Hiking the Sleeping Giant Trail, Kapaa, Kaua'i, Hawai'i
Hiking the Sleeping Giant Trail, Kapaa, Kaua'i, Hawai'i (Miranda Hernandez)

3 Feb 2018 – The Kindest Thing

Sometimes the Kindest Thing is Hiding

What is the kindest thing that you could do to yourself? Growing up, I never understood this common obsession with the shape of one’s body. I’ve even always been a little bit overweight, but this was never something that bothered me. I never felt like less of a person because I wasn’t a size 2.

Stretch marks are a badge of honor. I never cared that I gained so much weight. I never cared when they told me I waddled. I was building a human. The weight was just part of it.

Did you know, though, that after a woman gives birth, she still looks like she’s a little bit pregnant for pretty much the rest of her life? And I think that, had he lived, I would have carried that body with pride. I would have continued to wear the maternity clothes. I would have smiled at the gardener when she asked when I was due. I have always wanted to treat people with grace. I wish grace would find me.

But today, when I’m renting a storage room, and the manager asks if I should be lifting things in my condition, I want to smack him. Didn’t your mother ever tell you that was rude? It was also rude in the hardware store when another customer asked, at seven months, if I was having triplets, but somehow this time is more painful. I must somehow think people should know when their comments will be hurtful, though of course most people don’t aim to be.

When I got home from the hospital, I couldn’t stand the thought of anyone asking about my child. He was my story to tell. I didn’t owe him to anyone. But society does not recognize a mother’s autonomy. So I guess this was my first introduction to the fact that even my own story doesn’t belong to me.

I still try to hide, today, not from my son’s death, but from nosy prying faces. At first, I wore baggy clothing. I told my sister I would rather people thought I was fat than have to answer their questions. Innocent questions can be the most painful.

I realized recently another way I’m hiding. I also hide from the people who never knew. From an old supervisor with whom I had lost touch, who hadn’t been on Facebook, who the old me would have looked up the last time I was in town. I didn’t do that because I couldn’t handle telling him. Not only that I have a son, but that my son had died. And we talk about polite conversation, but I know that only one of those statements would have been welcome, and since I can’t separate them, I separate from people instead.

I am probably one of those ghosting stories people talk about on social media. I am probably that person who just disappeared, and people are wondering, “What happened? What did I do wrong?” And the answer is, “Through no fault of your own, you simply weren’t present.” The answer is, “Your old friend is dead. I’m sorry, but there was no funeral.”

I push myself to lose weight today for a few reasons. What’s relevant to this discussion is that I can’t handle that I still look pregnant. Not because I hate my body, but because I am so tired of the conversations. It’s none of your business! I don’t owe you anything. But I keep pushing myself for you, and you will never know it. You will never know because my greatest wish is just to hide.

And when I have achieved this, it will have become the kindest thing I could do for me.

Be the kindest for yourself too.

Related Posts:

Life as a Grieving Mother: Physical Body After Loss
Topics Page: People & Relationships
Topics Page: Postpartum Body After Loss
Write Your Grief: A Letter to My Belly
Miranda’s Blog: Pre-Pregnancy Jeans

Posts written in response to prompts from Megan Devine’s Refuge in Grief writing program.
Return to Write Your Grief Homepage

Share this post via:

26 March 2021 – Landscape

Sunlight through the trees, North Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

25 Aug 2018 – Amy Anne

24 March 2021 – The One I Avoided Last Time

Miranda on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

28 May 2018 – Planet Miranda

Miranda on the shore of Lake Tahoe, California (photo used with permission)

23 Aug 2018 – Windows

Sunset over the Pacific 1 - Feature

26 Feb 2018 – Nuclear Bomb Part 2

Sunset over Arizona - Feature

12 Feb 2018 – Hard Things

Julia Pfeiffer Burns Plant1 - Feature

7 Feb 2018 – Tests

Title: My Personal Experience with Grief | overlaid on an image of Miranda in Kaua'i (Luna Kai Photography)

