I see you, mother who has lost her 8 week old baby through miscarriage. I see you even as your doctor says your baby was ‘a late period’. But you had already circled a due date on your calendar and imagined what life would be like next spring and considered and discarded names and dreamed of a little girl with big brown eyes and brown pigtails. I see you…
I see you, mother of the preemie born at 31weeks. I see you struggling to pump breast milk, this medicine-food, to heal your tiny, beloved child. I see you, every fiber of you screaming to hold your child while you stand silent and still next to the isolette, one tense hand pressed against the glass. I see you…
I see you, mother who wails in her bed, chest ripped open, womb ripped open terrified to look at your baby, shame for your terror, anger for your shame and pain, pain, pain as you wail. I see you…
I see you, mother walking into church for the first time since your baby was covered with the frozen earth. I see your still swollen belly and your grudging walk and your uncertain heart, fragile, brittle faith. I see you…
I see you, mother staring at the ultrasound screen dark closing in as the world crushes into one single black point of non-beating. I see you as your legs tense and rise off the bed, as you begin to hyperventilate as you tumble, fall, the black point of non-beating searing into your memory, your present your future. I see you…
Content below this line is not Hearthside generated. Please disregard.
The word ‘bereaved’ literally means ‘to be torn apart’. Those of us who have lost babies know what this feels like. Losing a child is an experience that can’t adequately be described in words, but I- 8 years off from my last loss- might use words like ‘searing’, ‘suffocating’, ‘impossible’ and ‘obscene’ if pushed.
When a mother loses a baby, she literally is being torn apart- a piece of herself that she nourished, that came from her own body. This piece of her, in a live birth, would have continued to receive sustenance from her own body for months- this little person literally derives its being and its life from its mother’s essence.
And when that baby dies, a part of the mother is forever ripped away. Torn asunder. Bereaved.
Which brings me to remembering. RE-membering.
In the act of acknowledging the reality of our child, the actual experience of our loss and the continual influence of our grief, there is something in us that comes back together. Some new thing is formed from the pieces that were shattered.
It is slow. It hurts. But healing does eventually happen.
Bereaved and remembering are the opposite sides of the child loss coin. This is why we have National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month each October- why we light candles every October 15th for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Remembering brings healing- remembering & revisiting the place of our loss even if it is only in our own hearts is an act of healing. It is necessary.
I encourage you to remember this October.
Write a letter.
Name a baby.
Light a candle.
Tell a story.
Return to visit the places you were torn apart so you can continue coming back together.