There is always a proper way to do things. The right way. The expected way. Couples who lose children are supposed to grieve for months or even years before they have more children. That’s what people expect. When people don’t follow the norms, they are judged and talked about and their lives are planned out correctly around dinner tables everywhere.
Usually, Jared and I don’t care. Usually it doesn’t bother us. We got engaged after four months. We married before either of us had graduated. I gave my senior recital when I was three months pregnant. We took a year long break after we did graduate to work stressless jobs and relax. We never had a decent car. We ate at gourmet restaurants. We took trips on the spur of the moment. We took Ryann with us everywhere, and I mean everywhere – to class, to concerts, on planes, trains, and automobiles.
And we didn’t care what people thought. We loved our life and new that we were doing it right.
The one thing that got under our skin was people assuming that Ryann was an accident baby. It was a natural thing for people to assume, and I don’t really blame them for assuming it. Jared and I were both in school and had only been married for six months when we got pregnant, who in their right mind does that on purpose?! We do. And for some reason it really bothered us that people thought that we just made the best of a bad situation when in reality, we had purposefully created the most amazing life we could have possibly imagined.
And that brings us to the present. We’re supposed to wait and grieve and mourn before we even begin to think about having other children. We don’t plan on doing that. And we know that when people start thinking that it’s just another blow that our little family will have to deal with, or that we’re trying to replace Ryann or fill a void, we know that we will be livid. How could anyone possibly imagine that we have any hope of replacing Ryann? And how is it a bad thing to fill a void, a child-shaped void, when we were planning on having more children before we even lost one?
Do not assume to know what is happening in others’ lives. What may be the worst mistake or the heaviest burden for one person may be the most anticipated event for someone else.
We know that there will be excruciatingly hard times that we will go through when we have another one. Wounds that Ryann’s death caused that we won’t encounter until we go down that road again. But for us, it’s a worse thought to live as a quiet, childless family simply because it’s the proper way of things, than add to our family and simply expect the pain to come along with the blinding love.