Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Finding Purpose

I have been thinking about this for some time and I've had several other people ask me about it. How do you find purpose in all of this? How do you make something good out of something terrible?

For me, finding something that gives me a purpose and direction has been wonderful. And healing. And wonderfully healing. After Carter died, I felt a little bit like I was lost and wandering. I knew that I wanted to do something positive with everything we had been through, I just didn't know what. The death of a child is completely devastating and I knew that it was something that I could let bring me down (besides the normal grieving, I totally support the grieving process). But I didn't want it to become my life. I needed to make something more out of Carter's life. The time and energy that I never got to put into raising and loving him, I needed to put toward something else, something that mattered to me.

For me, this something to drag me out of the darkness has been diapers. Lots and lots (and lots) of diapers. Teeny Tears has donated over 10,000 diapers, and we have contributed around 1300 of those diapers. Teeny tiny diapers, and little bitty diapers in all kinds of colors and prints. It lets me do something constructive with my time. When I feel like I need some "Carter time" or I'm having a particularly rough day, I make diapers. It gives me the chance to feel what I need to feel while moving forward at the same time. I hate that there is even a need for these diapers, but my prayer for each little one is that it can bring some family somewhere even the tiniest bit of hope. And that it can help them to know that someone out there cares about them and thinks that their baby matters and is just as important as any other baby.

 {Cohen loves to help pick out the fabric}

The other cool thing that has happened is that as I work on these projects with my family and friends, they become a part of the process. They see the teeny, tiny diapers and realize that there are tiny babies that are deserving of these little diapers. And they see how many diapers we are making and they get a little glimpse of the fact that there are a lot of families that lose babies, it isn't an isolated thing. It makes me feel so loved and supported to know that I have people in my life willing to take on this project and help out. It's hard to to talk about babies dying and it can be uncomfortable. But, I have found that this makes an easy way to share and work on something together without having to just sit and stare at each other. This way, it just feels more natural and if anyone wants to talk about it, we do, if not...we make diapers. And I am so incredibly grateful for my friends who take fabric home and cut out diapers and for the people who drop off flannel donations at our local fabric store and for the store who is willing to collect the donations for us. It really is a wonderful thing.

 {Diapers waiting to be ironed}

The other thing we have taken on last Christmas and again this year is taking care packages to our NICU in Seattle. The diapers are for Carter and the care packages are for Cohen. Something for each of my boys. A small way to give back and to tell them that their lives are important. I want them to know that I am so thankful for each and every moment that I have and had with both of them and that we can help other parents and babies too. I remember last year aftert taking on the care packages that I kind of wondered what I had gotten myself into. I had started with the idea of just making a few and taking them to the hospital. Then I got word that we would need to be able to offer a care package to every family currently in the NICU. Makes sense, but where on earth was I going to be able to find enough things for 40 care packages in a few short months!? And then the word got out, and people started helping. And helping and helping and helping. And we ended up meeting and exceeding our goal. And it was awesome. The love and support we felt still warms my heart. People who didn't know us, or hadn't had a preemie, were willing to give of their time and resources to help out. (More details on NICU Care Packages 2012 coming soon).

{Diapers in memory of TTTS angels}

In the end, I feel like it is me who has gotten the most out of all of this. Through wanting to do something to make sense of our loss and to keep myself busy, I have been given great things. Love and support and new friends. I have been continually amazed at people's generosity and willingness to help. I had no idea that it would be a continual thing or that anyone would want to help out. It has been so healing for me to be able to work on these little diapers and the care packages. It has been a way for me to make sense of things. Not that Carter's death with ever really make sense, but it helps me make sense of the "what now?" part of grieving a child. What am I going to do with my sadness and my grief? For now, and probably for a long time, I will carry on with my little diapers. So here I am, trying to make sense of my life, one tiny diaper at a time.

1 comment:

  1. We lost our firstborn son at 28 weeks about a month ago. Instead of having my baby shower, we have turned it into a service project night for making diapers and layette sets. I love that last line, "making sense of my life, one tiny diaper at a time." That is exactly where I am at.