Bereaved motherhood (Archives)

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Bereaved motherhood

A light gray stuffed elephant nestled between sage-green military boots

Identities

Someone looked at this website the other day and commented that, if you didn’t know better, you wouldn’t know I was in the military. I never intended to keep this a “secret.” Mainly separate. But how much can you separate of your core identities?

I did not have "a stillborn". I had a stillborn CHILD; a human being. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I Did not Have “A Stillborn”

My child isn’t “a stillborn”. The term makes it seem as if he is an abstract concept; a “thing”. He’s a child, though. He was BORN. He had a funeral. He HAS a name. When I speak about him, I use the term “stillborn” as an adjective: My son is a stillborn CHILD; an individual person; a human being.

Mother's Day message from AdrianJamesHernandez.com

Mother’s Day 2020

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

Adrian's necklace on bluebonnets, California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

138 – Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 11:39 AM

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.

Wooden structure in South Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

136 – Thu, Sep 12, 2019, 6:40 PM

Our old house is for sale. In the photos, it looks cluttered. They have a boy and a girl, fully lived-in rooms. We wouldn’t have had that, not there. It still feels weird to look at.

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

134 – Tue, Jul 23, 2019, 1:34 PM

I was driving down the road on the way to therapy, and this memory came out of nowhere and I laughed out loud. I’m laughing again. There is joy, and there is pain, and there is you. There is always you.

Flowers in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)

133 – Wed, Jul 3, 2019, 11:32 AM

I’ll never understand the Quora voodoo, but I finally have an answer that is gathering attention. And of course it’s about you. I like being able to talk about you.

Reflection in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)

132 – Mon, Jul 1, 2019, 9:45 PM

I’m glad I got out of bed today. I like watching the water. There’s a guy beyond the ice plant, painting on the rocks. I remember sitting here last year, feeling overwhelmed and sad. It was hard.

View from a butterfly cut-out, Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)

130 – Thu, Jun 27, 2019, 9:31 PM

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.

Boulder on the shore of North Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

129 – Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 9:11 PM

The lead up is different this time. It’s quieter. I’m not sobbing. I sit here with your sister and most parts of the day I feel fine. It’s only in those random moments, those echoes of memory — and I still wish I could feel more of you.

Adrian's Elephant and Peanut's feet (Sarah Perry Photography)

128 – Thu, May 23, 2019, 9:11 PM

They I gave her to me and she was screaming and all I could think was yes, mama loves you so much. You are a new piece of my everything. And suddenly I’m just bigger and you are still gone and I’m straddling the world in two.

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 – “It’s not your fault”

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. Now think about this analogy as it applies to telling bereaved parents that their child’s death was not their fault.

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.

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.

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

Third Mother’s Day

I started celebrating Mothers Day when I was pregnant with my first child. Although he was unexpectedly stillborn one month later, I was and am STILL a mother. Today, I am celebrating for the third year, pregnant and expecting my second child. Happy Mothers Day.

Daisies in San Juan Capistrano, California (Miranda Hernandez)

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

I won’t lie to you, it’s going to be hard. You may dream about him and wake up sad. You may find you can’t dream about him and that makes you sadder. It’s okay if you want to hold on to things, and also if you want everything to change. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

Periwinkle in Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

103 – Sat, May 12, 2018, 5:32 PM

This time last year, I was still pregnant. This time last year, I was probably settling down on the couch with Netflix and thinking about you. I was always thinking about you.

Miranda and Adrian's Elephant

100 – Sat, May 5, 2018, 5:30 PM

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.

A duck and its reflection, Assiniboine Park, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)

My experience with the 4th Trimester Bodies Project

I’ve been enamored with the 4th Trimester Bodies Project for years. I planned to participate myself after my first child was born. I did participate, even though my child had died. It was still a amazing experience.

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.

California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

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

When someone is pregnant after loss, loved ones often rush to promise everything will be “fine.” It’s important to understand how hurtful and often inaccurate this phrase can be. Please focus on reality when talking about my pregnancy after loss.

California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

082 – Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 3:46 PM

I think about “moving forward”. I think about “trying again”. These words are hurtful. These words feel like I’m trying to replace you. It isn’t possible to replace you.

Adrian's Elephant

072 – Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 10:51 AM

You made me a mother, and my arms ache without you. So I carry your elephant, and I wish you were here, and I think about the crazy duality of this year.

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

Second Eulogy

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.

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.” It still hits me, sometimes, even today. I am a mother. I have a son. I AM a mother.

Burning candle at St Katharines’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.

Adrian's Elephant and expired milk, Government Canyon State Natural Area, Texas (Miranda Hernandez)

29 October 2017

29 October 2017 is the day where I cleaned the last of my things from my house, I found the breast milk that expired before it made it to the bank.

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