Mutha Magazine published an essay of mine today. I’m honored to have them share my story:
I find myself typing my thoughts, and immediately going back to delete them.
That’s how I wish sometimes life were. I know many of us have felt that way at one point in time.
I want to call a do-over.
Let me use what I know now to go back and change the last month we had together, him safe inside my womb.
I remember the last time I felt him make a really strong movement.
I was at work. I was wearing a black scoop neck, 3/4 length maternity top with the rushing on the side, maternity jeans, and Gina’s slip on shoes, because I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoelaces anymore. I was standing next to my swivel chair, near my desk, talking to a coworker. Luca made such a huge movement, that if felt like an entire body roll. It was such an intense movement that I grabbed my belly and I grabbed the chair. His movement was so big; it pushed the air right out of my lungs. I knew I had big eyes when I looked at my coworker, and she asked if I was okay.
I often wonder if that was his attempt to tell me things weren’t okay. Maybe he was trying so hard to give me a sign that things didn’t feel good for him. Was he? And what if he was? I didn’t listen. I didn’t have that maternal intuition people talk about. I didn’t ask questions, I kept on going that day, getting my work done. It was just a few days before I sent out an email to my coworkers telling them I wouldn’t be in, because I was going to be having my baby soon.
And then I had to send out an email 5 days later telling that same group of people that he had died.
There are so many traumas associated with losing a child. Completely unexpected loss is traumatic. Losing a baby, a full term one which you expected to bring home and love for the rest of your life, is painful. Having to face people who have no idea you have lost your child, and ask you how the delivery went and where your baby is. Coming home from the hospital to be faced with another set of hopes and dreams that have manifested into toys and clothes and books for this child that will never get to use them- that will knock the wind right out of you. It’s incredible pain and loss and trauma. I can’t explain the pain most days. I sit here, tears in my eyes, once again, wondering how to explain it still, 28 months later.
And silently, while I type away, she sleeps next to me.
This paradox of wanting to be ever present with this sweet child in front of me, while wishing there was some way to delete some of my own story and make it so that they could both be here.
I am exhausted from having one foot here and one foot there.
In the sleep deprivation that comes in raising a living, breathing, 10 month old, I still find myself thinking sometimes that it’s so crazy that I haven’t woken up from this dream yet. Is this life right now real? Or was my pregnancy with Luca made up? These are some of the thoughts I weave in and out of. I look through his pictures less frequently, and when I do see them, I no longer have that feeling of really being able to identify him. When I see him, I see her. Who was he? Who would he have been?
I had many of these same thoughts even when I wasn’t sleep deprived, and especially when I didn’t have this baby in my arms. I feel like a hamster in a wheel, running past the same scenery every day.
If I had a chance to hold him and take are of him and know him outside of my womb, if only for a week, or a month, or anything, would I have a better idea of who he was? Or who he was going to be?
I am struggling with these thoughts so much lately.
I struggle too because I knew that smack dab in the midst of our grief, we added this healer of our daughter to the mix. And oh man, how she heals us.
Still, she will always be her own person, and never a replacement for Luca.
She is an addition. She is my bonus.
And I picture myself as this silhouette of a mother, with much of her body empty, her arms full.
I miss him.
Time passes, and he’s remembered less and less, and not just by the world, but also by me. I think about him everyday, so it’s not that I don’t remember him. But as time passes, the physical memory, of his pregnancy, of how he felt on me in the few hours we had together, fade farther and farther away. There’s so much guilt attached to that statement. But 28 months later, you start to forget. It’s what happens. The thought of him is always there, but the emotions that go along with what you associated with your lost child, aren’t as frequent. They come up on anniversaries, or when you are near a child his age or with the same name, or when you see an outfit or toy that you had picked out for them.
I remember very little from his pregnancy now. What I do remember are the parts that make me the saddest. Pieces that I have to now go back and work through- that are so connected with the trauma. I had experienced two full term pregnancies. His was so full of love and expectation. Bliss. Naïveté. Arrogance. I thought it was going to be so easy to just birth a baby into the world, healthy, alive. Why wouldn’t I? Babies are born everyday so easily right?
28 months later, I am a mother of two: one who I carry with all of me, and one I will only ever get to carry in my heart.
28 months. And my work is just beginning.