29 Jan 2018 – Grief

Miranda on the California coast (Synch Media)

21 Jun 2018 – The After

Keālia Beach 1 - Feature

8 Feb 2018 – Prickly

Palm trees over the Pacific Ocean - Feature

7 Feb 2018 – Beauty

4 April 2021 – Memories Part 2

The first blanket and baby toy Miranda purchased for Peanut (Miranda Hernandez)

29 Oct 2018 – Baby Things

Sunset over the California desert, with highway signs in the distance (Miranda Hernandez)

1 Feb 2018 – Photos

A Letter from the In-Between (Write Your Grief) | overlaid on image of Miranda staring off into the distance (Synch Media)

28 Jul 2018 – A Letter from the In-Between

19 March 2021 – Where I Live Now

Incline Village, North Lake Tahoe - Feature

20 Feb 2018 – Time

31 Jan 2018 – Choice

Keālia Beach 2 - Feature

20 Feb 2018 – Unspoken

Birds on the Pacific Coast in California - Feature

22 Feb 2018 – Fuck

30 March 2021 – The 13th Guest

Limp hand holding a cell phone

26 Mar 2019 – The Worst Thing that Never Happened

Title: A Letter to My Fellow Bereaved | overlaid on an image of the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

18 Feb 2018 – I Love You

24 March 2021 – Emulation

North Star Resort - Feature

20 Feb 2018 – Flight

Lakeside in Incline Village 3

14 Feb 2018 – I love you. Please.

31 March 2021 – Clarity

30 March 2021 – Subsumed Grief

Miranda with Adrian's First Blanket - SQ

2 Feb 2018 – Elephant Onesies

A seagull over the Pacific Ocean - Feature

9 Feb 2018 – No

Seagulls on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

27 May 2018 – Fairytales

Chalk drawings on the sidewalk (Miranda Hernandez)

18 Mar 2018 – Someone Else’s Birthday

Sleeping Giant Trail 1 - Feature

25 Feb 2018 – That Day

Title: Grief is a Mother, Too | overlaid on an image of Miranda and Elephant on the coast at sunset (Synch Media)

2 Feb 2018 – Grief is a Mother, Too

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California (Miranda Hernandez)

22 May 2018 – I only write to ghosts. You must be one of them.

18 March 2021 – What I Wish You Knew

Close up of Miranda and Adrian in the hospital after Adrian's birth. Both of their eyes are closed, and Miranda is holding Adrian's hand

6 Feb 2018 – Regret

27 March 2021 – Community

Matthiola flowers on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

26 Sep 2018 – Dear Grace

Memories (Write Your Grief) | overlaid on image of Miranda on the California coast at sunset (Synch Media)

18 Feb 2018 – Memories

Tree branch in California - Feature

5 Feb 2018 – Akhilandeshvari

A Letter to My Belly (Write Your Grief) | overlaid on image of Miranda making a heart on her belly (Synch Media)

24 Feb 2018 – A Letter to My Belly after the Stillbirth of my Firstborn Child

Sunset on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

2 Jun 2018 – Peace

17 March 2021 – Who I Used to Be

Pinecrest Lake 1 - Feature

26 Feb 2018 – The Nuclear Bomb

Wide angle view of Miranda standing on a deserted beach in California at sunset. She is wearing a pink kimono fluttering in the breeze (Synch Media)

30 Jan 2018 – The Second Death

22 March 2021 – Kindness…

Amy's collar (Miranda Hernandez)

12 Sep 2018 – Three Dishes

Miranda on the Pacific Coast 2 - Feature

10 Feb 2018 – This is How I Feel About Life

21 March 2021 – Does Grief Mourn?

20 March 2021 – The Absence of Memory

Lakeside in Incline Village, North Lake Tahoe, Nevada (Miranda Hernandez)

13 Feb 2018 – The Condition of My Heart

Explore more of Adrian's Elephant

Scroll to Top