Six years ago, our lives were falling apart. Not literally as nothing changed about the structure of our families, our marriage, our pug Sadie, our jobs, or the foundation of our house. But in the most vulnerable way, our emotions fell into a pit that started with a fissure in the ground beneath us and spread into the largest abyss we have encountered. An ultrasound on December 16, 2010 revealed our Sophia’s anomalies were incongruent with life. Despite having no real answers as to what was wrong, the doctors were unanimously certain she would never survive. We went into that Christmas with heavy hearts, rivers of tears, and a dismal outlook on what seemed like a grim remainder of our lives.
The loss of a child–followed by two more first trimester losses-has, by far, been the most horrific ordeal I have endured in my life thus far. The unrivaled grief that spiked when we watched our first baby take her final breath in my husband’s arms only stewed and festered through our other two miscarriages. Each loss carries its own weight, its own seemingly endless melancholy nights, its own set of doubts about life’s will.
It is these losses–these prolonged moments of grief that bleed from one to another like an endless winding river–that buoy the purist joy of celebrating Christmas this year with our rainbow baby, Evelyn. Losing Sophia and our other two angels create a chasm deep enough to elevate the pinnacle of our enjoyment of Evelyn’s innocent happiness. They showed us the depths of life’s emotional rollercoasters while Evelyn has risen us to new heights.
To accept our losses does not excuse the Universe’s rude way of tearing parenthood away from us–three times. To embrace our grief does not erase the sadness that enveloped us as we put on brave faces in order to carry on with life. To fold into our life’s fabric a profound grief does not indicate we can never feel happiness again.
Evelyn shows us that we can mourn and love. We can honor our babies with ornaments on the tree at which we can lovingly gaze through tear-filled eyes. We can open presents and watch the glee on our toddler’s face as she is more concerned with ripping the paper than finding the treasure inside. We can speak fondly of Sophia, celebrating her life on New Year’s Eve which also happens to be her birthday. We can remember how six years ago, we never would have fathomed we could rise to this level of contentment, well-being, and peace. We can love all our children, angels and Earthly.
We can make peace with the Universe for stealing our other three. We can instead go into this Christmas with uplifted hearts, tears of thankfulness, and optimism for our family. We can focus on making Evelyn the happiest little girl she deserves to be.