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?
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.
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…
On 28 June 2017, I was 6 days overdue. It was the height of summer in Texas, and I blasted the AC in my home. I lay down on the couch and watched my son kicking and moving in my belly. He was so active that night! By the time I woke up the following morning, he was dead.
The death of my child is an event that lives with me; his absence is palpable; his presence is missing. And this is when I truly began to understand this monster called grief. You ask how one gets past losing a baby, and my answer is still—no. You don’t.
For the most part, I love Daniel Tiger. It’s a cute show with some deeper elements, and some generally great life lessons. There are two areas, though, in which the show gets it wrong, and unfortunately these are big ones for me.
There is a tendency in our culture to avoid talking about “negative” things like loss and death. We often use euphemisms or try to cast things in a better light. I choose not to do this. Death is not a dirty word; it simply IS.
Two big influencers lost children this year. In the wake of heavy criticism of their public grief, I wrote this piece in defense of sharing photos and talking about our beloved deceased children. Today, that story was published in Scary Mommy.
The death of my son changed me as a person more than any other event in my lifetime. The death of a loved one does that.
Death changes you. Permanently.
People like to talk about healing after loss, but “healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as regrowing a missing limb. It’s not happening.
June is an intense month for me, because each June, I remember what it’s like to go in for a routine examination and be told my child has no heartbeat. My greatest wish for the world today is to understand the power of GENUINELY informed consent.
Although I had a funeral for Adrian, I also wanted to do something special to celebrate his life on what would have been his first birthday. I wanted something not so much focused on grief, but more on his impact; a type of celebration. I had already decided to build this website, and so it seemed natural to have a party and document both its launch and my son’s short but beautiful life.
Our children are not shameful. They are beautiful, real people. In my opinion, the only shame comes from the perception that they should hidden away. I will never stop sharing photos of my deceased child, simply because he IS my child.
Most days I feel “fine.” I live life and I care for your sister, and when the subject comes up, I talk about you. I love talking about you. And sometimes I feel bad, even though I know better, that I hardly cry anymore.
This past year has been different. You’d think the biggest part would be your sister, and of course she’s part of it. There’s also me. I’ve been developing. I’ve been learning and hiding in equal measures.
After my son died at the end of a term pregnancy in 2017, I created this list of things I would like to see done differently in prenatal care, both before & after loss. These are things that would have made a difference in my pregnancy. These things might have kept my son alive.
Child Care is expensive. Pretty much everything involved in raising a child is expensive. I’m not complaining, though. It’s all better than the alternative.
Miscarriage is only what happened to my body. Stillbirth is only what happened to yours. Your death is what happened to my soul. Your death changed my whole world.
I don’t know where my son is now. I don’t know if we’ll meet again, or if he’s at peace. I know that I miss him with a passion I can’t put into words. I know I would have given anything, including my own life, to guarantee him life on earth. I STILL don’t believe in God.
One day, someday, I will die. I don’t know what will happen then, and that’s okay with me. I don’t need confirmation or thoughts of reunification. I don’t want to be told my son waits for me in the afterlife.
There really never is an appropriate time to talk about tragedy. There really never is a time when the innocent are ready to listen. And that’s sad, and it’s also wrong. Because death isn’t the thing that only happens to other people. Tragedy isn’t the thing you can ignore and it won’t hurt you.
Money is a difficult subject in general. It doesn’t surprise me, then, that money matters associated with death are doubly hard. I never thought I would be reading about the financial “benefits” of losing a child. I never thought anything like that would be relevant to me.
After he died, after that scream, I shattered. It wasn’t that time flowed differently. It was a completely different life.
I know what you want to talk about. I know how it pains you when others try to chase your words away. It isn’t a question of guilt. It’s fact — if you had chosen to listen, I would be alive.
I remember every moment of my pregnancy. I remember every moment of my son’s short life. I remember conception and ultrasounds and morning sickness. I remember every tiny kick and movement. I treasure these things. I treasure these memories.
Because I think love includes talking about hard things. Because I think love includes telling someone, “When you fall on hard times, I am here for you. When things go terribly wrong, I won’t run away.”
Death has never been my friend. The necessity of her existence is no more comfort than my own. I don’t hate her, but I look at her the way she looks at Disease. We are all harbingers. We all bring Pain.
In the black-and-white photos, he looks like he’s sleeping. Photos are difficult; they don’t tell the whole story.
She was probably the most innocent person in the room. And that’s funny, I guess, because she was so incredibly book smart.