Miranda's Blog, Bereaved Mother - Stillbirth & Child Loss; Mental Health After Loss; Pregnancy & Parenting After Loss; Grief Positivity & Support | overlaid on image of Miranda in Kaui'i

My name is Miranda Hernandez, and I’m a bereaved mother. My firstborn child Adrian was stillborn on 30 June 2017. After his death, writing was a huge part of how I honored my love and processed my grief. This blog is a collection of my thoughts on stillbirth, child loss, mental health after loss, pregnancy & parenting after loss, grief positivity, and grief support.

Blog of a Bereaved Mother

If you enjoy these pieces, you may also be interested in posts written as part of the Write Your Grief program, and/or in downloadable graphics available in the graphics blog. I have also published pieces on Scary Mommy, Quora, and Medium.

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3 Years, 3 Months

3 years, 3 months ago, Adrian was born silent into this world. This year, in my year of outreach, I am shouting his story from the rooftops.

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The Phone Call you Never Expect to Receive; Supporting a Loved One After the Loss of a Child | overlaid on image of flowers (Miranda Hernandez)

The Phone Call you Never Expect to Receive; Supporting a Loved One After the Loss of a Child

The loss of any child is a shock, and no less of one when the child is not your own. This is how to support a loved one after the loss of their child.

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Getting ready for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. As part of my year of outreach, I am running ads on Facebook and Pinterest. Here is a preview.

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The Worst Part of Child Loss | Miranda holding Adrian's photo in the mountains of Kaua'i (Luna Kai Photography)

The Worst Part

Hearing the news was definitely the worst part. “There is no heartbeat.” It broke me. I fell. And the “worst” pieces just kept building.

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Miranda's maternity photo with Peanut. Adrian's footprints are visible in the tattoo on Miranda's ribs (Two Little Starfish)

10 Things I Learned About Pregnancy After Loss (Pursue Today)

Pregnancy after loss is a complicated journey. These are 10 things I learned about hope, grief, fear, and love, and how my two children can coexist.

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Palm tree over the ocean in late afternoon in Kaua'i, Hawai'i (MIranda Hernandez)

The grief of not getting what you didn’t want anyway

Life is full of choices, and we aren’t required to all choose the same way. It can still be hard sometimes, to lose the option of choice. This is still grief.

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Why I Support Banning Home Fetal Dopplers (Miranda's Blog) | overlaid on image of pregnant woman holding a doppler (Canva)

Why I Support Banning Home Fetal Dopplers (Quora)

Originally posted on Quora.com, in response to the question, “How does using a fetal doppler help someone who has had previous loss of pregnancy while pregnant and is it safe or recommend to monitor pregnancy progression?” ~ A few years ago, I ran across an article from an organization calledĀ Kicks Count. Kicks Countā€™s primary objective Read more

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It's Always 29 June; Integration in Grief (Miranda's Blog) | Overlaid on image of wildflowers in Lake Tahoe (Miranda Hernandez)

It’s Always 29 June; Integration in Grief

Integration is waking up in the morning because Peanut is hungry and needs to be changed. Integration is wondering what life would be like with a living second child. Integration is making plans for the future with acknowledgment that things may change. Integration is love AND sadness; grief AND joy. And it’s okay to have ALL of these things, and all at the same time.

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Miranda and Adrian's Elephant on the California coast (Synch Media)

1 June 2020

June is an intense month for me, because each June, I relive these memories. Each June, I remember what it’s like to go into the hospital for a routine examination and be told my child has no heartbeat.

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Blue dawnflowers at St Katharinesā€™s Parmoor, Buckinghamshire, England (Miranda Hernandez)

Why I Didn’t “Just Adopt”

Before I was pregnant for the first time, I looked at adoption from foster care. There are so many unwanted children, I reasoned, and I could be a means of giving them a home. Sometimes I marvel today at that simplistic attitude. Because adoption, even from foster care, isn’t simple.

