I was a mother from the moment I saw that second blue line. I have remained a mother, through my son’s death and his younger sister’s birth. And this May is my SIXTH mothers day.
Sometimes pregnancy doesn’t end in a living baby. And sometimes there is simply no way to know that there is any danger until after your baby has already died.
Friends and family may misstep at times after loss, or struggle with saying the ‘wrong’ thing. But sometimes, we find someone who gets it right. Who was that person for you? What did they do or say that brought you comfort? How did that make you feel? How does it make you feel today?
One of the hardest parts of losing a child in their youth is all of the memories that never got to be. What memories are you missing with your deceased child? What dreams did you have for them that you didn’t get to see? What moment aches the most when you realize it will forever be missing?
How do you feel about the future? Is it something you look forward to, or something you’d prefer to avoid? How do you see yourself in the future? Is there anything you’d like to accomplish, or anywhere you’d like to see? What is one thing you would like to do or be or feel or see?
What is the one thing you wish you could share with the world about grief or loss or tragedy? If the world knew this one thing, how would your life be different? How would theirs?
The bereaved sometimes keep thoughts and feelings inside, worried that what they have to say will be perceived as negative, or hurtful, or will simply be misunderstood. If you could write a letter to someone who you’ve struggled in communicating with, who would it be? What would you say? What do you think their reaction would be? What keeps you from sending this letter today?
I have a not-so-secret secret. My secret is that social media is an important part of my life…And I’m okay with that., because it’s been helpful to me.
It was months after Adrian’s death, and I was sitting on the couch, trying to focus on mindless TV. It was the point after death where sympathy had mostly evaporated. And I didn’t want casseroles, but damn—I was lonely!
I used to lean pretty naturally, thinking that everything in nature was naturally the best. Natural living; natural birthing–these things made sense to me. Humanity had been doing them for millennia. Who was I to question them?
I think on the surface this is easily understandable, and yet, somehow it’s something I have to keep repeating. I have two children, forever and always.
People who haven’t dealt with tragedy are often made uncomfortable by any mention of the life that remains. It’s as if there is this irrevocable connection between my son’s death and his existence; as if these things are forever entwined instead of merely adjacent.
Before my daughter existed, I used to wish I could go back in time and save my son. And now, I struggle with this. Even in my imagination, it’s impossible to choose. I love BOTH of them. And I can’t have them both at the same time.
When I was new in my grief, I both gained and lost people…The one thing I didn’t expect was that I would have to remove some people from my life because they weren’t capable of providing support without worsening my grief.
Suicide is a complicated subject, and one I think best explored by listening to those who have been there. This Suicide Awareness and Prevention month, I hope you will take the time to read, listen, and absorb.
If you know a parent with both a living and deceased child, it’s something to be aware of. Because the most supportive thing you can say in that situation is to acknowledge the work that goes into raising and grieving, simultaneously.
I was only 35 and I was sucked in by wanting everything to be natural, and you made me feel like I could trust you. You failed me, though. You allowed my child to die.
It was important that I have a personal connection with the sperm donor; that I meet him & get to know him; that he knows me. I wasn’t looking for a romantic partner, but I was looking for someone I could trust and respect, someone to meet my children without being “Dad”. I got that & so much more.
If you truly want to support someone who feels guilt, fault, or blame after the death of their child, then listen, acknowledge, and mirror back to them. This is so much more powerful and authentic than any glib phrase. Please don’t tell them “It wasn’t your fault”
There’s an elephant in the room, and it is more than the fact that stillbirth exists. It’s the fact that pregnant patients, even today, aren’t being given the proper prenatal education to understand and make the most informed choices in their care. This needs to change.
Pregnancy after loss is one of the most beautifully life-affirming and also simultaneously terrifying events your loved ones can experience. If your loved one has shared this news with you, it is likely because they trust you to be there for them, in the bad as well as the good. Be worthy of that trust.
It’s so much more than high blood pressure; What I wish I’d known about Preeclampsia before it killed my child
Risk factors, symptoms, diagnostic criteria, and potential impacts of one of the most common ailments in pregnancy is critical information. It’s information that could have prevented the death of my child. It’s information that prepares a preeclampsia survivor like me for potential impacts yet to come. It’s necessary information we all have a right to know.
We need to talk about grief.
We need to talk about death & the fact that it happens.
We need to talk about relationships & how they don’t go away even when someone dies.
We need to talk about the realities of loss & the complexities inherent in planning a life for someone who never gets to live it.
The only thing that happens when we refuse to consider the possibility of death, is that we refuse at the same time to plan for it, or prepare. We refuse to plan for some fairly necessary things like life insurance. Or safe pregnancy…
I am the mother whose body swelled with pregnancy.
I am the mother who dreamed and wanted and planned.
I am the mother who left my heart in a small and curtained alcove room.
I am the mother who screamed and cried and begged.
People are going to feel uncomfortable about death and grief…It’s not your job to comfort people who become discomfited by hearing your story. That’s on them.
I met Liam only months before Adrian’s first birthday. We were thrown together by circumstances, and I was still only focusing on the things right in front of me—eat, sleep, breathe. I was taking steps into the world, but they were tiny. And it was literally weeks before I noticed Liam was noticing me. And he still had to finally, bluntly come right out and say it.
I was weird before Adrian died, and then after his death I realized I was more weird. I don’t believe in a higher power. I don’t worship or pray or seek meaning. And in places here, like in Megan’s world, I think I find like minds. But sometimes not entirely. And sometimes not at all outside this world.