People love a comeback story. They love it when the underdog ends up on top, and gets what they’ve been fighting for all along. It’s the stuff movies like Rudy and Rocky are made of. So after Aria was born, people were extremely quick to ask me when we were going to have another baby. I was asked that question several times before we even said goodbye to Aria’s body at the hospital.
But I didn’t want another baby. I wanted this one. I wanted Aria.
However, as my longing for the experience of raising children on earth began to overwhelm me, I came around and decided we would try again. People loved that decision. Their faces often lit up with excitement. They couldn’t wait for us to get our happy ending.
This is where things get really messy. Infertility, loss after loss, and a failed fertility treatment cycle have made for a really crappy comeback story. Most days it feels like we’re even further from redemption now than we were the day Aria died. Society and all of their expectations of what life after loss should look like makes it hard to not feel like a total failure. I’ve watched almost every mom in my infant loss support network go on to have a healthy baby, and yet I’m still waiting. People have distanced themselves from us, some because they no longer wanted to support the weight of our grief. Some because they assume the space will be helpful to us in some way. Some just grew weary of our lack of a happy ending.
“She’s still so sad.”
Indeed I am. My daughter died.
But if you could see our lives the way we do on the good days, you would see so much more.
So what exactly is our comeback story? What makes our story full of redemption?
A husband and wife that have weathered countless storms together, and grown stronger despite them. Two parents whose love for their daughter has refused to be negated by death. A father who still gets up each day and provides for his family despite wanting nothing more than to lay in bed and cry. A mother who speaks openly and publicly about her daughter, despite social stigmas that constantly whisper that she should stay silent.
We go out and explore new places. We learn new things. We build relationships. We laugh. We play. We live.
And at the heart of it all, there’s a sweet baby girl in heaven whose sick body has been fully healed. She’s safe. She’s free.
There’s still a lot of heartache in our story, but to deny the parts of it that have been redeemed is to ignore so much of the goodness our lives hold. We’re still a comeback story, and it’s only the beginning.