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Miranda with Adrian's elephant and Peanut's mermaid in the hospital (Sarah Perry Photography)

The Whirlwind of Pregnancy and Delivery After Loss

After losing Adrian to undiagnosed preeclampsia, I was terrified to experience pregnancy for a second time. Terrified, but also holding hope. And my Peanut is finally here. This is her story.

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Mother's Day message from AdrianJamesHernandez.com

Happy Mother’s Day

To those with children in their arms, and those with children in their hearts: Happy Mothers Day. You are so loved.

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Miranda, Peanut, and Adrian's elephant in Newport Beach (photo used with permission)

Always Two

Always two <3

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Peanut with Adrian's Elephant

Cranky

Parenting, even parenting after loss, isn’t just sunshine and roses. It’s reality too. And I love this little girl with every piece of my soul, AND I feel overwhelmed sometimes.

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The Problem with Positivity (Miranda's Blog) | overlaid on image of dark red flowers in front of a a bright window (Miranda Hernandez)

The Problem With Positivity

I was literally the most positive person possible when I was pregnant with my first child. I told friends very early. I hired a doula at 6 weeks. I wrote letters to my son throughout my pregnancy, and I made plans for my life with him. It literally never entered my mind that anything could go seriously wrong.

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Wildflowers in South Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

There But for Grace

Home birth can be dangerous. I think it’s important to acknowledge that. But the gist of this doctor’s post today was to criticize a celebrity who recently lost her child during a home birth; to call her an idiot.

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Miranda and Adrian's Elephant

Perspective

We are all living in uncertainty. We are all scared. We are all doing the very best we can. And you have every right to your feelings, even if they seem silly.

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Heart in the sand, Esquimalt Lagoon, Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

Daydreams

I put Penny to bed tonight, and I had another image of a rambunctious toddler jumping up to join us. I can’t see his face at all, it is mostly just a feeling. A feeling like he’s just right there.

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Miranda's and Peanut's feet with Adrian's elephant

Images

I haven’t been sad lately, or even very anxious. And this is weird to me. I’m used to being sad.

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Why I Choose to Share Photos of My Dead Child on Social Media

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.

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Adrian's elephant in San Francisco

Waiting

Every day I wake up and expect something new. I feel like there is fear buried deep, but mostly I’m just–waiting.

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Still water on the Haruru Falls trail, Waitanga, New Zealand (Miranda Hernandez)

What is the Worst Sound in the World? (Quora)

You think, “Okay, this is normal; necessary. This is the process of millennia.” And you stop thinking, and then you moan; deep and low and primal. And your moaning is an outlet, and you surrender to it, deciding to become physical.

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Bench on the shore of South Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Re-Evaluation

I look back on that time now, and it’s like I’m looking at a different person. That old Miranda lived in a different world, where everything felt like it was possible. And even though it has been almost 3 years since then, I think a lot of people don’t understand I’m not that person anymore.

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Survivor's Bias (Miranda's Blog) | overlaid on image of rock formation in Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

Survivor’s Bias

Now imagine I took this example of reckless behavior and used it to justify drinking and driving? Imagine I said that because I did it and I was fine, then of course it must be okay for others to try. This is called survivor’s bias.

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Sunset over the Bay of Islands, New Zealand (Miranda Hernandez)

Tone

There is a subconscious, and in some places, even overt “war” going on between midwives and physicians, and it really needs to stop. I truly believe if either set of my providers had swallowed their pride and explained that sometimes, neither nature nor medicine are completely perfect, then my son would be alive today.

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Adrian James Hernandez Official Comment Policy, aka Things Not to Say To or About a Bereaved Parent (Miranda's Blog) | overlaid on image of wild plants (Miranda Hernandez)

Adrian James Hernandez Official Comment Policy, aka Things Not to Say To or About a Bereaved Parent

Grief is awkward, and when we talk to the bereaved, we often want to say anything at all just to fill the void. Here are some things to avoid.

