would jump up and down and go nuts every time.  That is a memory that I can always cherish.

  1. Take as many pictures as possible!  I know a lot of women hate to have their picture taken, especially when they are pregnant.  Take a moment and remove how you feel about your body and remember the love you are carrying.  The sweet child you are carrying.  You can even just capture your belly at places you would like to make memories with your child.  

  1. It is okay to be scared.  It is totally normal to be scared of letting the ones closes to you out of your sight.  Those worse case scenarios going through your mind.  That is your fear and reality trying to sort out this new reality your life has entered.

  1. You are NEVER actually ready. There were days that I thought I was ready, I was doing everything I could to prepare myself for the day my son would come into this world.  I knew he may come into this world alive with very short time or already passed.  I did everything I could to prepare for that day, but I wasn’t ready.  I couldn’t have prepared for that day, and that is okay.  I was not prepared to say good bye.  I was not prepared to walk out empty handed, and that was okay.  I just took it moment by moment.
When your reality becomes something that you were not prepared for, it becomes hard for you to function.  The basic functions of life become priority, and your brain tells you the rest isn’t important.  I wish I could remember every second I had with him, but the memories come in waves.  Sometimes the sadder memories engulf me, but as time passes the beautiful memories surface more often to bring joy to my heart. No amount of preparation would have gotten me ready for the day I had to say goodbye, but with a little guidance and a lot of support, that painfully joyful day was manageable.
~ ~ ~

Dana Thompson is the founder and photographer for The Angelfish Project, a blogger at To Carry Love and a middle school teacher. Dana is the wife to Roderick and they have three children: Elexander, who is four, Tristan, who has been with the Lord since February 14, 2014, and Adalynn, their 1year old. Dana loves playing with her children, watching Roderick coach football games, photography, teaching, and cooking.


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