Adelaide’s First Stairs 

Yesterday, Adelaide decided she would walk all the way to the house. She took 89 reciprocal steps, including a turn, and went up our three stairs. I was there supporting her torso, but the leg strength and balance were all hers. She even problem-solved when her foot got stuck…moving it slightly back and then moving it forward. At the stairs, I just waited to see what she would do. When she lifted her left foot onto the stair, shifted her weight, and pulled her right foot up, I cried. The happiest mom tears. She took the last two stairs, leading with her left, and then collapsed onto the porch. All smiles. 

Today, it’s raining. I planned on carrying Adelaide into the house. But she had other plans. “I…..WALK…..RAIN!” So I gave my phone to my favorite boy, and we snapped some photos of Miss Adelaide walking. 

What a beautiful October surprise! 

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Ready For Sidewalks 

Me: “Bess, it’s time to walk to the house.”

Adelaide: “READY! WALK!”

Me: “Adelaide, you want to walk to the house, too?”


Me: “Okay! Let’s walk!”

I took her out of her car seat and positioned her in the middle of the sidewalk. I firmly held onto her torso as she took 48 reciprocal steps up the sidewalk. Forty-eight. Shouting, “READY! I WALK!” all the way. Bess was cheering, “GO! GO! GO!” Adelaide collapsed on the 49th step. With the biggest smile on her face. “BLUE!” 

Yes, sweet girl, we can watch Blue’s Clues. 

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Can I Have A Shoebox? 

I grew up poor. I don’t talk about it often, because I don’t ever want my mom to think I blame her for anything. Because I don’t. My dad, on the other hand, kept us in poverty. So I blame him. Maybe he did it to control us? I’ll never really understand why sociopaths do what they do. 

But I was poor. In a lower-middle class neighborhood. I was still in public school at the time. Probably the poorest kid in my class. I was one of the few on free lunch. Some kids were on reduced lunch, but I was on free. And you knew who had free lunch, because we couldn’t have chocolate milk. I don’t think it was district policy. Someone in the kitchen implemented it, and we followed it. They also announced “free lunch” when you were being served, so it was quite the dignifying experience. 

My teacher, who was sweet and kind and loving and I suspect had never been poor, said we needed to complete a book project at home. A diorama. I was thrilled. My book was The Family Under The Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson. Phenomenal book. I’d read it a dozen times and couldn’t wait to make a diorama of my favorite scene. 

Then she said, “You’ll need to find things at home to make your scene. And you’ll need to put it in a shoebox. Everyone should have a shoebox, because you got new shoes for school!” I looked at my shoes. They were from a yard sale. I knew we had zero shoeboxes at home, because we had zero new pairs of shoes at home. My mom was the yard sale queen. And I had received one new piece of clothing that entire year. A pair of pants, which I saved for a birthday party. 

I had the brilliant idea to make a box from cut-up cereal boxes. Before I’d finished walking home, I had it all planned out. Two layers, with the printed sides glued together. Then put all the rectangles together with box tape. We always had box tape, because we were always moving. 

I walked into the kitchen and remembered there weren’t any cereal boxes. We ate generic bagged cereal, when we did eat cold cereal. I stood in that kitchen thinking, “I can do this! What’s my next step?”

I rang the doorbell of our neighbor’s house and prayed he didn’t laugh at me. “Can I have a shoebox? I need one for school.” He handed me a shoebox and the look in his eyes was deep sadness. He probably didn’t know about my abuse, but he knew we were poor. I thanked him and ran home to make my diorama. I searched our house high and low for anything I could use. 

My shoebox was full of leftover crap from my impoverished, yet super clean, house. We were poor, but Mom said it was no excuse to be dirty.  This motto didn’t help my diorama, because there wasn’t a lot of junk to sift through for that artsy treasure. But I was proud of my project. And I had done it all by myself. 