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Waves on Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

I Fail at Grief Olympics

What I found most interesting in my interactions with all of them, was the amount of commonality inĀ our experiences. In how much I could identify with experiences I had previously thought were just mine.

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Safe pregnancy booth providing resources on safe and informed pregnancy and stillbirth prevention

Preventing Stillbirth Starts With Outreach

Since I first starting researching safe pregnancy practices following Adrian’s death, I have wanted to put together a road show to share this information with the world. Today I ran my first booth at the Monterey Birth and Baby Fair.

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Wildflowers over Te Ti Bay (Miranda Hernandez)

“It’s Not Your Fault”

I think people are conditioned to tell bereaved parents it isn’t their fault because they are worried. If parents blame themselves, what might they then do?

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Books on Pregnancy and Baby Education. These books are frustrating because they don't mention the risks and warning signs of stillbirth (Miranda Hernandez)

Requests of a bereaved mother for all prenatal providers

If a patient is at particular risk for stillbirth or other difficult outcome, ensure they understand what that means. Do not reassure them that “everything will be fine”, especially when higher risk exists. DO discuss specific risks, & actions they can take to be on guard and/or mitigate them

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Adrian's photo and candle in the Wave of Light, 2019

Wave of Light 2019

Celebrating the #internationalwaveoflight; 24 hours of burning flame honoring children lost too soon. 15 October @ 7pm every year.

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Pylons under a pier in California (Miranda Hernandez)

Why you shouldn’t ask a bereaved parent if they plan to “try again”

Having a child subsequent to loss is a beautiful thing. It’s not, however, required. It’s not the immediate next step after the burial. It’s not a “cure” to the “problem” of grief.

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Found art of the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

From one mother to another: A letter to the pregnant mother from one who is bereaved

The shock wears off, and we keep talking. You ask for details, or maybe you don’t. You start thinking. And now you are afraid for your child.

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Famous rock formation in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. The feature is called Piercy Island, and is known for the "Hole in the Rock," but it looks like an elephant to me (Miranda Hernandez)

Elephants and Well-Meaning Words

Let’s try thought experiment: Don’t think of an elephant. What are you thinking of right now? Of course, an elephant. Why? Because thoughts don’t work that way.

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Sunset over Lake Tahoe (Miranda Hernandez)

Stillbirth and Statistics: What Does it Mean to be “Rare”?

I think the problem with using words like “rare” in place of actual numbers is that it’s a description that renders those numbers abstract. Our brains are so unused to thinking about statistical concepts that we classify these things as either likely, e.g. I’m likely to have a flat tire at some point in my life; or practically impossible, e.g. I will never win the lottery. But we do a really poor job of thinking about all of the possibilities that lie in between.

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Tree branches over the Kawai'i coast (Miranda Hernandez)

Imagination

Of course you can imagine. You look down at your living child and the possibilities rush over you. You imagine everything, and it terrifies you.

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California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

Sea Lions

I don’t believe that life’s “plan” could ever include so much heartache. None of these things are worth it, or part of my reward for waiting.

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Adrian's Elephant and Peanut's Mermaid

More Than One Spectrum

My daughter’s pediatrician tried to diagnose me with postpartum depression today. They use a generic screening form, one that doesn’t differentiate between the stress of being a new parent and other types of depression or grief.

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Tree limbs over a pond (Miranda Hernandez)

Awareness Isn’t Enough

If you had asked me three years ago, I would have said suicide was cowardly. I didn’t understand, then, how quickly life can change, or how little we control. I don’t believe suicide is ever an answer, but I better understand the complexities behind the issue now.

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Adrian's Elephant in his and Peanut's car seat

Baggage

Another set of beautiful and also emotional days.Ā VisitingĀ friends, old and new scenery, and the first steps towards a new project I’ve been excited to launch.

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Miranda and Adrian's Elephant on the California coast

17 August 2019

A heavy, beautiful day today, andĀ Peanut is officially laughing.

