Wednesday, January 05, 2011

22 Weeks - thoughts on the future of this blog...

I have wrestled a bit over the past 5 months with one question...
How long should I blog here?

Initially I decided that I would blog
for as long as I felt it served a purpose,
then later I decided I needed a more finite goal.
I would blog about our journey with Amelia, each Wednesday,
until what would have been her 1st earthly birthday,
July 28, 2011.

That is kind of where I am at now.
In thinking about how long I should continue to blog here,
it got me thinking about the reasons I blog.
Why do I do it?
Who is the blog really for?
Should I talk about the new baby growing inside of me here?
Should I share updates about Noah here?
Should I delve into my grief here without sensor?
Is this my personal journal
or Amelia's journey?

It isn't as easy as you might think to sort it all out.
When I started the blog it was a way to update our family on the day to day changes with my pregnancy with Amelia and as a way to share our little girl's brief life with a family she would never know on this side of heaven.

In the weeks that followed the blog reached so many more people than I ever dreamed would be touched by our story and our Amelia. The blog took on a new voice and became a testimony of our Lord's hand in all things. It became my daily devotional, recording the ways God was leading us down the dark and twisty path laid out before our family. The blog is Amelia's story, her legacy.

The blog also became a lifeline for me as it connected me with so many amazing baby loss families experiencing a loss similar to ours. These women have walked along side me, offering encouragement, solidarity, prayer and love. I have not, and likely will never, meet any of these women (and men) but they are continuously in my heart, mind and prayers. I like to think Amelia's blog has served as a lifeline for parents who received a similar or terminal diagnosis in the weeks and months following March 15, 2010. I prayed that parents receiving the diagnosis "Anencephaly" would in their hunt for more information, Google to find our story, rather than the horrors and negativity we initially found online. I prayed that these parents would find us and be encouraged, strengthened and supported as we were when we discovered this amazing community of Christian Baby Loss Moms & Dads.

Believe it or not, this blog has pushed my own personal boundaries of what I keep buried deep inside myself and what I allow the world to see. Though in so many ways I am a very "public" person - when it comes to my grief I would much prefer to keep it all hidden. I HATE crying in front of people. I don't even like to appear sad in front of people. My entire life I have worn the mask of a smile and it has been my shield. I believe daily, hourly even, we are given a choice of how we will react to things. I prefer Joy to all other expression. Who wouldn't really? Who doesn't love to be happy?!? The loss of my daughter is the first time in my life where I am so overcome with sadness that it truly is an effort to be joyful at times.

The blog has been a "safe" place to share the sadness I carry (as well as the Joy) that I do not feel comfortable exposing in person. I feel there is a great value to sharing the emotional struggles grief has forced upon me with other women who are facing similar battles. In our honesty, we can support and love each other, we don't have to remain silenced or isolated by our sorrow. Sometimes I do feel compelled to sensor what I share here knowing that there are people I see daily that cannot understand this grief and it's ugliness. Sometimes that makes me sad because I feel I am choosing to protect myself and those in my "real life" rather than offering solidarity and openness to those in my "virtual life."

Occasionally I am thrown a loop at the consequences of sharing our journey, my grief and our daughters legacy in such a public format. Sometimes I fear I have hurt people's feelings. Occasionally peoples comments hurt. Sometimes it opens the door to criticism of how I share and muddle through life with and without Amelia. I have been tempted to stop blogging, to draw the curtains and keep people out rather than welcoming them in and letting them see God at work in all parts of our lives. It is very scary to reveal your failures as a mother, wife, friend and as a Christian. Particularly scary when you reveal it to strangers you cannot see peaking into your life from the other side of a computer monitor!

But I feel strongly that I should not limit where God chooses to take our daughter's story no matter how that challenges me personally. And so I blog, and I pray, and I pray some more.

I still feel this blog has purpose in reaching other parents having just received a terminal diagnosis or going through the days, weeks, months and years that follow.

I pray that God continue to use me, my family and my daughter to reach people with his saving love and grace.

With all of the above in mind,
I have decided to stick with my original goal to blog here until Amelia's first birthday.
Wednesday will always be her day, whether I blog or not.
I have left the door open beyond that date and will continue to pray for guidance in the direction of Amelia's blog.

I do intend to blog about Amelia's baby brother/sister here on her blog. I feel that this pregnancy, a pregnancy following a loss, has a purpose in sharing God's grace, timing and perfect plan for each of our lives. This child is a part of Amelia and her legacy and in that way alone, has a right to be shared joyfully here on her blog; this journal of LIFE.

I ask for your prayers as I continue this journey of blogging in honor of our sweet girl. I will in turn be saying prayers for you. Prayers that God use our story to bring you closer to him.

On that note, if you would be so kind...
I ask that you share with us if and how our Amelia Grace has impacted your life. I will never tire of hearing the ways in which our Lord has used our little girl to touch you. You can comment on the blog or email me directly if you'd prefer at lislorang@hotmail.com


"These things I have spoken to you, 
that in Me you may have peace. 
In the world you have tribulation, 
but take courage; I have overcome the world." 
John 16:33

Be anxious for nothing, 
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving 
let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, 
which surpasses all comprehension, 
shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:6-7

11 comments:

Andrea said...

Melissa, I will never be able to explain to you how you, Tim, Noah, and Amelia have impacted my life. I truly feel blessed to have had the honor of meeting your entire family. I know Ryan and I don't see you nearly as often as we'd like, but I think and pray for you every day that I wake up. You have opened my heart, mind & soul to so many things that I never knew existed in life. I continue to thank God for giving me the dear pleasure of calling you a friend. ♥

Love Always,

Andrea & Ryan

Jennifer said...

