Thursday, December 20, 2007

On Birth and Ornaments

My friend Leslie gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday that they named Anna. My cousin Emily has run out of days and goes in tonight to be induced, and will find out if she's carried a boy or a girl all this time. (How exciting, by the way! James would never consider that kind of waiting, and I don't have the willpower to resist a doctor saying, "Are you sure you don't want to know?") Though a few gestating stragglers remain, my once large posse of pregnant pals has transitioned to an equally large mob of mommies.

I was talking to a newly-mommied friend yesterday -- the one whose first son died in January. She was wondering what to do with Christmas. Their family has a tradition of sewing stockings for their children, and as she prepares to sew one for her new little boy, what does she do for the one who died? Though he never shared Christmas with them and never will, do they hang a stocking for him? We don't hang stockings for our babies, but we do hang ornaments.

This ornament is for Ainsley. We were so excited during this pregnancy, as it progressed nicely following years of trying. We conceived Ainsley on the month when I told both James and the doctor, "This is it. I'm done." I was tired of the fight. When I was pregnant, we just knew we were having a girl. We anticipated a girly-girl like our Gracie who loved butterflies and baby dolls. I bought a baby girl onesie that said "I Love Daddy" and some cute purple shoes at Baby Gap. Those things are still tucked away in the top of my closet. I've thought many times about giving them away, but I can't.

This is Zachary's ornament. We are so fortunate to have pictures of him, and I wanted his ornament to include his photo. It was difficult to find a baby-themed ornament that didn't say "Baby's First Christmas," or something similar. This ornament, though, is perfect. It's a resin Christmas tree that looks like it's hand knit. The knitting pattern and the blue on the star are identical to Zachary's baby cap.

This ornament is for our other babies who have died. We lost a baby in December 2005 before I became pregnant with Ainsley. That pregnancy, though lost, provided hope that we could conceive. We'd been trying for some time at that point, and wondered if we would ever be able to get pregnant again. Though the pregnancy ended, we had fervent hope and pressed on, trying again and again.

The baby I lost in August 2007 -- the pregnancy after Zachary -- obliterated all remaining hope, an issue I still struggle with today. Unfortunately, that hopelessness can't be compartmentalized to our struggle related to childbearing, but rather spills over into every other area of life. It is what I spend most of my study time trying to understand and regain. Along with our babies who have died, it's that struggle with hope -- the initial acquisition, the utter loss, the attempt at resurrection -- this ornament represents.


  • Amy

    Beautiful! Adding ornaments to your family's collection in memory of your lost little ones is a wonderful way to remember them and include their memory in your family's traditions. I love it!

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