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Flowers on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

Things We Don’t Want to be True

I think we subconsciously want all parents to be superheroes. My peanut has a scratch on her forehead right now, from where the family puppy accidentally nicked her, and this scratch, though tiny, makes me feel terrible.

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Empty storage container (Miranda Hernandez)

Sleepless

Spent the past few days going through items in storage, and tonight I can’t shake this heavy feeling. And I realize, of course, that it’s him. These were his things, and some are now his sister’s, and many are now finding new homes.

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Quarters on tile (Miranda Hernandez)

Charlie’s Accident

I saw his body laid out on the concrete andĀ all I could do was scream. He was 11 weeks old, barely seven pounds. I was convinced he was dying. And it was my fault.

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Draft email (Miranda Hernandez)

Two Birthdays

Almost three years ago, we both were pregnant. I didn’t realize at the time how closely we aligned. I think I thought about saying something then, but I didn’t. No excuses this time. And then your son was born, and my son died.Ā 

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Bench on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago (Miranda Hernandez)

The bluntness I wish I could share where it’s needed

I’m rarely this blunt but it’s been a week and I’m feeling so raw. F*** you. You are my friends and family, and you act like he never existed. He’s my first born. I will always be heartbroken.

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Adrian and Elephant

A Letter to My Son on His Second Birthday

If they asked me to describe you, I would start with your eyes. I never got to see your eyes, just your long eyelashes. If they asked about your first word, I would have to shrug. Though statistically, (ironically,) it’s almost always “dada”. If they asked about my hopes for you, I would have to say my biggest hope was that you would have felt loved. It was always important to me that you feel loved.

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Miranda, Peanut, and Adrian's Elephant (Miranda Hernandez)

30 June 2019

These past two years have been a whirlwind, and writing is part of what’s gotten me through. Memories are heavy, and also comforting. And we are making new ones everyday.

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Literature about tracking fetal movements (Miranda Hernandez)

#MovementsMatter

Dropped off a thank you gift at the hospital today, included some @kickscount literature and pens. Forever spreading the word that #movementsmatter.

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Peanut's feet with Adrian's Elephant (Miranda Hernandez)

First

Peanut wasn’t my first pregnancy. She’s the first that a lot of people know about here. She’s the first one to receive a birth certificate, the first to draw breath and scream. I moved shortly before I started trying for her, and most people here didn’t know my history. I think many just assume.

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Fenced walkway at Hatley Castle, Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

Paperwork and Taxes

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.

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Peanut and Adrian's Elephant (Sarah Perry Photography)

13 June 2019

A little over 13 months ago, and just by chance on Mother’s Day weekend, I made my first attempt at having a second child. That attempt was unsuccessful, and the following months were complicated and painful. It wasn’t until September that I felt ready to try again. So it feels like such a different world Read more

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Miranda with Adrian's Elephant and Peanut's Mermaid (4th Trimester Bodies Project)

Third Mother’s Day

Happy Mothers Day

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Daisies in San Juan Capistrano, California (Miranda Hernandez)

From one mother to another; a letter to the recently bereaved

You may find comfort in books or support groups. You may find comfort in therapy. These things are very individual. I never read books, and support groups were overwhelming to me in the beginning.

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Ariel view of the Bay of Islands, New Zealand (Miranda Hernandez)

More Than 8 Things

That last line has been tugging at me. It sounds so simple, but it’s really not. And this is why I ultimately decided to respond.

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Mountains of Kaua'i, Hawai'i (Miranda Hernandez)

Warning Signs Prior to Adrian’s Stillbirth

I have heard some people say that stillbirth isn’t preventable. And that’s a hard subject for me, because while some deaths just happen, Adrian’s didn’t have to. There were warning signs, and while they were minor, they shouldn’t have been dismissed.

