This conversation made me think though. How much of this change is because I'm a mom, and how much more have I changed in the last 3 1/2 months. I would consider the "old" Jen the person who existed before August 10, 2010. That day changed me more than the day I gave birth to Emmerson changed me. I had wanted to be a mom for so long that I was ready to embrace motherhood. I was in no way prepared to embrace grieving.
At the stillbirth support group meeting last week, we talked about the amount of time we knew our babies had passed away until the time we held them. I was officially told that Harper had died at 4 a.m and by quarter to 9 I was holding her. Less than five hours. Twenty-four hours after I had heard her heartbeat and felt her kick. And by 6 p.m. the same day I gave birth I was sitting in the same chair in my living room I had sat in at 9 p.m. the night before when I was pushing on my stomach trying to get Harper to move. It all happened so fast. That is just such a short amount of time to be prepared for such a loss. But I am convinced that no amount of time would have been enough.
One of my biggest regrets is how long it took me to bond with her after she was born. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what she would look like, or even if I wanted to hold her. Of course after the final push I wanted her in my arms, and then I didn't want to let her go, but it was so hard for me to let myself love her. As the day wore on and I spent more time holding her, the shock wore off a bit and I let my guard down. I was able to cuddle her and kiss her and tell her how much I loved her. But then it was time to let her go. The small amount of time I had with her was so precious and I feel I wasted so much of it in shock. That is the only reason I wish I would have had more time to prepare, but of course, how can I really know I would have been anymore prepared.
That day has forever changed me. My heart is broken, a little piece missing forever. But I think I can honestly say that August 10th changed me for the better. I've learned so much about loving and letting go. I feel more peace than I have ever felt. I feel more purpose in my life and a meaning I would have never had without Harper. My relationship with Christ has reached a new level. I'm learning to trust and forgive. This life is so short, just like my hours with Harper, and I don't want to have any regrets. Grieving is hard and is certainly not a path I would have chosen, but God is faithful and he is developing me into the woman he wants me to be.
I suppose that's how life is...things happen in our lives that shape us into who we are. Becoming a mom changed me. Losing Harper changed me. And knowing Christ has changed me...I am certainly not the "old" Jen anymore.
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. Beautiful people do not just happen. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross