An Open Letter to Friends and Family: What I Want You To Know About Baby Loss

"It's like something is always missing." 

Dear Friends and Family, 

I am writing this letter with the hope that you will understand a little more about what it is like to lose a baby. Some of you may have lost a child yourself, others may know someone who has. And just maybe, some of you have never heard or known anything about loss, until after reading this letter. 

Wherever or whomever you are, just know that this is not just my story, but also many others who have had to endure the loss of a pregnancy or multiple pregnancies, grapple with the waves of grief, suffer the weight of empty arms, and even struggle with the endless pain of infertility. These are my experiences within a circle of grieving mothers. 

I want you to know that I lost my baby and after losing a baby, I lost many other "things." 

First, I lost my dreams. I had dreams of a beautiful birth with a happy ending. I had dreams of cradling and feeding a newborn. I had dreams of a gathering; a celebration of the life I co-created and birthed. I had dreams of love and the joys of motherhood. 

Then, I lost myself. I lost my identity, and for a time, didn't know who I was. Was I a mother, still? Or did I not quite "make it" there? Did I have enough "experience?" Do I "qualify" to be a mother? I didn't know who I was or what I deserved. I didn't know if I had done something wrong or had karma finally caught up with me. I didn't know what my purpose was or if God no longer loved me. I was supposed to be a mother to a living child. I didn't know why I was still breathing when my baby never took his first breath of life. 

I have also lost my naïveté, or my innocence. I now know that at any moment, I could lose again. I now know that nothing is ever promised. I now know the darkness of death and the pain of loss; the pain I now live with every single day of my "new" life. I have seen and lost so much, and yet, I am filled with wisdom that I did not want. I am no longer and will never be the woman I was before. 

Finally, I lost what would never be. Every day that I am alive, I lose moments and memories of a life that I will never have. I will never know my baby's eyes or my baby's voice. I will never see the seasons of growth and a fruitful life. I will never know and don't know, and that is the most painful thing of all. My baby is a mystery that I could never solve. 

Losing a baby is backwards; parents are not supposed to outlive their children. And giving birth to death doesn't make any sense, but it is real and I am living proof. 

When I held my baby, he was too small. Too small for this big world, too fragile for life. His eyes were fused shut, his body limp. He never moved, nor made a sound. And he was cold, so very cold. And he was beautiful, so beautiful. 

So, do not be alarmed if I am not present: to your baby showers, the birth of your babies, to your baby's first, second, third, even fifth, sixth, or seventh birthdays. Do not be curt or offended if I do not shout with happiness, "Congratulations!" during your announcement or hold your babies. Do not misunderstand me when I say that it is not because I am not happy for you, but that I am sad for me. I often feel that what happened to me and my baby is unjust. I often struggle with feelings of jealousy and envy, blame and shame. Forgive me if I am not compassionate of your complaints of pregnancy and motherhood. 

And despite how hard I try not to, I will always feel the hurt and the pangs of pain when I am watching my dreams unfold for someone else, and not myself. I ask, "Well, why not me??" 

I ask that you hold space, not just for me, but also my baby. Remember me and my baby on Mother's Day and Father's Day, and every other family holiday. Remember me and my baby, while you are holding and hugging tightly onto your baby. Remember me and my baby on your baby showers, the births of your babies, and your baby's first, second, third, and forever more birthdays. 

I ask that you know that our world celebrates life more than it acknowledges death. I ask that you know that when a baby dies, it changes the meaning of life. I ask that you know the existence of invisible motherhood. I ask that you know and remember and say my baby's name. Please say his name for the silence of his cries. Please say his name to give him a voice because I am tired of doing it alone. I am exhausted and my heart is incomplete, constantly shattering in hope and doubt. 

When I am distant, please show me that you care. When I am present, please give me a hug and tell me that you are there. It is not that I isolate myself from you, but that I feel life has isolated me: from joy, from peace, from rest. All I know is that I must survive this new life of sorrow, and even so, it is painful to watch life pass me by without the one person who should be here. 

There is no cure for grief and I do not want to be cured. I just want to be loved as a friend, as family, and as a mother. 

Signed, A Grieving Mama. 

Please share this letter to spread pregnancy and infant loss awareness. 

Thank you!


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