There is a lot of discussion in the world about postpartum bodies, but unfortunately very little about postpartum bodies after loss. This is a particular interest of mine, and so I have written about it pretty extensively. I hope the following pieces are of use to you.
Thank you for being here.
The hardest physical sensation was the one without a name. It was the thing I felt when I woke up in the morning and my son wasn’t crying. It was the feeling in my arms when they curled around the teddy bear from the hospital, but still felt empty. It was the physical feeling of absence. It felt so heavy.
I left the hospital in a fugue state. I had thought I was “okay,” but as the first notes of music came on the car stereo, the tears returned. My sister reached across and held my hand, my other hand other clutching the teddy bear from the hospital. I was thankful then for the weight of the bear. It was exactly what I needed.
I am probably one of those ghosting stories that people complain about on social media. I am probably that person who just disappeared, and people are wondering, “What happened? What did I do wrong?”
I found the snow again today. I found flight, and I’m spinning, and it all came back so easily. And I watch as the children go flying down the mountain, and everything feels empty.
You sheltered him for nine months. You expanded with him, kept him safe. I watched you grow stretch marks, tiger stripes. I talked to him through you. I never thought to say thank you.
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.
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
I’ve done a lot of things lately that the old me would have thought strange.
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.
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.
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.
I caught a glimpse of my tattoo in the mirror the other day. The days move so quickly lately, sometimes I forget it’s there. Sometimes I miss the burning underneath my skin, how it felt when everything was new.
I’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.
I remember what I wore to his funeral, primarily because I was only 11 days postpartum. Instead of wearing maternity clothing like I had planned in those early days, I had to go shopping and find something that didn’t make me look pregnant; that didn’t emphasize the curves of my body; the swelling that remained. A genuinely surreal experience.