I know it’s not easy for you to be around me lately. I know that you can’t find the words to say and sometimes fumble over the words you wish you didn’t say. I know it’s different. I know I’m not the same. I know you wish there was something, anything that you could do or say to make this even an ounce less painful. I know it. Part of the not knowing what to do is my fault, because I don’t tell you. I am still trying to figure out how to handle myself, let alone the entire world around me. Maybe this well help…
To my neighbors: I’m sorry that I dodge you every single day. It’s just that each day I wake up, get ready for work, stumble into my car with my coffee and re-live the reality of losing my baby all over again. I don’t have the energy to call out “good morning” because it doesn’t feel good, not even a little bit. When I get home from work I have nothing left to give, nothing. I’ve noticed your new garden bed, I’ve noticed your son has finally said goodbye to training wheels….but I don’t have the energy to basque in these joys with you. So thank you. Thank you for not hounding me, for giving me space, for quietly placing flowers and a blue ribbon on my mailbox the day of my son’s service. Thank you.
To my coworkers: I can’t imagine how awkward it is for you to see me at times, walking to my office with my big sunglasses on, barely looking up in the elevator. I can almost feel the pit in your stomach when you have to share another sad story with me of a sick or hurt child who is need of anything I have to give. I know we both feel it, the sadness of how much it hurts to talk about babies after I just lost mine. I’m sorry if I seem less sympathetic. The truth is, it hurts even more than it used to to see kids suffering, but my emotions lock up to protect myself from falling flat on the floor and sobbing myself into mania. I’m sorry if I seem less enthusiastic than my usual self, but I am less enthusiastic right now, about everything. Thank you for trying to understand. Thank you for your open ears when I need to vent and your open arms when I’ve needed a hug. Thank you for your cards and gifts when everything first happened. I can’t remember who I’ve thanked, so thank you again.
To pregnant women: You have to forgive me. I never know how I’ll react when I see you. Mostly I just ignore your adorable huge baby bump in between us. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it thinking, “her baby is alive in there” and then an overwhelming sadness consumes me from there. I want to warn you, I want to protect you and at the same time I want you stay completely oblivious to this possibility, to how vulnerable it actually is to carry life inside of you. Sometimes I pray for you as I pass you. Sometimes I hold back tears. Sometimes they just come pouring out. Thank you to the brave pregnant women who have lost a baby, who have had to give birth to their deceased baby and then find the courage to risk it all and try again. Thank you, for giving me hope.
To my “new mom” friends: I know it’s hard for you. I know you feel a little guilty that your baby lived and mine didn’t. I know you cherish your babies a little bit more because you see that life can change in a heart beat and you saw mine do just that. I know you wish it was different for me. But I wish you treated me like I am a Mom too. I know we can’t swap milestone stories but I am still a Mom. I imagine this is is difficult for you..what to say, what not say. The truth is, when words fail you…simply say it, “Hi Sweet Mama, I’ve been thinking about you today.” Oh how I long to be acknowledged for what I am, especially from you.
To all of the adorable Facebook posts: Most days I scroll through my news feed, guarded and ready to skim right past the ridiculous amount of pregnancy announcements, family photos, pictures of sweet sleeping babies and little ones with adorable messy spaghetti faces. Past the tutu pictures, month to month milestone photos, baby shower images, family vacations and birthday parties. It’s not that I am not happy for you, it’s just that I am in pain for myself, for my husband my family. It’s not that I don’t “like” that you are happy, it’s just that it’s hard to push that “like” button…because it feels like a knife in my chest. So the truth is, I’m not following most of you. Because you deserve to be happy and I deserve to be sad and a little selfish right now. Thank you to the couple of people who sent me private messages to announce their pregnancies, knowing how painful that news is to a woman who just delivered her stillborn baby. Thank you.
To my friends & family: I know you feel lost. I know some of you feel like you’ve lost a friend, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a daughter…because when my son died, a huge part of me died as well. I know you are clueless about what to do, how to get through to me or how much distance to give me. If I had even just a small clue on how to guide you on what I need, I swear I’d tell you. For those of you who have continued to call, regardless of how many times I haven’t answered or responded, thank you for your persistence in letting me know how much you care. I’ve noticed. The truth is, the awkwardness of trying to hold back pain over the phone is simply exhausting. There is not much to say. I have no new news to report, nothing exciting to say. So phone calls just hurt because they are mainly silent. And I’m tired of answering the “how are you” question….because the truth is, I’m not good. I’m sad, like really really sad and I hate talking about how sad I am. I have no stories to share…work is “fine”, my husband is “fine”, my dogs are “fine” and my baby is still dead. That’s why I hate phone calls. I do care how you are, but I don’t have the capacity to engage in it right now. I assume things are going well for the most part, unless I hear otherwise. For those of you who choose to not check in at all…because you are giving me “space”…space really sucks right now. It makes me feel like you don’t care about my son, my loss and my grief. I’m sure this isn’t on purpose but that’s how it feels to someone who is already an emotional train wreck.
To the other bereaved mom’s out there: My heart aches for you, for us. I hate that you lost your child, regardless of their age or their story. I wish I could wrap you in my arms and cry with you, for you and for your child. I would listen to every single detail you wanted to share. I would and I do remember them. I know I can’t change what has happened but I still day dream for you, I still try to rewind my mind back to a time when this wasn’t your story and you could feel just a few seconds of relief from this heart ache. To the one’s who have scooped me up since I joined this sacred community, thank you. Thank you for knowing how badly I needed you, the one’s that understand, the only one’s that I feel like know and accept the new me without any question or judgement. Thank you for giving me a place where my walls can be down, my heart can be broken, my laughter is understood, my madness is embraced and my hope is restored. Thank you beautiful Mama’s. You are all my hero’s.
To the entire world: I’m sorry I’m different and then again I’m not, I’m sad but I still laugh, I’m broken but aren’t we all? I don’t think the old me will ever be back in the same way. They say motherhood changes you…so just imagine motherhood without your child. Everyday is so tiring. Every night is so quiet. It takes EVERYTHING I have to make it through each work day. For each of you who have sent us treasures to honor and remember our son, for each of you that sent us cards, flowers and letters of love and kindness, for all of those who dropped off a meal or gift certificate to get out of the house, sent over a bottle of wine or just dropped by yourself to offer a hug…thank you. Thank you to those who sent balloons up to our baby, left anonymous plants on our doorstep and to those who keep us in your thoughts and prayers and continue to stick by our sides. Thank you to those who have sent random messages months later letting me know I’m in their heart and thank you to those who take the time to read these blog posts and attempt to feel our pain. I know you are all wondering if we will try again for another baby…all I can say is, it scares the hell out of me to try again but it scares me even more to not. We have a lot of love to give but a lot of tears to still cry. Many ask or wonder what they can do for us and there is one thing you can do…PRAY. I know it sounds cliche but it’s the farthest thing from that. We need you to pray for us for the many times we can’t muster up more than the word WHY in our own prayers. We need prayers for peace, comfort, courage and blessings. So every time you see me or think of me and don’t know what to say, just close your eyes and pray for us to find those things.
Peace. Comfort. Courage. Blessings.