I never fancied myself a prospector, but I came to realize I’ve become one. It seems I’m forever in a state of excavation; digging deep to reveal more and more pieces of gold within my story.
At first glance it’s hard to believe that there could be gold located within the stories that make up my life; especially my parenthood.
My parenthood journey is… grueling. To say the least.
It is wrought with grief, turmoil, raw and excruciating pain, trauma, broken systems, and more. My parenthood has been burned to the ground, leaving me to sift through the ashes to mine for what’s left behind. My parenthood has been unacknowledged, questioned, dismissed, invalidated and rejected. My parenthood has caused me to always be on the defense, always at the ready to provide proof of its existence.
My story is heartbreaking.
My story is exhausting.
My story is full of brokenness.
My story is full of mining for lessons, for hope, for blessings.
My story is full of not always finding them.
My story is full of mining for gold amongst the rubble.
My story is full of mending. A LOT of mending.
My story is full of hanging onto hope with my fingernails.
My story is finding beauty out of the ashes.
My story is redemptive.
My story is hopeful.
My story is in progress. Even still.
What is your story full of? I imagine it’s full of a lot of these things too; maybe more.
I often wonder about you, my dear Grief Warriors; what makes up your stories and your parenthood?
Are you like me and you’ve found yourself as your fiercest (and sometimes only!) advocate? Has someone told you that you lost your babies too early, so they aren’t in heaven or worthy of being acknowledged or remembered? Has someone told you you’re not allowed to call yourself a parent because your baby died inside your body rather than after birth? Has someone told you that their loss is more significant than yours because their baby was born alive and died afterward? Or perhaps they were further along gestationally then you were? Have you tried fertility interventions and they’ve failed causing you more grief? Have you had your loss compared to the loss of a pet, grandparent, spouse, sibling, or job? Have you had your loss ignored by your family or close friends? Have hurtful words seared your already fragile heart by the people you needed most?
Have you looked at your spouse and genuinely wondered if your partnership can survive? Have you thought you can’t possibly go on and felt hopeless? Have you thought of suicide? Has your partner blamed you for the loss of the baby? Have you blamed yourself for the loss of the baby? Have you been asked where their “real parent” is or if you’re worried they’ll turn out like their “real mom or dad”? Have you worried if they’ll turn out like their bio mom or dad? Has someone told you to move on and maybe kids aren’t in the picture for you for a reason? Or there had to have been a reason your baby died and it’s probably better this way? Have you been told “I told you so” about one of your kids, as if you shouldn’t have adopted them? Have you had to make the excruciating decision to induce a pregnancy, knowing your babe wouldn’t survive? Have you had to terminate a placement of a foster kiddo you thought you’d adopt because it was the best thing for them as well as your family? Have you felt like a failure? That your body failed, your resolve failed, your marriage failed, your family failed you?
And it’s all shitty.
Every. Single. Thing. Above. Is. Shitty.
And I’m so very sorry if you’ve experienced any of it too.
Mining for the gold in your story doesn’t mean everything is perfect and shiny, tied up with a picture-perfect bow at the end. It doesn’t mean that one day everything will magically be fine, and the grief you’re experiencing will disappear. For me, the gold in my story represents strength, not shiny and happy endings. It represents every time I got my ass kicked in the arena, got crushed by never-ending waves of unimaginable pain and GOT BACK UP. It wasn’t pretty. I didn’t get up gracefully like a prize fighter eager to get back into the fight.
Not even close.
Standing back up meant clawing my way back from the brink of destruction time and time again. The slivers of gold that I find through mining my story make me proud and remind me of what I’m capable of surviving. Never did I ever believe I could make it through the loss of my babies, the adoption of two kids out of foster care, the termination of an adoptive placement and a terrifying subsequent pregnancy that produced a living baby.
It was all hard.
Every single bit of it.
It’s still hard.
The beauty of the gold doesn’t erase the hard. It’s a both/and, as my dad always says.
It’s pain and joy.
It’s tears and laughter.
It’s the tension between both heaven and earth.
It’s gold and rubble.
There is gold in every part of your story, Grief Warriors. Because even if you can’t see it, and all you see is the rubble and the shards of your heart that you can’t imagine how you’ll put back together, I see it. And if you’ll let me, I’ll lend you my courage and perspective for you to begin to mine for the gold within your story.
There is gold there, Dear Ones.
I see it in your beautiful scars.
Have you found it too?