Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel


2 Comments

Dreams

I had a dream that I had them both.

Caroline was alive in my arms and baby girl was thriving in my belly.  Caroline was still herself, the feisty personality I remember, but she had grown.  She had her physical challenges, but had made some progress.  She could more clearly indicate what she needed and had learned to breastfeed.  She was bigger but could still fit comfortably in a wrap carrier.  She was my daughter and she was so perfect.

We went together to my OB appointment.  My OB was shocked to see Caroline but was amazed.

I woke up before I could lose her again.  I reveled in the feeling of having Caroline with me being normal and real before the tears came.

Oh Caroline, how I miss you.  Thank you for visiting your mother in her dreams.  I know you are always with us.


Leave a comment

Difficult Parenting

There are some aspects of parenting that are difficult and unique to teenage daughters.  

My husband and I have been binge-watching Friday Night Lights and these parenting situations come up often on the show.  In one scene, the father walks in on his 17-year-old daughter in bed with her boyfriend.  The parents then have to talk to her about her feelings for this boy, that she is under no obligation to continue to have sex if she no longer wants to, and the use of protection.  It is a difficult conversation for both parties but one they had to have.  On the show they do a good job of showing the struggles of parenting a daughter at that age.

After we watched the episode, my husband said that he’s sad that he won’t have these conversations with Caroline, but also glad because they are so difficult.

I feel so sad that he may never parent a teenage girl.

Men in his family generally have boys.  He is one of 3 boys, and his brothers have 3 boys between their two families.  Caroline was the first girl in the family in a long time.  What if we don’t have any more girls?  

Infant loss is so much more than that.  We may have lost our opportunity to shape a young woman, and that is a loss too.


6 Comments

Year 2

I have entered year 2 post-loss.  I thought it would get easier but it hasn’t.  In fact, lately grief has taken a firm hold.

I haven’t been sleeping well and the past few days I’ve been very low.  Struggle-to-get-out-of-bed, achy-heart, nothing-is-very-funny kind of low.  It’s scary to have come this far and still have days where the pain is so fresh.  Last evening I felt like I couldn’t breathe and needed to get out of the house.  I went shopping and bought myself a pair of jeans.  I was down another size, which normally would have been very exciting for me, but it still wasn’t enough to make me smile.

My husband and I have been so bored in the evenings lately.  I know that if Caroline were still with us, our evenings would be anything but boring.  That hurts, the way our plans were ripped away from us.  We were so ready to start filling our house with children.  When Caroline was with us, our home was so busy and noisy and perfect.  I miss that.

I miss Caroline so deeply.  She is still, and possibly always will be, at the forefront of every thought.  I feel her presence in the sunshine that she loved.  I ache to hold her in my arms. I yearn to see her play and grow up. I love her with every ounce of my being.

I have heard that year 2 can be harder than year 1, since the permanence of it all starts to really sink in.  It is still too early to judge but I can see how that could be true.  For those of you further along this journey, has this been the case for you?


3 Comments

Why I’m Celebrating Mother’s Day

Last year, by no less than a miracle, I was able to spend Mother’s Day with my daughter.  That makes this Mother’s Day my first one without her.

I have been bombarded by articles in these days leading up to Mother’s Day, seeing titles similar to “Surviving Mother’s Day as a Bereaved Mother” and “Ten Ways to Support a Loss Mom on Mother’s Day.”  It has made me wonder if I’m crazy.

Am I insane to be excited about Mother’s Day?

Perhaps it’s a lack of experience with this holiday after Caroline’s death, but I am excited for the day that celebrates my motherhood.  

I want to celebrate that my body kept her safe.  I want to celebrate the beauty of her birth.  I want to celebrate that I fed her.  I want to celebrate the diapers I changed for her.  I want to celebrate the cuddles and the love.

The love that didn’t end with her death.

Caroline has completely changed my life.  Everything I do is an attempt to make her proud of her mom down on earth.  I am her mother every day, nurturing her memory and loving her.

That is something that should be celebrated.

I am an amazing mom.

Is it beyond hard to face life without her in my arms every day? Absolutely, but I am proud of the mother that I have become.

I hope Caroline is proud of me too.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms with empty arms.  You have just as much of a right to celebrate your motherhood this weekend as the moms with their arms full.  Arguably, more of a right.  Stand proud and remember that you face the impossible every single day, and your motherhood always shines.  Your love for your children is an unstoppable positive force unleashed on the world.  You and your motherly love deserve to be celebrated.


Leave a comment

Memory Monday

Caroline had the sweetest personality.  She complained very little, even when her body was failing her.  She was happy to be passed from person to person, making it easy for everyone to hold her who had any desire.  When someone came to visit, holding her was usually a strong desire.  I am happy that everyone who wanted to hold Caroline got the chance to bond with our special, beautiful baby girl.

One thing that Caroline did not like was having her clothing adjusted.  Diaper changes were not her favorite – she did not like being exposed as some babies do.  Most of all, she hated the touch of a cold stethoscope.  Her nurses always did their best to warm up the stethoscope before taking a listen, but she still complained about having her clothes disturbed.  My husband and I got very good at listening through her clothes for the “puff” in her stomach to check that her feeding tube was in position.  She was much happier when we were able to keep her clothes on while feeding her.

Caroline loved cuddles.  We spent many hours together in a rocking chair or on the couch with her on her side pressed against my chest.  She loved looking around at new surroundings.  She loved the feel of warm sunshine.  She loved music.  She loved showing off her many girly outfits.

I love and miss everything about my sweet, precious daughter.  See you soon, Caroline.  Mommy loves you.


4 Comments

Working Mom

“The pictures of your baby are beautiful,” said someone walking through my office.

“Thanks,” I replied, with a fear of what was coming next.

“I don’t know how you can come in with that beautiful baby at home,” she said.

I smiled, not wanting to share my life’s story with this total stranger.

I wish I still could.

I keep pictures of me, my husband, and Caroline on my computer desktop at work.

Seeing those pictures every day is worth every awkward interaction in the world.

Love, love, and more love to you, Miss Caroline.