When I was a teacher, I was watching the halls during passing time. A student stopped to make conversation with me. “If you see any used shoes in my size, will you buy them for me? I can do some chores for you.” This kid never asked for anything. I looked at his feet. The soles of his shoes had fallen off and they were reattached with duct tape. One toe was peeking through. “A kid made fun of me. I bet all his shoes are brand new in shoeboxes.” He was one of my hardest workers, and I didn’t know until later that he took care of himself. When he didn’t finish his homework, it was because he didn’t have electricity. When we did a canned food drive, he asked a neighbor for a can of food to bring for the contest. 

Dave and I went and bought shoes. I told Dave the box needed to be nice. Really nice. I left it with a counselor and told him to make up a story. Two days later, my student walked into class. “I won these shoes for being a good citizen! And they came in a box! I put my favorite stuff in the box, because it was too nice to throw away.”

I remembered my shoebox diorama this morning, after having a nightmare that I couldn’t find a shoebox for my dad’s parole hearing. They say your brain deals with trauma while you are asleep. Throw in pregnancy hormones, and I rarely go one night without a dream about my abuse. As I was lying in bed, thinking about that diorama, I started crying. Tears of joy. Dave was up changing diapers and making breakfast, after working hard all week to pay our bills. He straightened up the kitchen and took Graham outside. They were working on a project together. And I was cleaning up the house with the girls. The house I’ve lived in more than 10 years. We have box tape, but we use it to close the envelopes we’re mailing to our sponsored kiddos across the world. Some days, my life feels like I’ve been two different people. Then it dawns on me that I am a different person. And that God is redeeming the past, even when it doesn’t quite feel like it. And then I added “Make A Diorama” to Graham’s second semester curriculum. 


Grahamism | Than

Me: “Write the missing number. Jon has 1 more.”

Graham: “One more what?”

M: “It doesn’t say.”

G: “Well, dey should tell us what it is. Is it good or bad?”

M: “We don’t know. They didn’t tell us in this problem.”

G: “Jon has 1 more than who? You can’t just say 1 more. I gotta know the than part. Every more or less gots a than. That’s how English works.”

M: “Jon has 1 more than Max.”

G: “So it’s 16. We don’t know what it is, but Jon’s got 16. Cuz 16 is one more than 15. I can prove it on da number line.”

M: “Awesome work! Ana has 1 less.”

G: “1 less than who? Max or Jon or Mia? It makes a big difference when dey don’t tell me da than! If Ana gots 1 less than Max, it’s 14. If she’s gots 1 less than Jon, she’s got da same as Max. 15. If she’s gots 1 less than Mia, it’s 4.”

M: “Yes, Ana has 1 less than Mia.”

G: “Well, da answer is 4. Dese people really gotta use than in dese problems. I’m not a mind reader.”


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Pregnancy After Miscarriage | Semi-Coherent Thoughts

We’re having another baby. We found out in July, before the 6 month anniversary of losing Laurence & Flannery. And my first thought was, “What if I lose 3 babies in one year?” But Graham’s fears about becoming a Hermit-Man taught me some things about myself. Dave and I were equal parts elated and nervous-out-of-our-minds. We decided to keep it between us. 

We needed time to process. I needed to process that I was going to be pregnant on the due date of my dead children. Surreal. Or maybe I wouldn’t be. Maybe we would lose this baby and I’d be having another D & C on their due date. My mind was full of muddled emotions. 

With Graham, I was excited from Day One. With Adelaide, I was excited from Day One. With Bess, I was overwhelmed. Excited, but scared. Would my third baby also have disabilities? How would I handle that? A double wheelchair? How was I going to handle three kids, even if it didn’t have any abnormalities? Pregnancy hormones sent my brain in a hundred directions. 

When I became pregnant with the twins, I was happy and nervous. Because it never felt the same. My body was off. I remember feeling two babies quicken just days before we lost them. One felt strong, one felt weak. And then they were gone. 

This time, I found myself almost unable to celebrate. Still reeling from the trauma of burying my children in February. 

I decided to be proactive. Long gone were the days of showing up at my 8 week appointment and feeling normal. I requested bloodwork. Right away. They squeezed me in. 

