The sixth question in celebration of 100 posts comes from Alyssa's mom, Ann. She asked "How will you bring Gracie into Beana's life?"
I think that it will be relatively easy to make sure that our children yet to come know that Gracie existed, and how much she was loved. Gracie has a wall in our living room - right now it's just her shelf, but we also have a print of her Forever Remembered photo collage to get framed and the new photo board that was given to us last week to put up. So she will be here for them to see. They will always be part of whatever we might do in the future to honor her - our hospital's memory walk, the March of Dimes walk, holiday/birthday traditions, etc.
I think that birth order probably has a lot to do with how lost babies are integrated into families. When the lost baby is not the first born, there are often older children waiting with anticipation for the arrival of the new sibling. When that sibling never comes home, they live the loss. They may not understand at that moment, but it's part of their lives from day one. I think it's a little different when the lost baby is the first born, since the younger siblings have obviously not lived through the anticipation, excitement and loss. I have to admit, that I am somewhat worried about creating a complex for Beana. Gracie will always be our first born, but Beana will 'functionally' be our oldest child. I don't want Beana (or any of our children) to ever feel like she is living in Gracie's shadow...so I anticipate that we will have to work hard to find a balance between maintaining Gracie's memory as part of our family dynamics and not making the rest of the kids feel like they are second rate. It kind of makes me wonder how the question of number of children and birth order will be answered in 10 years. Beana is obviously not our first born or oldest, but functionally, in the eyes of much of the world, she will be (again, that potential complex comes into play). That is definitely not something we can answer or figure out now...but certainly something to think about...
But for now, we will maintain Gracie's wall, and our children will know and understand that the baby in the pictures is their older sister. How everything else will unfold remains to be seen.