Monday, March 19, 2012

On Moving, and Moving On

Surprise, we moved again! This is our fourth move in four years. You'd think we have the whole moving process down-pat by now, but considering the timing of this particular move, it was CHAOS as usual! (Well, actually, it was more chaos than usual...If you're not aware of recent events, refer to our {previous blog post}.) 

That being said, we had the help of some great friends and family. A special thanks to Ben's mom for keeping us well-fed, and to Ben's best friend Luke for basically packing and moving half the house single-handedly! 

Well, after living apart for a few months, we're so happy to be together again, even though that usually means Ben's in the office studying while I'm getting work done on my laptop in the living room. We can't be in the same room or we won't get ANYTHING done. And forget date nights...They're quite rare, so basically we're living together, but still never see each other. I'd laugh about it, but I think it's one of those things that will be funnier later in life. Just kidding. I'm rolling on the floor laughing right now. Anyway, such is life, with a husband in pharmacy school, and with me as the breadwinner! We are blessed.

Well, now begins the never-ending task of settling in - I say "never-ending," because - at least, in my experience - you never really do get all the way settled in. Some boxes NEVER get unpacked, or at least not right away. We have at least a dozen boxes we've carried with us from move to move, and we don't even remember what's in them anymore. The other challenge is that, instead of organizing all of your possessions perfectly from the moment they've left the box, you have to be happy with what works for now - i.e. storing the canned food in a bottom cabinet, because you haven't been able to figure out any other place for it - because life keeps going. Here are a few more lessons I've learned that make the transition from living out of boxes to getting settled in a little easier (and I would do well to remember these better the next time we move):

Overnight bag - To me, without my overnight bag, it would be absolutely impossible to get along for the first few days without going crazy (I can't guarantee you won't go crazy anyway). It's simple, get all of your personal essentials in one place as if you were going on a week-long trip. This will help combat the "exploding box" effect, which will inevitably occur to some degree within the first week, as you and your family go through box after box to locate your most necessary possessions.

Picnic tote - Picnic supplies are another must. Believe me, you will be so glad that you don't have to unpack the whole kitchen the first day just so that you can eat Chinese takeout and cold cereal. Pack a canvas tote or basket with paper plates, bowls, napkins, forks/knives/spoons, cups, paper towels, wet wipes, and a trash bag. You could even pack a blanket and make your first meal a fun picnic on the living room floor. 

Other essentials - If you don't take any other advice from me, please hear this - You don't want to smack your forehead and realize that the items you need for basic sanitation and comfort are at the bottom of the box in the back of the moving trailer. I'm talking about paper towels, hand soap, shower curtains (plus rods and rings), sheets/pillows/blankets, bathroom towels, basic cleaning supplies, pen and paper, tape, and scissors. Believe me, someone's going to need to use the bathroom the moment you arrive at your new place. And since moving is dirty-business, someone's going to want to take a shower within 24 hours. And you're most definitely going to want to sleep. All of this may happen before you have a chance to unpack your first box. So, pack these items in a duffle bag, and take them with you in your car instead of the moving trailer.

Pack it as is - This should've been a no-brainer, but I learned the hard way... If possible, pack your belongings the way that you've already organized them - i.e. pack silverware IN the drawer organizer, shoes ON the shoe rack, clothes ON the hanger (use a curtain rod to hang them up in the trailer or the back of your car), toys IN the toy box, and so on...Or at least pack the organizer with the items that it's for. It will probably take up more room, but it will save you so much time digging through box after box! 

Moving on...


Sorry, this is a long post, but since we had our second miscarriage the same week that we packed up and moved, it's relevant. Now that life is somewhat more settled, we've been able to move on from our loss. The worst of the stress is over. I'm at peace, but I'd forgotten how empty it feels. Like you're not quite a whole person anymore. You've lost a part of you with that baby. Literally, you've watched life flush your dreams down the toilet.

But, at the same time, as stressful as this second loss was (the big move, plus the weeks of uncertainty and anxiety about serious complications, whereas the first loss was over before I had time to really grasp what was happening), I still feel like I was more prepared for it this time. I knew how it was going to be. So, if you're struggling to move on with life "as normal" after losing a baby during pregnancy, I hope this helps.
I know that for me, reading blogs from others who've been through the same thing and overcome it beautifully has been a big part of the healing process. That's why I want to offer my view, also.

The down side
- You're going to feel just fine - even great - some days, and some days not. You're probably going to think about every milestone that you should be celebrating, and sometimes it will feel like it's all you can think about. Some people - strangers or no - are going to say things that make you feel like it's your fault or like losing a baby during pregnancy doesn't really matter. This can be very frustrating. For you, it's like losing a loved one, but for the rest of the world, life goes on.

The up side - Just know that you have friends and family who love you and feel for you, whether they've been through a similar loss before or can only guess at the grief you're dealing with. God knows your pain, too. He wants you to be a mother to that child as much as you do. He's not offended if you cry or feel frustrated or disappointed, but He can help lift you out of the darkness and fill the emptiness. Most importantly, He's has given you so much in this life to be happy about, so that through His grace, you can find joy even in your grief.

For us, it hurts to keep hoping, but we know God wants us to keep moving on and not to give up. It's hard to trust my body with another little life that's so special to me, and it's even harder for me to be patient, knowing it could likely be another year again or longer before we have another chance. But, I have a sense of peace and patience that could have only come from God.

And we hope you'll keep us in your thoughts and prayers! The reason we've chosen to be so open about such a personal struggle is because we treasure the words of support and prayers that come from loved ones and friends, and, again, because we hope to offer support to those who've been through similar experiences. So keep in touch! We'll keep you updated here, as usual. :)