One of my best friends dropped everything to watch the kids. Heather bought popsicles and set up a kiddie pool. No questions asked. 

And the first batch of bloodwork was great. 

We announced to family, but decided not to tell Graham. He has always had Baby Fever and I couldn’t put him through that again. We weren’t going to keep anything from him long-term, but wanted to avoid a repeat scenario of Mommy leaving the house pregnant and coming home, well, not. We decided to wait. If the baby died, we would tell him later. That was our plan. But we were starting to feel optimistic. 

Then my second batch of bloodwork came back with issues. There was talk of baby being ectopic. If not ectopic, my uterus was not doing its job to keep the baby. I needed to go on meds right away in order to give baby any chance of surviving the first 3 months. 

Basically, my fears had come true. They scheduled an ultrasound. We were expecting to see a tubal pregnancy or no baby or, my worst fear, a baby who had already passed away. We had family praying, but I told Dave I was keeping my expectations as low as possible. I bawled through church. Praying verses over my growing belly, hidden under my clothes. I cleaned my entire house, because I just knew I was losing my third baby in one year and our LifeGroup would bring food. That’s what LifeGroups do. You live life together. And you bring food when life ends. Our LifeGroup leader came to watch our kids. Knowing we were most likely getting bad news. That’s bravery. 

The day before, I took my first baby bump photo. Decided it was probably the first and last. The only photo from my final pregnancy. We had no idea if there was anything alive in there. 

We went to the appointment. It wasn’t all smiles and peeing in a cup and happy times. We barely talked while we waited. I had been praying Baby would make it, but I couldn’t bring myself to hope for it. We went through the motions and I was literally holding my breath as they put the gel on my belly. I prayed verses over Baby. And then we saw something. With a heartbeat. And she said, “There’s a fetus in the uterus!” 

And I’ve never been so overcome with joy by six clinical words. Dave and I were crying and laughing. Our worst case scenario visit had suddenly done a 180. They did measurements and checked everything: uterus, sac, umbilical cord, and baby. Everything looked exactly the way it was supposed to look. But I’m not naive and I knew there was still a chance for loss. The medication was working, but would it continue to work? We left and I got a Sonic drink. We were still in shock. We went home and had breakfast with Jenny. Our kids running around and playing. All of us just breathing a sigh of relief. 

And that afternoon, we got the call from the fetal specialist reviewing all our images and video. He was more than pleased. We dropped to a 3% chance of loss. 

And that should’ve been the end of my anxiety. But I focused on that 3%. Because pregnancy changes after miscarriage. I was still struggling with the fact that we would most likely have a child in our arms on Resurrection Sunday. But we might not. 

Graham was getting really suspicious of my growing midsection, but I didn’t want to tell him. And I tried to hide my belly from him. “I know you and Daddy are keeping a secwet fwom me.” Bess started talking to my belly and said she had a Baby Brother in there. 

On August 25th, I went to see my hair stylist. And she said something that changed me. “Lyndse, you could lose this baby. We can all lose babies. But if you don’t, and you’ve spent your whole pregnancy dreading the loss, you could be holding a baby in April, but full of regret from never celebrating your last pregnancy. Celebrate. And you’ll have good days and bad days, but live the days. Don’t regret not living them.” 

So we decided to go public that weekend. On the twins’ due date, we announced that we were having another baby. On the last Friday in August, I mourned two children and celebrated another. 

We were blessed with calls and messages and congratulations from so many people. Some people didn’t congratulate us. At all. Either dealing with fertility issues or loss or just didn’t care. I chose to focus on the people who joined us in celebration. They were the same people who had been there during our grief, and I was blessed by their commitment to mourn when we mourned and dance when we danced. Family, friends, and people we’ve never met. They joined us in praying over this Baby. 

We told Adelaide. She asked for fries. She’s definitely my daughter. 

Then we announced to Graham and Bess when they returned from a sleepover at Grandma’s house. It was something I will treasure always. 

Graham’s excitement and smiles. His questions about the twins’ death and this baby’s chances at life. “Mommy and Daddy can’t promise, but everything is looking good with this baby.” 