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Fog on the ocean in Big Sur, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Sometimes I DO want to give up, and you can’t fix that

I know this isn’t universal, but there’s something that bothers me about this common sentiment of “keep going” or “don’t give up”.

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My Experience with the 4th Trimester Bodies Project (Miranda's Blog) | overlaid on image of Miranda holding Adrian's elephant (4th Tri Bodies)

My experience with the 4th Trimester Bodies Project

Iā€™ve been enamored with the 4th Trimester Bodies Project for years. It was such a message of beauty and reality and massive acceptance. I planned when I saw it to participate myself after my first child was born. And then he died.

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Midnight; Memories of Loss & Grief (Miranda's Blog) | overlaid on image of full moon at night (Miranda Hernandez)

Midnight

Pregnant with my daughter after the loss of my son, life is often complicated. Sometimes I can’t sleep. Sometimes I write about it.

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Trees along the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago

Pregnancy After Loss; A Parable

Now imagine one day you were crossing the street, and you were hit by a bus. No warning, no notice; you were completely unprepared. This is obviously something that’s possible, but not the kind of thing that happens everyday. Not to most people.

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Flowers at St Katharines's Parmoor, Buckinghamshire, England (Miranda Hernandez)

My experience as a pseudo-rainbow baby

My parents never talked to us about their losses, and I blame their generations. (Publicly) holding onto grief was something that wasn’t done. And so this grief was whispered, held tightly under cover, impacts erased before they could be explored. But these erasers only took away the surface.

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Sunset on the California Coast

Strong

Many people told me I was “strong” when I was deep in grief. I think it’s meant as a compliment. It doesn’t help, though. I don’t feel strong. I feel broken. This life isn’t a choice I made, like running a marathon or getting a PhD. It isn’t something I prepared for and overcame. My Read more

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Understanding

When a grieving person tells you a comment is unhelpful, absorb it. Learn and ask questions on what you could say differently. We aren’t trying to shame you; we are only trying to educate. We know you don’t intend to be hurtful, and we want to show you a better way.

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Valerian flowers in Big Sur, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Why I track fetal movement religiously with my second pregnancy

I don’t write this to be condescending. I write this because I unfortunately know. I know what it’s like to think everything’s okay, and then have your entire world fall apart. I will always wish someone had said these things to me. I will always wish someone had thought I should know.

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Orchid cactus flowers in the gardens at San Juan Bautista

Dear Nature-Based Childbirth Educator

My son died almost two years ago. It’s taken me a while to be able to return to sites like yours. I see you spoken of so positively, and I am happy to see you have chosen to discuss stillbirth recently. I am asking you to continue.

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Fence on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago

Perspective of a Non-Believer Following the Death of a Child (Quora)

After my son was born, the nurses asked if I wanted a chaplain to bless him. I thought about this for many hours. I knew it wasn’t something I could change if I chose not to do. But in the end, it didn’t resonate with me. I didn’t feel a loss for not doing this for my son.

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View of the beach in Monterey Bay, California

Pleasant Surprise

I didn’t start this website to be inspirational. I don’t think I have the market on stories of tragedy, or redemption. I wonder, sometimes, if my combative and rebellious nature is even useful. I still carry so much anger.

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Why Getting Pregnant Easily Isn’t a Gift

Statistics are funny. I really wish someone would do a study on the chances for real, taking into account the multiple factors that contribute to fertility. I still don’t know if I’m an anomaly, or if I just got lucky. I don’t feel lucky.

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Pier at Mission Bay Park, San Diego

Boomerang

Sometimes I see an idea that seems neat, but I’m not quite ready to implement it. When this happens, I often use an email reminder service to send it back to me at a later date. For the most part, it’s been pretty convenient.

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Pier in Paihia, New Zealand

A Letter to My Mental Health Coordinator

I don’t actually fault you for forgetting. I know you see a lot of people. I was a little impressed you remembered my name. But when you present yourself as a safe person, you need to actually be one.

