amy courts: en route

Observing Grief
May 28, 2011, 11:14 am
Filed under: Baby, Culture, Faith and Faith Life, Home Life, Media & Art

“…there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it. There is [no] device which will make pain not to be pain.” (CS Lewis, A Grief Observed)

In the days after returning home from the hospital, I had a number of heated conversations with God. I was angry that I never had the chance or opportunity to bargain with Him, and hurt that He’d seemingly cruelly left me without something that felt so essential to being me.

Oh, the things I would’ve given up in exchange for my uterus. Almost anything. Anything but what could have saved it from the start – Elijah and his daddy.

I mentally flogged myself for all those times in high school and college when I foolishly begged – pleaded – for someone to come and remove my uterus so I wouldn’t suffer those wretched, debilitating cramps ever again.

I was clueless.

I look back at those old blogs and shake my head.

I worried about losing sleep, my changing marriage, not getting showers, doing laundry, keeping a clean house, and losing my career. From the time I learned I was pregnant until May 6, 2011, my worst fear was that it’d take years to get my pre-baby body back…or that I’d never see it again. And I loathed the idea of a c-section; those scars are so ugly.

Today…not so much. I don’t get a lot of sleep, but being awake and getting to stare at and shower with kisses the most beautiful, daily-changing face in the world (without being called a creepy stalker), is sweeter than any dream I can imagine. I don’t want to miss a moment. My marriage? If entering the covenant five years ago didn’t do it, this gift and loss are creating the unbreakable bond. Showers, laundry, and home? I’m clean enough, deodorant and hats are magic, and my newborn doesn’t care about clean parents, clothes, or floors. And my career? Surely more songs will come; they always do. But for now, my son, his father, and my Savior are the only songs I want to sing, and the only ones I want to sing them for.

About those pounds I so feared…It’s three weeks out and I’ve lost 32 of the 37 pounds I gained during pregnancy (roughly 2lbs of that was the uterus I lost…). Already I miss the weight and all it represented. I look in the mirror and wonder if I ever really did have a baby inside me. I can’t imagine a greater insult than, “You look like you were never pregnant!” Especially now that I know it can’t ever happen again.

And that scar? Thank God for that precious scar. It’s my proof. If the weekly pictures and maternity photos are worth a thousand words each, my scar is the definitive word. That’s all I need: the one word.

I get why Jesus cherishes and celebrates His scars. They mean…everything.

Anyway, as grief goes, I don’t know how it works, but I’m sure it’s happening as I speak. And there’s no way around grief but to go through it.

As Lewis said…”there’s nothing you can do with suffering but to suffer it;” nothing that can make the pain anything but what it is. All we can do is hope to find suffering’s partner, comfort, somewhere along the way.

Even if Comfort is simply to be “sharing in the sufferings of Christ.”


14 Comments so far
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It all makes sense in God’s mind. The rest of us just scramble. It sounds like you’ve got some good thoughts going on there, keep doing what you are doing. Which, is all we can do, right? Nothing more. You are enough. What you are doing, is enough. And you are going to be a GREAT mother. 🙂

Comment by David Hopkins

The scars remain beautiful. Shattered hearts grow larger. That’s what the Lord has taught me over and over again through the deepest of pain.

“The dance of life finds its beginnings in grief……Here a completely new way of living is revealed. It is the way in which pain can be embraced, not out of a desire to suffer, but in the knowledge that something new will be born in the pain.” ~Henry Nouwen

Love you, my friend.


Comment by wordpainters

I love this. As usual, you said the right thing. Thank you.

Comment by amycourts

Amy, this is so beautiful and eloquent…and heart-breaking. I didn’t know about all these events surrounding Elijah’s birth, and I’m sorry. And I’m praying for you as you grieve, as you suffer, but also as you discover the joys of a newborn life.

By the way, A GRIEF OBSERVED is my favorite non-fiction work by C.S. Lewis. And I see your friend Ronne likes Henri Nouwen. Keep yourself in good literary, spiritual, and familial company, dear one.

Praying for you, with love!
Amy in PA

Comment by Amy

It is a strange paradox, the exquisite joy paired with exquisite pain. I burst.

Like you, A Grief Observed is quickly becoming my favorite by Lewis…even over Mere Christianity. The wonders of “getting” what you’re reading… 🙂

Thank you!

Comment by amycourts

This is tough and it’s hard to know how to comment, though I feel like I want to. In the midst of loss and grief, the kindest thing anyone said to me was from Psalm 56… talking about how God gathers our tears. I am so glad you are taking some comfort in the arms of God, your sweet husband, and in the delight of your precious new baby. Motherhood is a gift so many long for, but will never have.
Wishing you continued healing, peace, and comfort in this journey.

Comment by Elizabeth

Amy, thank you for sharing all of this. I know that it is painful, but you have shared with great eloquence and faith. I admire your ability to see God in all of this, and I know that He has even greater things still planned for you!!

Much love.

Comment by Johanna

Thank you. The funny thing is, there really are only two ways to respond: either in faith, or in an absolute loss of it. Greater comfort lies in the former.

And seeing God in it? Oh, that’s a blog to come. But I can say this: Never, ever has He been so present. I can’t not see Him.

Comment by amycourts

[…] Amy writes a poignant post about the experience and what she’s gained from loss: “Observing Grief.” She also from my favorite C.S. Lewis non-fiction work, A Grief Observed.  Still praying […]

Pingback by Friday Faves: The Eddy-and-Anastasia Edition « Backseat Writer

[…] post on her difficult delivery and the loss of her uterus.  If you didn’t read “Observing Grief” last week,  you definitely need to read it this […]

Pingback by Friday Faves: Heart Sick Edition « Backseat Writer

I know you posted this a while back, but I’m sure it still applies now. It’s interesting how one minute we see life one way and the next is totally different when we lose something. I love it that us women nowadays can spread more awareness and talk about the issues we deal with vs. it being a hush hush thing. The more I’ve shared my experiences the more I’ve realized that i’m not alone and have been able to encourage others to open up as well. Us women definitely go through some hard stuff. Judging us from the outside, some people would never know how much pain we go thru.

Comment by Amanda

“It is a strange paradox, the exquisite joy paired with exquisite pain. I burst.” I love that! Childbirth and childrearing in a nutshell!

Comment by Amanda

Truth truth!

Comment by amycourts

I’ve been praying for you ever since you had Elijah and I read that blog post. I have PCOS and have been told that I may never have children (won’t know for quite a while, until we’re ready to really try). I can’t imagine the pain you’re going through, but my heart tugs and tugs nonetheless.

Comment by Stitch

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