Tomorrow, May 31, 2016, would be my daughter Kateri's thirteenth birthday, had she not been stillborn. Losing her changed a lot about me. I would like to think at the end of the day, it made me a better person. I know in some ways, it made me "worse". It gave me anxieties and worries. For many years, I was deeply depressed. Now, thirteen years later, some of the changes are for the better. I am stronger and in some ways wiser. I can love at a deeper level, I am not sure I would be able to, had I not spent the past thirteen years loving her.
Having lost a child, has changed the way I parent Gigi. I think I would be a completely different mom to Gigi, had I never lost her older sister. In the back of my mind, I am always aware of the possibility that I could lose her at any minute. I do my best to enjoy and appreciate every single second. I try to remember to be grateful for the gift of every second of motherhood, even the bad ones. Even the ones where I am overwhelmed and feel like I am a complete failure.
One of my biggest regrets with Kateri, is I have no pictures. No ultrasounds. Nothing. No mementos. Nothing.
I have more than made up for that with Gigi. I think at this point, I have over 40,000 pictures of her. Yes, forty thousand pictures. It may even be more. She is not even three years old yet. So, that means that I have more than 10,000 pictures per each year of her life. I am perfectly okay with it. Some people are not okay with it. They have judged me for it. They have made their snide remarks. They have cracked jokes at my expense. Some have just outright thrown insults my way.
In the beginning, when Gigi was young, I got defensive and defended myself and my right to take pictures of my child, and post whatever I wanted to Facebook. Now, I just do not care. I can respect their right to feel however they way, and say whatever they want, and I won't judge them for it. I wish they would not judge me, but I won't judge them. Two wrongs do not make a right.
Besides, they do not know me. They do not know what I have been through. They do not know what I go through. They do not know my fears and anxieties. They do not know that I have two cysts in my brain, that are stealing my memories, and I make up for it, by capturing as many memories as I am able in pictures. They don't know that I have no pictures of my childhood, and I want Gigi to have pictures of hers. They don't know that I have a daughter in Heaven, and no pictures on Earth of her, and I regret that.
They judge me, without knowing the whole story. That is okay. I won't judge them, after all, I don't know their story either.
Every single day, for the last thirteen years I have hurt. I think about Kateri daily. Every single day, since she was born, I have looked at Gigi, and thought about how she has a big sister in Heaven. I wonder how I am going to tell her about Kateri. I wonder what Kateri is thinking as she looks down from Heaven. I wonder if I make Kateri proud. I wonder if Kateri would have been similar to what Gigi is like, or if they would have been complete opposites. Every year on her birthday, I hurt, but every year I heal a little bit more.
This year, I built a Memorial Garden in Kateri's honor, and that has really helped me to feel some happiness. I am not good with flowers and plants, and it is doing really well, and I cannot help but think it is having some help from above, and that makes me smile. I am not done with it. I plan on adding to it slowly. A very kind member of my Mommitment mom's group bought a gorgeous statue for it. I will have to write a post and include pictures of the garden, once the seeds grow. I am hoping by mid-June it will be in full bloom!!
I just wanted to get it off my chest, that it bugged me that I was being judged and ridiculed about the "insane" amount of pictures I have, but I no longer care. Whether people can understand where I am coming from or not, that is okay.
If you understand that it is silly to judge another parent over something as trivial over them posting pictures of their kids on Facebook, or them choosing to breastfeed rather than formula feed, or maybe they choose to formula feed rather than breastfeed, or maybe they choose to home school rather than send their children to public school... If you want to raise your children however you see best, and you want to support other moms raising their children however works best for them. If you would love a wonderful support group, where you can talk with other moms, and not be judged and ridiculed....
You should totally join us in the #Mommitment movement!!!
You can sign the #Mommitment petition on change.org!!!
You can join the #Mommitment Group on Facebook!!!
You can visit the #Mommitment website!!!
I hope to see you there and look forward to getting to know you!!!
On a total side note... How is it even possible that in a few hours, I will be the mom of a teenager?! Yes, she is my angel baby, but she is my baby, and my angel will be a teenager. I am still a bit in shock about that.