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Waves in Monterey Bay, California

The Slowest Kind of Panic

I’ve been feeling funny all day. I can’t really put a name to it. Off-balance, yes, and a little bit sad. I’m still processing pieces of my last relationship.

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Stillbirth and Statistics (Old Version)

1 in 160. That’s the rate of stillbirth in America today. Other countries may be higher or lower, but most hover around similar points. 1 in 160. Less than 1%. Sometimes called “rare.” It’s interesting how we define “rare.”

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“If She Dies, I Die”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy. There’s been a number of interesting storylines these past few seasons, and this was one of them. The story centered around a couple, kept from their wedding day because of an injury to the bride. For three months, the groom, Garrett, sat Read more

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Bridge on the Haruru Falls trail, Waitanga, New Zealand (Miranda Hernandez)

The Fork in the Road

I think something that’s hard for me personally is that now that I’m pregnant for the second time, I don’t know how to also hold onto that feeling of wanting to rewrite the past.

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Bench on the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail

Grieving My Child Without 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.

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Mount Douglas Park Trail, Victoria, British Columbia

This Timeline

I remember after he died, I kept thinking I was going to wake up one day and it would all be over. Like this was just a temporary place, and not somewhere I had to live forever.

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Echoes; Reminders and Memories in Pregnancy After Loss (Miranda's Blog) | overlaid on image of Miranda's maternity photo, showing Adrian's footprints (Two Little Starfish)

Echoes

I have a tattoo at the top of my right rib cage. When I was pregnant with my son, this was his favorite place to poke me. It started with his bottom; I would feel this hard, round pressure. I pushed back sometimes. It felt like a game

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It’s Not About the Sunscreen

I understood where the author was coming from; sometimes the minutiae of life is overwhelming, and the sunscreen issue was just the latest thing. But the article itself wasn’t about sunscreen. And that’s where it got derailed, because so many of the readers responded with recommendations on how to fix that one specific thing.

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Ruins of Cannery Row 1, Monterey, California

Necessary Fear

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.

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Sunset over Koloa, Kaua'i, Hawai'i (Miranda Hernandez)

Death and Taxes – Why the Federal Government Doesn’t Consider My Son to be a Human Being

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.

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Miranda's maternity photo (Two Little Starfish)

Why I am celebrating every moment of this current pregnancy

Unfortunately, then my son died. And I remember being so very thankful for every tangible piece I had of his memory. Not only our photos, but also our baby shower, our plans for the future; the time and energy I put into his nursery. All of this was precious to me.

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California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

Please stop telling me everything is going to be “fine”

Please stop telling me everything is going to be fine. Because you see, I’ve heard those words before, from multiple licensed medical practitioners.

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The Story of Amy Anne

I still wonder, now, if Amy knew what was coming. She was already pretty attached to me. It was hard to say for sure. She and Saki liked to cuddle around my big belly on the couch at night. Some nights I would sleep there. Life seemed pretty good.

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Easter Lily flower (Miranda Hernandez)

Claddagh Ring

I wore a Claddagh ring facing inwards for a long time after the death of my son. I wanted to send the message that my heart was already taken, even if it was “taken” in a different way than those rings normally represent.

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Adrian's Elephant and Peanut's Mermaid

My Daughter is Not a Rainbow; My Son was Not a Storm

When I chose to try for a second child, these feelings hadn’t changed for me. I wasn’t trying to replace my son; I was adding to our family. My daughter was going to be her own person, and I couldn’t let her be defined by who or what came before.

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Bay of Islands 2

Yoga on a Saturday

I remember those early days after loss, when I used to go to yoga just to cry. It was a safe, quiet space, and most people didn’t judge me. It was a release.

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Hard Day

I had a hard day today. It happens sometimes. I get scared. There’s nothing wrong, not really. Just a wordless feeling. It’s easy to be overwhelmed.

