Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming 8-month date. Eight months already! I don't know how I feel about it. There's so much guilt involved with feeling better. I'm sure everyone goes through that when they lose a friend or family member. Is it okay to be happy? Is it okay to smile? Is it okay to think about the future? I know it is. I know I'm supposed to do that, but it's hard. It's hard because I can't quite figure out how to move forward with life and still hold on to Isaac. I have been moving ahead, feeling better and more like myself. I've enjoyed that, but in some ways it seems so unfair to Isaac.

Don't get me wrong, things have been going well. I didn't know if there would come a time when I could say that. Things are good and calm. I had forgotten what it was like to be free from the stress of the pregnancy. Not many people really knew what CJay and I were dealing with every week. Every appointment was a new discovery that left us sick with worry and dread. That went on for so long, and now, it's like we're humans again. And therein lies the problem. Being this way - better - is the opposite of how we felt with Isaac. Maybe I think I have to be like I was because that's the only way I can keep him close to me.

We still miss Isaac. We still talk about him and wonder where we'll go from here. More children? Maybe. After Isaac was born, I thought I should have as many children as possible. He was amazing and that feeling was overwhelming. As time has passed and we've begun to experience all the feelings that we couldn't process before (I'm talking about all those weeks of the unknown and the appointments and ultrasounds and doctors.), CJay and I have wondered if we'll ever want to have more children. It's a complicated feeling. I know I'll always want Isaac, but will I want someone else as well? I don't know. And I know that each person, each couple has to make that choice when the time comes.*

*I'm not sure where I was going with this post, but thanks for letting me ramble a bit. I usually don't let myself do that on the blog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wave of Light

I know now how important it is to remember those who've passed on. My best friend lost her dad when we were in college, and we talked so much about her grief and pain. I cried for her because I knew how much she was hurting. However, I never really understood the grief she was living with until Isaac died. We all want our family and friends remembered, whether they lived 2 days or 60 years. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. The truth is that if I hadn't been touched by infant loss this year, I wouldn't think much about an awareness month. But suffering makes us so much more cognizant of others and our surroundings. Of course, you would agree that we all should be sensitive without the tragedies, but that is not really the point. So, tomorrow light a candle if you've lost a child. Light a candle if you know someone who's lost a child. Or just light a candle because maybe, just maybe, what CJay and I have been through has made you more aware.

In 1988, the month of October was named national Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. October 15th has further been recognized as the international day of awareness.

Organizations across the globe ask that you take part in the "Wave of Light" by lighting a candle at 7 p.m. in your local time zone. Please take a moment on this day for reflection and remembering our lost children by lighting a candle at home, in groups and gatherings, attending a mass, or calling someone close to you who has experienced this loss. No matter how recent or how long ago, every parent would love to know that someone is remembering their angel child.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Successive Approximation (or 7 months later)

One of my favorite psychology classes was behavior modification, and one of my favorite topics was successive approximation. I had seen the technique used before and I had used it myself, but it was fascinating to find out that the technique had a name. It's a fairly simple conditioning tool: If I want my new puppy Cocoa (yes, we got a puppy) to come when I say "come," I offer her a reward for every step she takes toward me. So, I say "Cocoa, come." She looks at me as if to say "huh?" and then takes a step in my direction. I reward her with praise and a treat for that one step. With every additional step, she gets another reward. She doesn't have to come all the way to me on the first try. I just want her to move in my direction. I am reinforcing approximations of the behavior I desire from Cocoa. It won't be long before she comes when I call.

All of this came to mind yesterday when I was thinking back on these past 7 months. I remember thinking that I might not make it 3 months, much less 7. Those first few days after Isaac died, I had to remind myself to breath. I didn't sleep well. I didn't eat much. With each passing week, breathing became easier. I stopped reliving every moment of his short life. I started sleeping better.

At first, the grief was an intruder into our lives. As time passes, grief is a common companion. He's woven into every day and I accept it. I've stopped resisting. I've started enjoying the little things about life again. And each day I breath and work and eat and sleep reinforces the approximation of living. It won't be long before I feel like I really am living again. I'm finally looking forward to it.