Friday, January 15, 2010

Overcompensating

I have often wondered if I am overcompensating for not being able to protect Nicholas. I wonder if, subconsciously, I feel compelled to talk about him to perfect strangers, to buy things that remind me of him because I feel like I couldn't do enough for him when he was alive, inside of me.

Whether it be Angels, ladybugs or a toy that I would probably buy for him if he were here, I find myself drawn to these things. Drawn to the fact that, had he survived, had my body not failed him, I would be buying him treats and clothes and toys... so why not continue?

I'm sure a lot of these feelings come from the inescapable mommy guilt. The soul searing feeling that I let him down. That I didn't do what a mommy is supposed to do. That I couldn't keep him safe. That we had to let him go. I sincerely think that this is the biggest reason I hold on so tight. I hold on to his memory, his legacy with such force sometimes that I find I must step back and 'regroup'.

I have often been told that to "love from afar" is extremely difficult and challenging. It is to balance the beautiful memories with the horrific one's. It is to learn how to hold those memories close without smothering in them. It is to remember our babies with grace and class and to help others in our lives to do the same.

I am fiercely protective of Nicholas' memory. Just as I would be fiercely protective of him if he were here. Just as I am fiercely protective of our other children. But, again, there are times when I have to remind myself that Nicholas knows we love him. And he knows this without all of the hoopla. The hoopla is for me. The hoopla is to comfort my own heart, to soothe my own soul.

I wrote Madison's Birth Announcement yesterday. It took me a while as I wanted to get the wording just right. I found myself getting angry at the fact that I couldn't just sit down and write a plain, simple announcement. The wording is different when a child has died. When a sibling isn't here to welcome his sister...
I wanted it to be special. To include all of Maddie's brothers... but, to be honest, I think I went overboard and it took my dad, the voice of reason, to confirm what I was already thinking. Needless to say, I changed it a bit. Afterall, it is Madison's birth announcement. It is Madison's special day and she deserves for it to be about her and only her.

My husband and I have discussed, in great length, the possibility of Maddie feeling like she is a replacement child. That is absolutely, without a doubt, not what we want. That is not what she is. She is a precious, new addition to our family and she completes it perfectly. That is how we want her to feel. Like her own extraordinary person. A perfect little girl whom mommy and daddy are so grateful for and couldn't love more if we tried.

Nicholas has a strong presence in our family. He always will. We will always talk about him and include him in our lives. The other children will know about their brother and understand that our family is bigger than what is in our home.... but, our Earth Angels will also know just how special each of them are. Nicholas' memory will not overshadow them, it will just follow them all closely to make sure they are okay.

Here is Maddie's Announcement:

Reeves/Watkins - We've added another color to our family's rainbow...

Jim and Leanna Reeves are thrilled to announce the early, but safe arrival of their first daughter, Madison Nichole, born December 17, 2009, weighing 5lb 13oz.

Proud and very excited brothers are Evan, Kyle and Madison’s very own Guardian Angel, Nicholas, who was born sleeping on November 7, 2008.

Madison is also warmly welcomed by her Nana and Papa, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. An extra special thank you to our beautiful nurse, Linda M. at SRHC, who provided extra care and support when we needed it most.

Heaven has smiled down on us.

We love you, beautiful girl. You are the most perfect finishing touch to our family.

19 comments:

Jennifer Ross said...

Lea, I just loved this post. You spoke for so many of our hearts. I wouldn't have put it any other way! I feel so much like you do.

The pictures in the last couple posts are so cute:} and the family picture is beautiful.

Love,
Jenny

Jill said...

Lea, this is such a beautiful post in so many ways and you have a beautiful family. I love Madison's birth announcement and think it is simply perfect.

Kristy said...

Beautiful, the birth annoucement is perfect. You have inspired my own post about overcompensating. Its strange how things you read on other baby lost momma blogs, makes you think about your own life. *hugs*

Malory said...

Perfect

Beth said...

what a beautiful announcement.. it is just perfect. I love the part "her very own guardian angel." It is just lovely.

Angela said...

I think all of us Mommies who have lost a baby feel like this...I still get things for Ella, but I try to make sure I know why I am buying it, where I am going to put it, and that it is "special" to me. I know I do it for me, not for her, so I try to get things that mean something to me. But I am drawn to everything and its hard to hold back, especially being that I dont have another baby or child to buy for. The announcement is perfect, and beautiful. She will know she is not a replacement, but a wonderful addition.

Barbara said...

Madison's birth announcement is perfect. I love the phrase "another color to our family's rainbow".

Loving from afar is difficult indeed.

xxx

Melissa said...

I love your post, I am always purchasing things as well and hope they will help me in some way and they often do. I love the birth announcement.

margaret said...

Thank you Lea for articulating some of the very things I too am struggling with. My husband has been concerned from day one that Georgia would grow up in the shadow of her brother's death but it's so hard to celebrate her life without including Calvin too. Maddie is a wonderful gift, a longed for child that I can't ever see you making feel "a replacement". I feel by now that I know you well enough to say that you have enough love for all of your children, including Nicholas and that nothing could or would change that love for him, not even your rainbow baby. While people on the outside might not get that love, I do. I will always love Calvin separately from Georgia although in my early days of grief it was her I poured my love into. Sending you hugs

Marissa said...

Beautiful announcement. I don't think you're overcompensating - I think you are just trying to continue to parent Nicholas - even though you can't have him in your arms to care for - your words and thoughts of him daily help. I carry the same guilt you mention - but I carry that same guilt for my other children too - like when my son split his lip wide open when he was two. I think the guilt is normal (as normal has it can be)and its all a part of being a good mom.

Mary said...

I love your post! I think part of the reason we want to buy things, talk about, and keep the memory alive of our angels is because it is what feels normal to us! In NORMAL circumstances you would be holding him, talking about him, and buying things for him. So the natural result of pregnancy and birth is the need to do those things, and it helps us feel more normal. Don't be too hard on yourself.
And the announcement is beautiful and perfect! Nicholas is smiling from Heaven!

Lisa said...

I also feel like I'm overcompensating for not being able to keep Jasper safe. Beautiful announcement.

Christy said...

I love Madison's birth announcement. Absolutely gorgeous.
I just think that there's nothing you could ever do that would be too much for Nicholas or overcompensating for him Anything that somehow makes you feel closer to him. I know the guilt-and that is hard, but I so get it. WE get it.

Betty said...

I love Madison's birth announcement.

I buy stuff for Shealyn ALL the time...in fact I bought her a little stuffed dog for Valentine's day :/

Catherine W said...

Madison's birth announcement is beautiful. Perfect.

It is hard to strike the right balance but I'm sure that your sweet Nicholas knows how deeply he is loved. xo

Bluebird said...

What a fine line to walk, but I have no doubt that you will do it perfectly, and with beauty and grace. All of your children will rest confident in your love for them. ((Hugs))

Holly said...

I really like the birth announcement!! And I really enjoyed your post and it made me think. And you're so right about not letting Madison feel like a replacement child. I know that I wouldn't want any future babies to feel like they were.

Mary said...

I am too thinking if my next child will feel like they were here only as a replacement. It is so hard to explain that to a child.

Love the rainbow comment.

Never forgetting Gregory said...

I feel the same way and want to find the perfect balance between Gwen knowing all about Gregory, without her thinking she was a replacement. I love this post and your announcement. I'm still so thrilled that you have your little girl safe with you.

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