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Sunset in Victoria, British Columbia

Waiting Rooms

I remember that first waiting room afterwards, back in the hospital. I remember walking in, surrounded by people. They were pregnant and they were holding newborn babies, and I wanted to scream,Ā “What is this nightmare? What happened to my life?”

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Adrian's Elephant and Peanut's Mermaid

8 January 2019

I’ve always wanted a large family. My original plan had been to have my son and then foster older children. I’ve been a CASA before. There are so many teenagers who need love and a home. My arms and my heart both ache.

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Pier in South Lake Tahoe, California

Grief Isn’t a Disease

I am frustrated because of course this isn’t true. I can’t imagine the author has any real knowledge of grief. But these are the things that inform our cultural attitudes.

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1 January 2019

This has been such a long year, and every time I think I’m okay, I find new heartbreak; new fears. I also find new joy. Because the day before I said goodbye to Amy Anne, I took a chance on bringing new life into this world. And I am both terrified and ecstatic to announce that this spring, my Adrian James will become a big brother.

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Miranda with Adrian's Elephant during Adrian's Memorial on the California coast (@saltwaterandclay)

22 July 2018

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.

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Friday the 13th (Miranda's Blog) | overlaid on image of Miranda with Adrian's footprint tattoo (photo used with permission)

Friday the 13th

Last Friday the 13th was also the point of equidistance — as equally spaced between the day that Adrian died as that day was from the “beginning” (first day of my last menstrual period) of my pregnancy with him. I thought it fitting, then, that this was the day my tattoo artist had available.

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Daisies and Bluebonnets on Adrian's casketĀ (Modern Lux Photography)

11 July 2018

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.

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Trail in Pinnacles National Park, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Not Okay

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.

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Miranda and Adrian's Elephant on the California coastĀ (Synch Media)

Second Eulogy

I spent three years preparing to give birth to my son. I read all the books. I made changes to my world. I did everything possible to ensure he came into a life designed to welcome him, a world completely filled with love.

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Miranda and Elephant on the California coast

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.

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Adrian's Elephant

28 June 2018, 8:55pm

I’ve never been the person who counted the days, and so the intensity of this month has been surprising. I’m feeling so many memories, like a full body echo. When I was pregnant, I used to talk to my son. I told him about life on the “outside”. I told him what I had prepared Read more

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Miranda and Elephant on the California coast

22 June 2018, 9:01am

June 22nd, 2017 – Adrian’s due date. Because I was inseminated, we knew exactly when Adrian was “due”. I also knew due dates were estimates. Many first times moms deliver more than a week late. I had some brief thoughts about Adrian being a 4th of July baby. Although I planned for a midwife-assisted natural Read more

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Miranda and Elephant on the beach in California

21 June 2018, 4:58pm

One year ago today, I went in for my last check up with the midwives. My son was due one year ago tomorrow. They measured my belly, they checked my urine. They asked if I had any questions or concerns. Was this a formality? ~ That last week was difficult. My sister arrived, and one Read more

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Adrian's Elephant on Keālia Beach in Kaua'i, Hawai'i (Miranda Hernandez)

18 June 2018, 8:47 pm

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?

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Driftwood log on the shore of Nukoli'i Beach park, Kaua'i, Hawai'i (Miranda Hernandez)

Not Fucking Fair

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.

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Adrian's Elephant in the Airport (Miranda Hernandez)

Home

The last time I was in town, I went to the restaurant where I so often had cravings in my ninth month. I was there at least three times a week. And I think about this today with such intense yearning.

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Sunset on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

Sunrise

I know the fear, to even have hope. But I do it anyway. And this is how I’m living. This is how I’m becoming real.

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Miranda in Waimea Canyon State Park, Kaua'i, Hawai'i

My Seventh Trimester Body

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.

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Miranda and Adrian's Elephant on the California coast

Birth

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. His existence was the most beautiful gift. His absence is an ever-present pain.

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Miranda and Adrian's Elephant at Esquimalt Lagoon, Victoria, British Columbia

Equidistance

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.

