On why your birth did not heal me: a birthday love letter to my son

Baby boy,

A year ago today, I walked into a hospital, knowing that in hours you would be in my arms.

Just eleven months prior, I had walked out of a hospital, without your sister in my arms.

There are so few words to describe how I feel today. But you deserve my very best try.

Those two pink lines three months after your sister went to heaven were certainly a surprise. Of course there were moments your daddy and I talked about the possibility, about when we might be ready enough…brave enough…healed enough.

We prayed about it, spoke to doctors about it, expressed our thoughts to a therapist about it.

People had opinions. They always do.

But we gave it to God, expecting He’d tell us when we were ready.

Because people have opinions, but God has a plan.

The truth is, He was never going to tell us our hearts were ready.

Instead, He told us when He was ready.

And He told us the day I saw those two pink lines.

In that moment, I wondered what God was thinking. What was this plan? Hadn’t I just come to the conclusion I wasn’t ready and asked Him to tell me when I was?

And then September 13th, 2017 arrived.

You arrived.

And everything made sense.

So many people asked during my pregnancy if looking forward to your arrival helped the pain of losing Sylvia.

With loving and curious hearts, they wondered if the promise of you was beginning to heal the loss of her.

I understand why they asked.

But if I’m honest?

The answer is no.

Being pregnant with you did not lessen the ache of being without her.

Feeling your kicks did not negate the sting of remembering when her little feet were in my belly.

Anticipating your arrival did not give me peace about her departure.

You do not make me feel better about losing Sylvia.

You are no replacement for her.

Because you, my son, are YOU.

You were fearfully and wonderfully made.

You will not take her place because you have your own place to take.

You will not fill her shoes because your feet are different and need shoes of their own.

You were made for a purpose and that purpose is not to heal the pain into which you were born.

Your purpose is not to make it better.

Your purpose is not to fix me.

There will never be anything or anyone this side of heaven able to ease the pain of losing Sylvia. If there was, what an unfair pressure that would put on everyone in my life. On Daddy. On Lillian. On you.

You are not responsible for my healing anymore than you’re responsible for my grief.

I am wholly, desperately, gratefully, genuinely in absolute love with you, and not because you made my loss easier, but because you’ve made my life richer.

I am thankful to our merciful Father that He has given me the gift of you.

No, you do not take my pain away.

But, baby boy, you give me joy.

You can’t heal my wounds, but you strengthen my steps.

You can’t dry my tears, but you make me laugh.

You can’t erase the haunting of the past, but you make me excited for the future.

I will always be Sylvia’s mom. And that part of me will always mourn.

But as much as I am wholly hers, I am wholly yours.

Your place in my heart belongs to you and you alone.

On this day, I grieve her.

On this day, I celebrate you.

I love you, Rowan. I’m so thankful for you. My little man cub, my Bubba, my son.

Happy Birthday