Bess was too tired. Proclaimed she didn’t want to be a Big Sister. But changed her tune about 40 minutes later and hasn’t stopped talking about the new baby. 

Everyday, Graham asks if we’ve lost the Baby yet. I hate that my 6-year-old says yet. Expecting loss. I keep reminding him that we celebrate. We can’t know exactly what will happen. 

Today, I went for another follow-up appointment. We were checking to make sure the medication was still doing its job. And I saw my baby kicking and moving and the heartbeat was thumping away. 

And everyone was so happy. Nurses were congratulating me. And I wanted to put that 3% out of my head. But then they said I needed to stay on the medication longer, just to be safe. “We’re not taking any chances.” But I fill the prescription and I keep celebrating. No matter what happens, I’m celebrating my last time carrying life in my womb. Pregnancy after miscarriage is a whole new world. And I thank the person who thought to put a box fan in the OB room. Bless that person forever. 

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The Ballew Orchard | My Unedited Thoughts On Our Due Date

When I was a child, I moved 13 times in 16 years. At our last house in Colorado, I planted a rose bush by the mailbox. I thought I could will us to stay put with those roots. Everything else I had ever grown was for a single season. Gardens full of fruits and vegetables that only lasted for so many months, before plowing them under. But the rose would ground us. 

And three years later, I said goodbye to that rose. And moved from magnificent Colorado to muggy Missouri. In an August heatwave. And I hated my life. I told the rose I would move back when I was 18. Dig it up. Take it to my new Colorado home. But I never moved back. 

I ended up loving Missouri. My birth state. I grew accustomed to the heat and the humidity and the mosquitos and a shocking lack of drivers who understood how to use 4-way stops. I fell in love with the trees and flowers and green everywhere. And I fell in love with my husband. At first sight. 

We bought our house ten years ago, and I wanted fruit trees. But I had this fear that I would plant trees, only to leave them behind. All that work for naught. So I pushed the thought out year after year after year. 

I’ve lived in my home for ten years. Which is twice as long as I’ve lived anywhere else in my life. Dave brought stability and security in a way I never imagined as a child. 

We came home from our honeymoon to this home. We learned we were pregnant with each child in this home. We drove from the hospital to this home. Three times with a newborn babe, and once with a condolence packet from the hospital. 

And that was when I decided this was the year for trees. Ten years. Five children. I was planting an orchard. 

After the twins died, someone anonymously gave me $100 and said I couldn’t spend it on medical bills, gear for Adelaide, or anything for anyone else. It was solely Lyndse Money. So I tithed and spent a solid 24 hours thinking of all the things I could do with $90 whole dollars. 

Earrings, clothes, haircuts, wall art, socks. My list. In that order. And in that 24th hour, I said, “Fruit trees.” And I tucked that money into a zipper pocket in my wallet and it sat there. Through medical debt and curriculum shopping and so many Adelaide needs. It was off-limits. 

I knew Mother’s Day would be difficult. I volunteered us to work in nursery, because I couldn’t stand to be in service when our sweet Pastor acknowledges all the moms who are grieving this year. I’ve always been the proud beaming mom during the part where he talks about what a gift children are. And now I find myself with a foot in each camp. The smiling mom, surrounded by adoring faces. And the weeping mom, with children in a cemetery. 

My children are buried in Mt. Hope. Hope. My word for 2016. For a year that was supposed to bring all things baby and so many joyful moments. And we’ve managed to find that joy buried in grief, but the year felt anything but hopeful. 

For Mother’s Day, I asked my mom to plant trees with me. We took that $90 and ended up with five apple trees, a watering can, pruning shears, flowers, soil, and a rose bush. 

