Mirror, Mirror ~ The Comparison Trap
I am not going to over think this one. I'm just going to say what came to my mind when I read what this week was about.
First, that if I have learned anything from Jonathan's life it's GRACE...we all desperately want it and need it.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
My next thought is that I have truly not felt the comparison trap in the online baby loss community. Maybe that is because it is online and there is an aspect of real life that is not there. Maybe it's because I have felt it so harshly in real life. Maybe it's that the online community has been a refuge for me and I choose not to see it. I am just not sure, but for me most everyone that has dealt with baby loss (or even child loss) makes me feel very validated. Someone once told me that if your baby took a breath of air their life is worth so much more in baby loss circles, but I just have never felt that from anyone.
From the beginning of life without Jonathan I was terrified of comparisons. Right when he was born I was so scared people would love him less (or think we did) because of the way he looked. I have sadly felt that if Jonathan were a full term fat baby boy people would have allowed me to grieve deeply or loved him more. Admittedly I might be wrong.....I have certainly heard from mommies that had fat little babies that went to Heaven, that they still felt judged and rushed.
By far my worst fear is that people would dismiss Jonathan's life because it was short or because of the way he looked.
One of the most hurtful comments of comparisons that my heart had to deal with was "It must be so much more difficult to lose a full term baby". That was right after seeing a picture of Jonathan, I was so hurt and heartbroken.
I just have to ask those that have living children....
DO you love the older one more?
DO you love the "pretty" one more?
Most mommies would say "No, of coarse not!" Our motherly love is not based on time but a connection in our hearts from God. Of coarse if I lost an older child there would be more memories to mourn and different aspects to grief. However my love for Jonathan is just as deep and real as it is for my other kids. There is a small fear in my heart even as I write this that the reader will compare my love for Jonathan and judge it.
However my love for him and Jesus outweighs the fear:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has to do with punishment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
~1 John 4:18
When I held that baby boy I loved him completely with my whole heart, as much as I loved my other children at their birth.
What has helped me the most to get past the hurt of comparison is simply believing people do not understand. No one has ever, nor will ever, walk the path God has called me to walk. I know that my love for Jonathan is deep and real and I by no means have to prove it.
I hope that I never make another mommy feel judged in her grief and that my heart would be less likely to judge anyone for anything because of Jonathan.
I pray that I would give grace, like the grace I have been shown.
That I would love and be compassionate to others with all their struggles, no matter what they are.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
~2 Corinthians 12:9
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace
~2 Thessalonians 2:16