People ask me why I have been so honest with my seven-year-old daughter about our losses. I told her last year when we lost our third. She was 6 at the time. I know that is pretty young to wrap your little mind around something so big. My answer to those people who ask is that she was ready.
Obviously, all kids are different. This kid, though, my kid, she was made to handle this. God knew she was going to face this and He gave her the personality to do it with grace and humility. When I told her, she cried but was quick to make sure I was ok. She told me it was okay, that she loved me, and it wasn’t my fault. How does a six-year-old know how to say that? She did cry. She cried hard and it broke my heart. Since that day, I’ve watched her grow into a wonderful young lady who is always learning and helping others by turning her hurts into helpful moments for them. Not a day goes by where she doesn’t have an idea of how to help somebody. I’m convinced she only knows this because she knows what has helped her.
I told her about our losses for a couple of reasons. First, we had been trying for a long time. She was starting to think we didn’t care about her request for a sibling and she was getting upset about it. I felt I needed to tell her that we were trying to give her a sibling. I worried that she’d be mad at God once I told her, since I couldn’t go into full detail about how we were trying. That didn’t happen, though, and I know that was an answered prayer of mine. She knows that some prayers get answered and others take some time. This one is taking time.
Second, I know all too well what it’s like growing up with adversity. My mom was sick most of my young life and in 8th grade she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She missed a lot of my youth. Most of my memories are of her and I lying in bed talking. Those are good memories, but hard, especially when you’re only 13. My dad had to run things and his personality and ways introduced a whole different type of adversity to my life. I know the person I am today is because of those adversities. Without them I’d have no character or depth. I think we all have things like this we have to learn to work with and it makes us better people in the end. Ava has had a great upbringing so far, much different from mine. So, I introduced some adversity into her life because I thought it would be good for her. It’s important to learn that we don’t always get what we want, and that’s okay. She will learn a lot from this as long as we keep communicating with her. We keep an open line of communication about it. She knows she can come to me or her daddy any time to talk about it and we’ll be there. We have a grave site provided through one of the hospitals, which is something they are great at, and she knows she can go anytime.
Lastly, I told her because I didn’t think it was something worth lying to her about. She was able to share in some of the excitement of my last pregnancy before it ended. Yes, it was a risk, but one I felt worth taking. I actually thought this could save her. Kids are so resilient, and they handle things much better than adults. They are open minded, forgiving, loving to all and they are ready for good things to happen all the time. I’ve watched this little girl blossom into a lovely young lady who is so strong, loving to all, forgiving, open minded and ready to see a miracle. Without having to overcome her disappointment in not getting a sibling, she wouldn’t be that person. She’s been able to deal with that disappointment while still being happy for all of her friends, whose mommies bring home babies at the same time. That is something most adults have trouble doing. Her capability to understand life is greater than some adults I know. These are all things I thought were important to teach her and I used this adversity to do it. My job is to get her ready to be an adult. I feel God has placed this in our lives for a reason and I believe guiding Ava is one of the biggest reasons. If this saves her and leads her down the path that God wants her to go down, then this was all worth it. That’s hard to say, but when I look at her I know it’s true.
I’ve always said I didn’t want her to feel like her parents were always trying to have another child and not investing in the one God had already blessed them with. She knows she’s loved and she knows that we have faced this same hardship. She’s seen us keep our faith in God, and use this difficulty as a way to raise the child He has blessed us with. This tragedy has offered us a unique way to parent, and we’d be ungrateful not to take advantage of that. I felt that when presented with a failure, my child would adapt and learn to never give up, and know that failing does happen. Even when we have done everything right. That is why I told her, and I’m thankful every day that I did.