Things have been hard. Life in general is hard, and I’m just floating through it. But there is still beauty in this world. And for that one thing, I can feel grateful.
Friday the 13th was the point of equidistance—as equally spaced between Adrian’s death as from the beginning of my pregnancy with him. I thought it fitting, then, this was the day my tattoo artist had available. This was the day I received a footprint tattoo honoring my stillborn child.
One year ago today, I put on a black blouse and oversized skirt, tried to put make-up on my face. I should have known better. I never made it far into the day without tears.
The Miranda from a year ago is dead. She died with Adrian. And that needs to be okay. It needs to be okay that I am a different person, that the things that used to make me happy are now different. Permanently.
My son, Adrian James Hernandez, was stillborn exactly one year ago today. And his loss was the first time in my life where there was nothing I could fight and nothing I could do or say. These are my reflections on the past year since his death.
A Letter to My Son on His First Birthday: When I pictured this moment during our pregnancy, I had all the typical first birthday dreams. I thought about outfits, and cute party hats, and an elephant cake you would smash more than eat. Life looks different today.
I don’t think too much about actual dates, and so I missed the anniversary of my 39th week. And this is important to me, because it’s the date my providers had pushed for induction. And I wonder — if I had chosen differently, would I have a living child?
I feel more attuned now, to tragedy. It’s easier to recognize. I know there are things I should say. I should be present and strong. I would never ask someone in tragedy to be strong.
The city wasn’t originally my choice, but it’s where he was born, and now I’m forever tied to it. The birthplace of my firstborn child; the only place he lived before he died.
I know the fear, to even have hope. But I do it anyway. I’m hoping to become pregnant this week, my first try since Adrian’s death. I’m terrified, and I’m trying anyway.
I have never struggled with the shape of my body; it’s just not something that has ever bothered me. But when my son died in my 41st week of pregnancy, I learned there were so many more components to the body image equation. I had a postpartum body and no living child.
I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. I was packing a bag to go to the Magic Kingdom when I realized I was late. I was ecstatic; immediately excited; already looking forward to life with my child. His existence was the most beautiful gift. His absence is an ever-present pain.
I think sometimes about dates and counting. I carried Adrian’s living body for 39 weeks. I carried his dead body for one additional day. I was pregnant for 41 weeks and one day.
Sometimes, I am still a b****. I’m sorry. You don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve any of my anger. You’re just there, sitting closest to me. You shouldn’t have to make any changes.
A last minute trip and a wrong turn. I love you too, my beautiful boy.
I don’t write this to scare you. I’ve been following your journey for the past several months. You remind me so very much of me; the old me. And this is why I write to you.
When I called the funeral home to ask for a certificate of cremation, they asked for my relation to the deceased. It was the first time I said the words, “I’m his mother.” It still hits me, sometimes, even today. I am a mother. I have a son. I AM a mother.
I still feel disloyal sometimes, when I let myself laugh. I still feel, sometimes, like I’ve gone off script. As if there could *be* a script, an idealized way of dealing with loss…
Everything happens, but not for a reason—It is wrong to spread the idea that everything in this life is normal; that everything we experience is necessary; that everything is okay. Violence is not okay. Rape is not okay. A child’s death is never okay. Sometimes, (often!) there genuinely is no reason
One hundred years ago, many pregnancy interventions didn’t exist, and I let myself believe that was the best way. I didn’t consider the other side of this story—one hundred years ago, without interventions, mothers and children often died. Nature isn’t perfect. Nature is pretty deadly.
She moves herself across the country and into a brand new job, convinced that a complete change must be a cure. She breaks down in the middle of unpacking boxes, realizes that the most perfect life is empty without context.
If you were to ask what I want most in the world, besides my son, my answer would be time. Time to grieve, time to process, time to be very still.
I hold on to mementos like these dried sea shells. My cousin’s wife placed them in my hand the month after Adrian died, a symbol of myself and my son.
I fight against happiness. I think that if I let myself smile, I will lose sight of my grief. I will lose him. Again.
No one is purposely tormenting me; life is just inherently unfair. And not just to me–I’ve also realized over this past year that there’s so much more that we all hide under the surface.