What I realized was this: we could leave this house. Move closer to a children’s hospital for Adelaide. Relocate for an incredible job offer. We could lose this house. It could be flattened by a tornado. Destroyed by fire. But this house is like carrying a child. You don’t know what will happen. Sometimes you carry that baby for 39 weeks and end up with an emergency c-section after almost 20 hours of labor. Other times, you have an uneventful scheduled c-section to deliver a breech daughter who ends up changing your life at her 9-month checkup. And then you vomit every single day with your third. And you go into labor, but choose a c-section, because your track record isn’t so great in the pelvic department. You are surprised with a precocious mite who most likely could have been born without help. But you’ll never know. Other times, you go to the hospital to return empty-handed. Empty-everything.

My house. My trees. My children. I can’t hang onto any of them with tight fists. They could be gone in an instant. All I can do is enjoy the time I have. We don’t know how long our kids will live, but we still do the mundane with the majestic. I could argue that we don’t know Adelaide’s life expectancy, so I’m going to keep her home and enjoy every second of her life. But I don’t. I have hope that she can learn new things everyday. I send her off to school, where they try to teach her to hold a crayon. Because holding a crayon isn’t a necessary life skill. But it’s worth knowing. Or at least having the opportunity to try to know it. And I don’t spend 12 hours a day holding Graham and Bess, even though they could both die at anytime. Because they need clean clothes and vegetables and books. We spend our days doing a hundred little things and a few big things. 

And we planted trees. Not because I have the assurance of seeing them grow and bear fruit, but because I don’t have that assurance. None of us do. We planted trees to remind me everyday that it’s fleeting. But still worth it. There’s still hope in a 2016 that started with fireworks and onesies and then sputtered to an August Friday of remembering two children gone before they could breathe their first air. 

Five trees. One for each of my children. My Mother’s Day gift to myself. A gift I’ve wanted for most of my life. But too afraid to risk loving something only to lose it. But February 1st showed me that I had done it and survived. I had lost something worth more than any tree. Any house. Anything this world offers and screams, “You want this! Go buy it!” I lost life. Children. 

And Flannery’s tree has apples. I think they will be eaten by a bug this year and that’s fine. It’s fitting for her first fruits to be taken. It’s not the end of it all to lose some apples. Maybe it’s what I need this year. For Flannery’s tree to just be. But the trees are all staked and pruned and watered and lovely. This balance between caring for something that needs me and letting it just exist. Teaching a child to read, but mostly letting him play. Putting her in diapers just a bit longer, but making her put her pink cowgirl boots on the right feet. Taking a daily school photo before I push a wheelchair through double doors, when I would rather just soak her up every minute she’s awake. 

I ordered tags for the trees. From a college friend’s wife. Because each tree belongs to one of my children. Graham mentioned that he wanted to take apples from Laurence & Flannery’s trees to their cemetery bench next year and have a picnic. I agreed that this was a fabulous idea. But I wanted to give the caveat: if the trees make it. And then hoped that the trees weren’t lost to disease or drought or neglect. Because Graham has lost so much this year. A six-year-old who fell in love with a Baby Bump. But I need to teach him that we take risks. We love when we aren’t given any promise that it will be returned. We speak to a girl who may not answer back. We replace kitchen cabinet doors when a house may not be standing next week. And we learn addition facts and how to use a screwdriver and brush our teeth. And we continue to love babies in the womb, even though there is always a chance to lose them. And even if you do, you still get up from that hospital bed and brush your teeth. And you brush them everyday. Even on August 26th. Because life keeps going. 

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A Tuesday Errand With Bess

It’s Tuesday, but Dave is off work. Graham is glued to him as they measure and saw and drill. My favorite guys sweating over a project. 

So Bess and I left to get Adelaide from school. Just the girls. 

We leave at least 10 minutes early each day, because I can’t bear to rush this child. She examines every leaf. Talks to every ant. Scolds a spider for making a web in the flowering bush. Comments on every cloud she spots through all our trees. 

This day, this Tuesday, she took a full five minutes down our short sidewalk. And it’s one of my favorite things. 

We waited for sister. Bess asking over and over again when Adelaide would arrive. Then we saw the wheelchair through the glass door. 

Adelaide greeted me with an exuberant “HI! HI! HI!” in the school parking lot. 

This morning, in that same handicap parking space, I asked, “Are you ready for school?” I ask her questions all day. Rarely expecting an answer. 

