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Grief can be defined as: the normal process of reacting to a loss. More often than not when we hear the word grief, we think of losing a loved one. But there can also be grief from the loss of other things... Moving to a new area and saying goodbye to your now home, divorce and having to pick up the pieces of this shattered life and starting over, getting turned down for your dream job. These all can be losses in our lives.

Sometimes overlooked is the grief that can happen as a result of the loss of expectations.

When I was a newly pregnant mom, tons of expectations ran through my head with the arrival of my first baby. I expected I would give birth to an 8 pound something baby with 10 fingers and 10 toes. They would check every "healthy" box and go home in 2 days.

I expected that this new baby would grow, develop and hit all the developmental milestones. The basics of spoon feeding, sitting, crawling, weight bearing in legs, saying 'mama' eventually, and walking would all be met in the appropriate window of time.

I expected to be able to go to the grocery store and set my baby at the front of the shopping cart. I imagined a house in tornado status as I chased this child around from one room to the next. I expected "normalcy" in what raising a child looked like.

With Peyton's birth, it didn't take long for me to start seeing my expectations crumble. This new world looked absolutely nothing like the world I had in my head. With this difference in the two worlds, came an intense amount of grief that still bombards me. The thing about grief is that we can go through the stages in no particular order, with no set length of time, and with such unpredictability. There are days I am still majorly in denial and other days where I have 110% acceptance that this is my world. In a few hours I may feel raging anger and then be sobbing on the floor with full blown depression a couple hours after that.

Each day and each new life event brings with it feelings that I can never predict. Peyton had her pre-k orientation yesterday and it took everything in me to not cry during the middle of it. This upcoming preschool experience is yet again another picture that I did not originally have in my head.

I often feel like a bad person for feeling the anger and the depression and for wishing my life looked like that original vision. But the thing that I am trying to learn, is that there is no right or wrong with grief. Grieving looks different on everyone. Life is traumatic and it will throw your emotions for a loop. Having a child with special needs when I expected to have a typical child most definitely has thrown my emotions every which way. Grief is hard and it is inevitable. It can hit us with unbelievable force, but I think it truly shows us how resilient we can be in the face of it.

Do I love Peyton any less because she is not what I expected? 10000% no. While she may not be expected, she is also so much more than I ever expected. I never expected my heart to grow in love as much as it has. I never expected to feel as much joy as I feel when I look at her smile. And I never expected to truly learn and fully appreciate the phrase, "Never take life for granted."

Sometimes expectations aren't going to happen and it is okay. The new picture could be way more beautiful than you could have ever imagined.

Blog post written by Peyton's mommy Jessica Farley and from Journey with me, Peyton Lea blog.

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