Another Hope Mom and I were recently discussing how our losses have affected our love for our other children. After her son went to Jesus, someone had comforted her with the words that her heart had expanded to love three children, and with one of them in Heaven, the other two would be experiencing a little extra love that many children don't receive. She reflected to me how accurate that word had become to her, and that her love for her son in Heaven had now overflowed onto her other kids. Her love for him was not stifled, stopped, or locked away in a memory box. It is a live, participating love that enables her to relish the smiles and joys of her living children. It enables her to bear with them more gently on difficult days, during tantrums or sickness, because she remembers how precious it is to have them in the first place.
Her love spills over.
It costs us something precious to allow love for our Hope Baby to spill over. It's tempting to snuggle the memories close to your heart, filling your days with "What if" and "If only". It's tempting to view the world through the lens of your heartache, and seeing his or her shadow in your everyday activities. It's tempting - so tempting - to think, "I should have two children with me. I should be going crazy trying to juggle this many children..." And of course, we should not forget our Hope Babies. They are a beautiful and unique blessing, a precious sprinkling of the truth that the best (Heaven) is yet to come. But in order to allow our love for them to spill over, it requires little sacrifices along the way. It requires laying down our longing for them in order to fully engage with our living children. It demands the courage to see each day with our living children (and husbands, family, and friends for that matter) as of infinite value - an undeserved gift.
I'm thankful for this Hope Mom, and her beautiful determination to be a better mom because of her Hope Baby. Her love for him has indeed expanded, spilling over onto her family and even unsuspecting friends like me.