Sunday, September 18, 2011

Distinguishing between Laila and other babies

My sister emailed me this week. She had gone to the doctor and found out the sex of her baby--a girl, just what she wanted. She emailed, but didn't call, because she was worried about my reaction, and was sure I would feel resentful, sad, and jealous that she was having a girl when I had just lost mine.

Her words produced no pain at all. I was happy for her, sincerely happy, that she was having a baby (she's wanted one for a long time) and that she was getting to have a baby girl. I appreciated her concern for my feelings because it means she loves me, a fact I already knew because she does a good job of expressing her love for me regularly. I appreciated that in her happiness she was still concerned for me, her older sister. Love like that is so essential in a family and I feel grateful I can experience it.

But I wondered, after her email, why I didn't feel jealousy or pain. I wondered why I don't feel resentment towards the women that have had babies in this ward in the past month--I haven't attended a ward that had this many pregnant women in it since my BYU days. I've also wondered why when I see my friend and her baby girl that was born two days before Laila, that I don't feel sad (there was one time, just a few weeks after Laila's passing that I hung out with my friend and her baby was babbling and smiling and I thought, "this is what Laila would be doing now" but it was a passing thought and nothing more).

As I've considered my feelings, or lack of certain feelings, I think I recognize the reason. I wrote to my sister, "I am not grieving the loss of a baby--I'm grieving the loss of Laila." Laila isn't just some baby that is no longer here. She is MY baby, a baby with a spirit that I knew long before she ever came to our family. I miss having a baby and perhaps one day, if the Lord requires me to have another baby, we will have another. But having another baby will not replace Laila. There will always be a hole in my heart until I see her again. Families are meant to be together forever and until I am with her again, things will never feel quite right.

Other babies are not my Laila. I see it as a blessing that I am able to make that clear distinction in my mind.

Another reason for my ability to not feel jealous is the fact that I have never had a burning desire to have a girl. My love for Laila is deep and I am so thankful that Heavenly Father allowed me to have a little girl, if only for three months, even though I didn't think I particularly cared for one. I've said this before but we never tried for a particular sex--we were just having children. I would be happy with three little girls or three little boys. Because the Lord gave us three little boys, the idea of having a girl was scary to me. I was worried I wouldn't know how to deal with the drama, how to do her hair, how to teach her to NOT be a mean girl, etc.

I'm not sure how to really put this all into words...

The truth is, I guess I'm just not a normal girl. I've never had that burning need for a girl. I know the typical dreams mothers have regarding their little girls--the desire to dress them up, do their hair, go shopping together, sew cute dresses for them, buy them a wedding dress, etc.

But I've never really had those dreams. While she was here, I enjoyed making cute bows for her hair. I loved dressing her--it was so fun to go through her clothes and decide what I'd put her in that day. I loved looking at all her cute little shoes and couldn't wait until she could wear some of them. I enjoyed finding crafts or sewing projects that I could eventually make for her.

But that's kind of where it stopped. The real dreams I have for my children don't require a certain sex to come to fruition. All of my dreams are things that I can witness my boys doing. I dream of missions, temple marriages, kind, well-mannered children. I dream of college and children growing to be good parents. I dream of children that are faithful, serving in the church. Laila is waiting for us and I dream of helping my boys on this mortal journey to make good choices that will allow us to get back to her.

Perhaps if Laila was my first, my feelings would be different. As it is, I have three other children that continue to grow and provide the opportunity for me to still see my dreams come true. And I am grateful that my sister now gets the chance to have her dreams come true as well.


Haven Salon said...

Thanks for this post Adrianne. I appreciate your happiness for me and I love your open honesty. You are such a great mother and sister. I am glad God has blessed you with the ability not to be jealous of others babies because I think that would make this trial so much harder.

Love you!


chelsey said...

Well said, Adrianne. Laila shouldn't be compared to other babies because there's no way to make a fair comparison in the first place!

Jed and Kera said...

We sure love you. That was an "ah ha" moment. I didn't think of it that way. It's true, no other little babies are Laila. You are sweet and wonderful and we love you.

kresta shay said...

I love your way of expressing yourself, you are amazingly wonderful and I love ya.

JC Choate said...

This was something I was curious about actually. Thanks for posting an answer to my non-asked question! I hope we get a chance to visit you guys!!

amynewby said...

Adrianne, you are amazing. You and Mike have strengthened so many people, I don't think you'll ever know the extent of your influence. Thank you for sharing your feelings and your faith.

Michelle said...

Thank you for this post and for sharing how you feel. I'm glad God blessed you with the ability to not be jealous of other Mom's with their new babies, that is something I think would be hard for me, I'm sure I'd feel sadness every time I saw a baby and some jealousy, but this post helped me think about this in a whole new way.