I never seemed to fit.
From the kids at school to church to society’s expectations to my own family, I never seemed to fit in. I never felt right. Everything about me seemed wrong — too-frizzy hair, bad skin, big teeth, pudgy but yet somehow still gangly, and socially awkward to the extreme. I felt like a puzzle piece trying to squash myself into the wrong puzzle.
No one, I felt, could ever like me, much less love me. I would chastise myself for even hoping for such a thing. It was, I knew, impossible.
When I got curious about God and began to read the Bible, I found that Jesus seemed to have a thing for people like me — for the people who didn’t seem to fit, people who maybe were a lot like me.
I began to wonder.
A decade later, God has healed me of a lot of my sense of being-wrong, of not-being-loveable. I have run up the unconditional love of my God, my husband and his family, and my church family too often to remain unchanged. Over the past year especially, I have felt like I have finally found the right puzzle.
Then Eve died, and everything changed.
Where did I fit into this world? Where does someone like me, a mother of a dead child, go? What kind of a puzzle is there for her?
At church, there is a small group for young married couples who don’t have kids, and a small group for young parents. My husband and I, we don’t fit into either. And when I look around at our small congregation on Sunday mornings, the reality is impressed into me again — you are the only one here whose only child is dead, and dead before she was born.
And I feel that not-fitting even in our church community that has so valiantly tried to support my husband and myself since Eve died. When I am out in the world, out among strangers, I feel even more like the odd woman out.
I see pregnant women and am at once jealous and pitying, and know that even though I am pregnant with my rainbow baby I will never feel at home at birthing classes or breastfeeding groups.
I see families with young babies and remember that I was supposed to be one of those new parents, that I am, but that a woman with a dead child would not be welcomed at a new mommies group.
I see hundreds and hundreds of strangers everyday, and I want to scream at them — don’t you know? Can’t you see it written all over me that my baby died inside of me, and I can barely breathe? I know that if I said any such thing, I would be condemned as a crazy woman. And sometimes I wonder if I am a crazy woman.
I tell my husband how I feel, and although he is compassionate and sympathetic, although he never fails to listen with love, he admits that he does not understand. I feel alone in our own home.
When my baby died before she was born, I was transformed. The puzzles that I used to fit into so comfortably into are constricting and foreign.
I want somewhere to fit, a place where I belong.
The babyloss community is one of those places. But there are only a couple of local babylost mothers; the rest I connect to online. And although I treasure these online connections deeply, I cannot live my life on the computer.
Out in the world, outside our too-large babyloss community, no one believes that babies can die before they breathe. I didn’t believe it myself, before it happened to me.
And so, where do I fit?
I have come to twin conclusions.
The first — that I do not fit anywhere, and that’s okay. I don’t have to fit. Fitting, perhaps, is not as valuable as I have believed.
The second — that I fit with God. Although I may feel lonely, although I may feel excluded at times, I am never turned away by God. There is a safe place in the palm of God’s hand that is shaped and kept just for me.
This may sound trite. Perhaps it is trite. But I believe that it is true. Since Eve died, faith is what has kept my head above water. Without God, I would be dead myself, or worse. Instead, I have wept and raged and questioned my grief out to Him, and I have not been turned away.
No matter my place (or lack of it) in the world, in my community, and even in my own family, I found one the Place where I will always, always fit.
“. . . For in the same way that the Father raises the dead and creates life, so does the Son. The Son gives life to anyone he chooses. Neither he nor the Father shuts anyone out.”
~ John 5:20-22
“The spacious, free life is from God, it’s also protected and safe. God-strengthened, we’re delivered from evil — when we run to him, he saves us.”
~ Psalm 37:39-40
What role has faith played for you in your loss, grieving, and/or healing?