Well I do believe you said it perfectly! Everything that happens in your family's life now is so much a part of Amelia's legacy! Blog away my sweet friend!
Well it is no secret how your sweet baby girl has touched my family. I feel like she and Eli are best of buddies in Heaven. I can picture them walking hand in hand to Jesus's feet where they sit and listen or perhaps ask questions of their own. Our Amelia would be someone different were it not for your Amelia. I love how God's plans are so much greater than ours! Love and hugs your way sweet friend!

Joanna said...

Dear Melissa,
I only came across your blog recently and quickly got caught up in one night. I've also been dealing with the loss of our baby at the end of our first trimester and despite trying my best to get through it, I'm finding that since the New Year, I'm a mess again. Reading your story, Amelia's story, and the story of your family has given me such inspiration to somehow keep muddling through. I cried uncontrollably while reading your blog, for your baby and mine, for all the things we'll never experience with them, for all the sadness we've endured.

You seem to be at peace with Amelia's passing, and I guess I am at peace with the loss of our child as well, but somehow you seem more at peace. Your strength is inspiring, especially on days when I have no strength left...

Brooke said...

Melissa, I struggled with the same thing....but since I started my blog to share life, years ago...I decided to keep mine like that, constantly reflecting on life after loss. It is a hard choice and I totally respect you. I totally agree that I had no idea what the Lord would do with this journey in us...I want to be here as a sounding board for women who lose babies. Anyway, just thinking of you today and I want you to know that. Love from Georgia....to your sweet girl Amelia and you...knowing that your lives have impacted mine. Knowing that she and Briar are sitting together with the Lord...gives me peace.

pennynjon said...

Melissa,
You and Amelia have touched my life so much. I have always found your attitude and your blog inspiring. I think that God shines through your blog and He is using you and Amelia still. You are someone I want to be like and I wish I was such a positive person. I started my blog to have a safe place to talk about Ella and as an outlet for my me to share my feelings, because I still struggle to do that in person. My emotions take over. I also hope that one day someone who is given the diagnosis of anencephaly will see my blog instead of the scary photos and all of the medical talk on the internet. I think if one person choses to carry their baby to term because of Ella's story or Amelia's, it would be amazing. I hope you keep blogging!

Becky said...

I don't have the privilege of knowing you or your family, but I feel like I do through this blog. I was referred here by a family member who does know you as I was fighting for a pro-life bill here in Florida. Your strength is amazing and proof that God is ABLE!

Anonymous said...

It's hard for me to put into words how Amelia has impacted my life. Just know I think about you and her all of the time. You are a true example of a mother's unconditional love and I'm proud to call you my friend. Love, Ash

Anonymous said...

Melissa - I was sent your blog by a mutual family friend. I have been following it since you started. Words cannot describe the admiration I have for you. the respect for putting yourself out there, sharing, grieving, rejoicing, accepting.
I've never lost a child. I have 3 beautiful, healhty children. I cannot begin to fathom what you and your family have gone through. but the honesty about your feelings and faith not only help those that face similar loss, it has helped me greatly in my faith journey. To see the faith that you have in Jesus is profoundly inspiring. So, please, if you have it in your heart, don't stop blogging. You have a true gift in being able to articulate what you are going through. It has touched my heart. I am a better Christian for having followed your journey. May God continue to bless you & your family. Thank you.

Second Helpings Boutique Owner said...

Melissa ~ I have told you before, I put "Read Amelia's Blog" on my calendar, like I put "Pay the Bills." The difference is that reading Amelia's blog leaves me inspired, paying the bills, not so much. You are incredibly talented in your word delivery. I think ending your blog would leave a hole. So, your initial responsibility to the blog changes, your inspiration does not. You are a woman of faith and opptimism, sometimes I need an ounce or two of that. I would love to see more Noah stories and stories of your next little bundle, it helps me to remember to take a step back and enjoy my kids a bit more. You are a human, so to be consumed with sadness about your loss is ok, if the blog is an avenue to share those thoughts, go for it. Those feelings will come and go forever, so should the blog!

Amber V. said...

Melissa, this blog you have done for your sweet Amelia has inspired me in so many ways. I may not comment on each post but I love reading each and every one of them and your ways of expressing your feelings are amazing. It seems every time I bring up Amelia's page I cannot help but swell up with tears and pray for you and your family. Since the beginning of Amelia's journey I look at my son in a completely different way. This is just the way I feel I can only imagine the amount people you have touched that have not posted. Motherhood to me is now a whole new meaning because of you. Stay strong and know that you are one of the strongest most courageous women I know.

Holly said...

I certainly share in your feelings. I have wondered before where to take my blog and it has crossed my mind to stop completely. The thought of leaving this community behind doesn't settle well with me b/c it's basically the only place where I can go to connect with others who understand. At this point in my life I think I still need that. There may come a day when I don't and that's ok. But I think I will always blog for the sake of myself and for remembrance. If anything, I know that perhaps someone who needs my words will come across them and be helped by our journey.

You and I are similar in the attitude that we share. I'm so the glass half full kind of girl. And I'm not one to want to cry in front of others or appear sad.

No doubt your blog and those of others are a lifeline to those who need it. I know that reading the stories of others really helped me.

Amelia is a precious little girl who will always hold a special place in my heart. Her life and her legacy is beautiful.