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So.

This is where my story unfolds. 

Well, I shouldn't say my story, but our story. Mine and my sweet Beatrix's.

In spring 2010 our family learned we would be welcoming another baby. We were nervous but happy. My husband and I were getting a little older and we already had a full house, but in the instant we knew our daughter existed, she was loved.

Fast forward a slight bit, to the fall, when (after months of medical testing and uncertainty about our daughter's future) we were given the news no parent wants to hear: our baby had an incurable, lethal condition, and would not survive for long once she was born, if she survived at all.

Despite the shock we firmly determined to do all we could for her. In the end, this proved to be precious little. When she was born her lungs were not developed enough for her to breath, and she passed away peacefully in my arms two hours after birth.

(You can read about that here).

In the months which followed I began keeping this online "grief journal". It was never meant to turn into a "blog", but was instead a way to communicate my feelings without having to engage in exhausting conversation about my sadness. I could shout it all out for the world -- and my friends and family -- to see, and it would help to dispel any confusion regarding where I was in the process. 

Over time I began to write more intentionally, within the pro-life community: my family had previously founded a website for our daughter's disorder, and I was hearing familiar stories from the moms who contacted me. Stories of doctors who were attempting to bully them into abortions. Stories of family members who felt the need to share their opinions on carrying to term, and most frightening stories of doctors who refused to even contemplate trying to save affected babies once they were born. My daughter's story was helping to change people's minds within the debate. She was saving babies lives.

About four years after losing our Beatrix, I began working with Save the 1, pro-life advocacy for exceptional cases: babies prenatally diagnosed with birth defects and/or who were conceived during a sexual assault. In doing so I've been given more opportunities to share Beatrix's stories with a wider audience. This opportunity also helped me sharpen my skills and flesh out all the pro-life, pro-choice arguments people usually use when dealing with exceptional cases.

Over time I've been fortunate enough to share our story with a number of other publications and via personal messages with moms in the same situation. 

But.... I always come back here to my original "grief" journal. Even though I've now morphed into full-fledged writer, I decided to keep this little writing exactly as it was, warts and all. You will find a lot of bad writing, extensive use of hyperbole, a distinct lack of "SEO friendly posting", and horrible photo editing skills. In short, you'll quickly realize this is not a professional writers site. (I do have that, here.)

I've left all the ugly, terribly romantic, poorly written stuff up because it's part of the journey I've taken with my Beatrix. It's also an evidence of incredible growth.

You can see here through here, the casual writing of a mom in grief.

Here through here, you see the portions of the journey where I attempted to be "like everyone else". Because I thought everyone else knew what they were talking about... then I realized everyone else was writing to make money, not to tell a story. This is why every mommy blog you read tells almost the same story, hawks the same products, and shares the same arts and crafts with a sprinkling of down-home-wisdom. I'm not looking to make any money here- the ads pay for this fantastic piece of internet real estate (we never did become a 501(c)3). I just want people to know that a prenatal diagnosis doesn't automatically mean abortion. There are other, beautiful options for their child.

Here is where (I think) I began the current portion of the journey. It's what I call the "after-after", and is it ever a good place to be. I've reconnected with my Lutheran roots, and am currently writing almost exclusively on how our perception of death affects our faith. Like everything else I've written, it's all part of the process. I may occasionally write about something else, and I most likely will move on to another subject as my grief journey changes course, but so far: this has been the best part of the journey.

Because it's the part where I stopped grieving and began to embrace joy again.