I guess I never really said much on here before I jumped into writing about Maddox. I mean, it’s been almost 2 years since I’ve done anything over here so I kinda assumed anyone reading would just be people I knew that already had the gist of what’s happened. But it was a nice surprise to see a few others still hangin’ out in my corner of the internet.
There are still so many stories I want to share, including Maddox’s birth story and some things from his short time in this world. But today I want to talk a little about what’s next. For me, for the blog, for my life.
Honestly, life after losing a baby is a little like running a marathon with no finish line. And no runner’s high. I just keep trying my best to put one foot in front of the other. And every time I take one small step forward, ya know, rather than giving up and crumpling on the ground, I tell myself that I am succeeding in whatever this next phase is.
The other day, it happened. The moment I’ve been dreading since Maddox’s death. I was talking to a girl at the gym who didn’t know me. She mentioned her kid starting kindergarten and asked if I had kids. Immediately, my heart stopped and I felt a knot rise in the pit of my stomach. I’ve asked so many times what do I do when this happens? But still, somehow, it caught me off guard.
I made a decision in that moment, one I hope to stick to forever. I decided to honor Maddox. I chose not to deny his existence because it could make someone else uncomfortable. I told her the truth: I have a son that passed when he was 13 days old. The truth I wish so badly wasn’t the truth and, instead, was something I read in a fiction novel once because those things don’t actually happen.
She looked at me and immediately started to cry. But you know what? It was okay. It felt….honest. And I was shocked at the compassion I received. I guess I expected people to run away (not literally) and die of embarrassment if I ever answered that question honestly. But instead, I was met with compassion and grace. And I thought, okay. I can do this. I can be true to myself, to Maddox, and it will be okay.
There is one question about the future, though, that tears me up every time. And it’s something almost everyone has asked me and I just don’t know how to explain myself without making them feel bad. The thing is, I appreciate anyone taking the time to ask honestly about my life right now. And to listen to my response.
Are you going to try again?
And it’s not that I feel particularly protective about whether or not our plans include to have more children in the future. Although, I do feel oddly private and protective of that right now. It’s not the idea of looking forward to the idea of another baby when Maddox was just here 3 months ago. It’s what the question implies.
Are you going to try again.
As if Maddox were a mistake, a failure that we need to fix. No. I’m not going to try to have Maddox again. Because Maddox is Maddox and you cannot try again with the life of a human being. It’s not like having a second child will make the hole Maddox has left disappear.
There is no solution. There is no “trying again”.
Yes, I want to have a second baby. Someday. But no, that will not be trying again. That will be expanding our family of 3 into a family of 4. You don’t ask someone with an only child is they plan to try again. You ask if they plan to have more children. And yes, eventually, I would like to have more children.
So I guess what’s next isn’t really different than it was when we lost Maddox almost 3 months ago. It’s simply continuing every day to put one foot in front of the other. And having grace for myself in the moments where I cannot and lie down on the ground.