She made eye contact and opened her mouth, “I…..GO…..IN.” 

And just as she was happy to arrive, she was happy to leave. Loving her routine. 

We needed rinse aid for our dishwasher. A quick trip into Walmart. Adelaide in the wheelchair and Bess up in her Olives & Applesauce carrier. 

But not on this Tuesday. 

“Mommy, I no go up! I walk wif you and push my Adelaide. Cuz I’m a sister! I take care of my Addie!”

And we walked through Walmart. And my mom heart was fluttering as tiny pink cowgirl boots slowly tromped down the aisles. 

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Graham and the Hermit-Man

“Mama, I’m so worried I’m gonna gwow up to be a hermit-man and never have fwiends and never leave my house.” 

This started a 5 hour obsession with becoming a hermit. Tears, constant questions, and incessant reassurance that he would never become a hermit. 

“HOW DO YOU KNOW? You can’t know! You don’t know mine future!”

“Graham, if you try to become a hermit, Daddy and I will stop you. We will get you out of your house.”

“What if you ares dead? You aren’t gonna live fowever, Mama!”

“Bess will not allow you to become a hermit.”

“What if all mine family is dead? What if all mine fwiends are dead? What if I CAN ONWY BECOME A HERMIT?”

“Graham, that is not going to happen.”

“IT MIGHT! You don’t know mine future!”

And it went on for hours. And I gave him rational answers. I gave him Scripture. I asked for help from God to deal with the barrage of hermit-man-related questions. 

And as we were praying at bedtime for God to protect Graham from a life as a hermit, he looked at me and said, “It could happen. Dey are weal. People choose to be all alone and have no fwiends and become hermit-people. What den?” And I said, “Then it happens. And you figure out how to not be one. You pray, ask your family and friends for help, and you move through it.” 

And he was content with that answer. 

We can’t get those minutes back. The Hermit-Man tears can’t be uncried. 

And then it hit me in the face. 

I am Graham and the Hermit-Man. 

My ‘what ifs’ aren’t as far-fetched, but I’m a 6-year-old crying in God’s lap. “What if we get pregnant again and we lose that baby, too? It happens. It happens to lots of people!” And God says, “Then it happens. And we figure it out. You talk to me…I’m always here…and you ask your family and friends for help. And you move through it.” 

Photo credit

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“You’ll Bounce Back”

After Graham was born, I felt huge. It was the biggest I had ever been in my life. 

This was almost 7 years ago, before I remembered my childhood/adolescent abuse. Before I remembered the decades of body shaming. Before I started my journey of healing. I was still carrying all of that shame deep down inside. So I didn’t understand why I couldn’t show my body grace. I had read all the articles about how my post-partum body would be different. But I wasn’t prepared for the reality of feeling completely ugly. 

I had grown a human being inside of me. Fed him with my body. Carried him in my body. And evacuated him into a world of breathing air and nursing. I wanted to be okay with it. To embrace this new normal. Sagging skin and leaking breasts and staples and stretch marks. But I couldn’t. 

I started to fear that Dave would never find me attractive again. We would never enjoy my body like he had. Because it was now hideous.

I now know it was sleep-deprivation talking. Hormones shifting almost daily. But it was mostly a past I couldn’t even recall that constantly whispered, “You are never pretty enough. Your body is never nice enough. No one will love you if you gain weight.” 

Abuse has a way of following you around and popping up when you don’t expect it. I’m textbook with my body issues. But it doesn’t seem so obvious when you’re in the middle of it. 

What didn’t help: “Your body will bounce back soon!” Why do people say that to a person who just completed a 40-week sprint, which instantly transformed to an 18-year marathon? It’s so odd to focus on someone’s weight at a time like that. 

Plus, mine didn’t. My body didn’t bounce back. And it made me think that people were constantly critiquing my post-baby body. “He’s so cute! And your body will bounce back.” I heard it all the time. Along with aphorisms about how quickly he would grow and move away to college. I needed someone to say, “Rest. Nurse. Cut yourself lots of slack. Wear flowy tops. Don’t stress about your body.” But that’s the opposite of our culture. 

