Everywhere I go, someone is missing. It’s an absence that lives with you; a missing that remains.
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.
This past year has been opening,
The year I “woke” to life and everything;
The year I grew as a writer and a person,
And it still all comes down to him—
Sometimes I feel like kindness is confused with self-care—long walks and bubble baths. Time alone to watch TV. These things are part of kindness, sure. But such a small piece.
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?
Sharing about my deceased child doesn’t mean that I’m stuck or broken or even that I am hurting. It simply means I am a parent.
To those with children in their arms, and those with children in their hearts: Happy Mothers Day. You are so loved.
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.
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.
Your sister was offered a daycare slot and it brings up memories. People around me are having boys and it brings up memories.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“i carry your heart with me. (i carry it in my heart)” – e. e. cummings
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.