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Annual flowers in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)

A letter to my roommate, who puts up with far more than she deserves

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.

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Adrian Street sign in San Diego, California

San Diego

A last minute trip and a wrong turn. I love you too, my beautiful boy.

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View from cliffs on the California coast

A Letter to the Woman Who Wants the “Perfect Birth”

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.

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Dandelions over Te Ti Bay, Waitanga, New Zealand (Miranda Hernandez)

I am a Mother

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.”

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Adrian's things in Miranda's new home

Humor

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…

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Roses on rocks in Hatley Park, Victoria, British Columbia

Everything Happens.

I see people who have lived through such horrible things andĀ experienced growth. And some of these people have come to the mistaken belief that these experiences are necessary; that it isn’t possible to build a good life unless it started on this traumatic foundation.

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Bluebonnets on the California coast

Nature Isn’t Perfect

This has been simmering in my mind for awhile and I think we need to talk about it. We live in a modern world and few of us eschew modern conveniences like toilet paper or electricity. But I conceived my son with the help of modern medicine, and I spent the rest of my pregnancy acting like I lived in another century.

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Car tire on the road

Second Hand

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.

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Burning candle at St Katharinesā€™s Parmoor, Buckinghamshire, England (Miranda Hernandez)

Desire

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.

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Sanddollars on Adrian's Elephant

Sea Shells

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.

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Sign found on sidewalk

Signs

I fight against happiness. I think that if I let myself smile, I will lose sight of my grief. I will lose him. Again.

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Trail in Pinecrest, California

Life

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.

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Pre-Pregnancy Jeans

I’ve heard fellow loss moms talk about the body issues associated with losing a child before they are born. I’ve never had issues with body dysmorphia; it’s just never been something that I’ve struggled with, but I do have issues with my postpartum body.

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I Drink a of Tea

I used to find these captions comforting. I used to think I could handle anything with the right attitude. Now I often feel like these things miss the mark.

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Sunset in Arizona

I Miss My Phone

These past few days have been emotional for me. This life both is and isn’t what I planned. This trip, this change, these hellos and goodbyes all hurt.

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Rose on the ground at Hatley Park, Victoria, British Columbia

I woke up out of a sound sleep with these words on my lips

Things come up as they will. Life is complicated, and often sad, but very very real.

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Toy car hidden in the grass

Favorite Holiday

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, a reminder of the blessings and the beauty in my life. Appreciating blessings is a difficult task this year, but there will always be beauty.

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Wildflowers and Adrian's Elephant

On Sunlight and Strength

I am a weed. They say I am strong, but I do not aim to be so. I don’t aim to be anything. I’m just here.

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Bench in California (Miranda Hernandez)

Things I Didn’t Get to Say

Every person you meet is going through something. Maybe their spouse left them. Maybe they’re dying of cancer. Or maybe it’s “just” that they have a really bad cold and they’re out of sick leave and they had to come to work anyway and life really sucks today. It honestly doesn’t matter, because whatever it is, it’s real.

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Dahlia flowers at St Katharinesā€™s Parmoor, Buckinghamshire, England (Miranda Hernandez)

What Happens When a Type A Personality Grieves

When a Type A personality grieves, at some point grief becomes her job. She finds old focus and determination. She reads books and attacks her grief with her previous energy.

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Cherry blossoms in Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

Dear Pregnant Woman in My Office

Dear pregnant woman in my office – people are starting to get excited. They threw you a baby shower, and things are starting to feel very familiar. I wish I could explain why I’ve started to dislike you. I wish there were some logic beyond jealously and pain.Ā 

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Adrian's Elephant and expired milk, Government Canyon State Natural Area, Texas

29 October 2017

I’ve done a lot of things lately that the old me would have thought strange.

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Miranda with Adrian's name sign from Landon's Legacy Retreat, Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba

30 September 2017

I will forever love the sound of your name.Ā #adrianjameshernandez

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