I was standing in line at Walmart with a tiny Graham and counted 14 magazines telling me how celebrities had shed their baby weight in weeks. There’s nothing wrong with them doing that. But life’s a lot different when you have a nanny and a personal chef and a gym in your house. 

I was living in a different world. We were in the middle of remodeling the kitchen in our little house. Our refrigerator was in the living room. Our stove was disconnected. I was living off microwave dinners while Dave was at work. Recovering from an emergency c-section. Definitely not good for the body or the soul. I knew my cart of turkey breast Lean Cuisine meals wasn’t in those celebrity tips. As a brand-new mom, I was seeing how post-partum obsession was at all socio-economic levels. 

Please don’t misunderstand my heart on this. I’m not into reverse shaming either. If a woman is able to bounce back in a healthy way, I’ll be applauding her! But my genes aren’t configured that way. And when someone told me I’d lose more weight if I quit nursing, I nodded politely. Then someone else said I’d lose weight if I pumped more. I hated being big, but I knew nursing Graham was something I wouldn’t give up.

I’ve nursed a total of 4 years, and it only helped me lose weight with Bess. Because I was on an elimination diet. I ate air and drank water…that’s how it felt. But as soon as she was 19 months and I had to wean her for the trial in Colorado, my weight started coming back.

It’s been more than a year. In that year, I’ve added a pregnancy and the end of a pregnancy. If there’s anytime you should show yourself grace, it should be after losing children. Part of what makes post-partum easier is that you are cuddling a tiny human who desperately needs you. After you lose children, you have the stretch marks and leaking breasts and no baby to hide your sagging skin when you’re out in public. You are exposed. And people say, “Your body will bounce back.” When they should be saying, “I’m sorry that your life feels completely worthless at this moment. I’m sorry that you feel like you failed. I’m sorry that you won’t see your baby this side of eternity.” 

One of my best friends recently lost her baby. Most likely from a virus. And she mentioned nonchalantly that she was bigger after her loss than she had been pregnant. And I texted without a second thought, “Your body will bounce back.” I should’ve paused and typed, “I know. A virus took your baby and your body doesn’t know what’s going on. It’s clueless. So your mind needs to remind your heart that you are strong and beautiful. Don’t even think about your weight and go buy bigger underwear.”

That’s what I did. I realized that I had bought bigger jeans from TJMaxx and bigger shirts from ThredUp. But I was still trying to wear smaller underwear. Which was a constant reminder that I was bigger. The biggest I’ve ever been. I took the kids to BigLots and bought my favorite underwear 2 sizes bigger. Then I told myself, “Your body isn’t bouncing back. And it doesn’t really matter. Not right now. What matters right now is feeling beautiful and comfortable in clothes that fit while you grieve.” 

August 26th is our due date. There are so many things I’ve never experienced. Infertility. Delivering stillborn. Losing a child in infancy or childhood or when they’re in college and it never crosses your mind that something horrible could happen on a regular Thursday. But I have lost babies in my womb. Delivered too early. And the day I was supposed to deliver is almost here. And it will last 24 hours and be gone. 

And I don’t have time to lament that I’m not as thin as I would like to be while I’m standing at that grave watching Graham release balloons. I won’t listen to the lies that it’s been 6 months and I should be smaller and happier. I lost most of my childhood to lies about myself. I won’t sacrifice my kids’ lives with the same. I’ll throw on a flowy top and mourn.

I won’t stop striving to be a strong mom. A healthy mom. A happy mom. But I give up on being a Size X Mom. I don’t have enough energy anymore to live that life. No one cares about my underwear size. 

And I vow to never again tell a woman who just gave birth, or was robbed of the chance, that her body will bounce back. Because that’s one of the last things she needs to hear. I’ll give her a hug, buy her some decaf coffee, and rejoice or mourn…whichever the occasion requires. 

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By Brian Phillips

Stories that Inspire, Encourage and Entertain


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