There is a huge movement in the community to start breaking the silence about babyloss. To help the non-loss community understand we will not stop talking about this. Baby loss happens all day, every day. It's not something to be overlooked or ignored. The grief of losing a child is the hardest type of grief to face. There is no pain like that of losing an innocent, new life. Every single day, for the rest of the our lives, there is a loved and wanted person missing. It's the loss of hopes and dreams and the spark that's within a person to live life to the fullest. Life is no longer something you can understand. The world no longer makes sense. I can tell you first-hand what that does to the heart of a mother. I can tell you second-hand what that does to a father. A parent's greatest fear is the death of their child and we have to live it every day of our lives.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter". I've never been one to be quiet about things that matter. And let me tell you, Samuel mattered! I refuse to stop talking about him, or grief, or how his absence it felt so strongly, all day every day. I don't care one bit what non-loss people think. I'm the one who has to face it every day of my life.
**Side note: It's always funny to me when someone who has NO CLUE what it's like to lose a child tries to tell me how to grieve or judges me for "not getting over it" or "moving on by now". Clueless people should keep their enormously incorrect opinions to themselves. It always makes me wonder, "Do you think you'd be "okay" after only a year if one of your children died?" If you believe you would be, then maybe you better think about how much you love your child, or why their life is not important to you. Samuel was loved and wanted and we incorporated him into our family from the moment we knew he existed. That's why I will never "get over it". **
(As a general rule in life, if you have never experienced something, you have no right to tell the person facing it how it should be done. Just listen and love. Wouldn't you want the same?)
I have been thinking for a while, it's great that we're all breaking the silence on Facebook and within our groups, but what does that do for the rest of the world? The real world. We need to start taking it out of our circles and to the public view.
I read THIS by Carly Marie on Still Standing Magazine.Yes! It's time to heal Mother's Day!
I can remember - even before I was pregnant - thinking how hard this day must be for mother's without children. For those that faced infertility or loss, this day had to be a nightmare. A day where motherhood was paraded around without a word about those who longed for it, but, for one reason or another, were unable to enter into it. (Imagine how you'd feel if there were a day to honor people who have something that was stolen from you? People who did nothing more or less than you did, but for some unknown reason are able to have it while you are not. Can you imagine that hurt and resentment and bitterness?)
Now that I'm a mother with no baby, this day hurts my heart. I feel cheated in a way I can't fully explain. I should be running after my busy boy, wearing a pretty flower and enjoying a Mother's Day Brunch. Instead, I'll stay as far away as I can, to protect my heart from the sights and sounds that bring me to my darkest place. The place of deep sadness, hurt, and confusion inside a heart that'll never be complete again in this lifetime.
I know there are more people who feel the way I do, living near me. (Although I have yet to find them since Mankato likes to pretend that all babies live). I knew I needed to do something to let them know they are not alone. I knew I needed to break the silence in the real world.
So I did the only thing I could think of: I called our local newpaper and told our story. The woman I spoke with said I could send something over and she'd see if it was something they would print. I sat down and wrote. I sent it over and never heard a word back. I figured it just was too much to think they'd print it.
Yesterday, I was carrying in groceries and my neighbor called across the fence that she was coming over with something for me. She soon arrived with a beautiful yellow rose bush and a mother's day card. She told me how Samuel was very special to them and how I'll always be his mother. I cried. Right there in the doorway with my huge potted plant in one hand and the card in the other. She cried too and gave me a big hug. For the first time since he died, I felt like someone on the outside - someone who has never read my blog or seen what I say on FB - really, truly got it. You don't stop being a mother just because your baby dies. It's just a totally different way of parenting, but it's parenting, none the less. She looked in my eyes and I knew she got it. When someone gets it, I feel so much lighter. I don't have the weight of trying to explain the unexplainable and I can just be. It's such a relief.
She and I talked for a while. She said, "I read what you wrote in the newspaper and I thought it was very brave and wonderful of you". I got kind of flustered. Apparently, they had printed it without ever saying a word more to me!
After I thanked her profusely and she left, I went online in search of it on the newspaper's website. I found it! As I'm sure happens a lot, it was cut down quiet a bit, but it was there! I asked Bryan to bring home a copy.
I truly hope my words help someone feel less alone. I hope they help someone know it's okay - and good! - to remember a child who died and to honor the mothers who face this heartache every day.
You can read what I wrote HERE. It's not the full article I wrote, but it's enough.
Let's celebrate all mothers. This Sunday and every day.
These are a few of the lines cut from what I wrote. I think they are worth saying:
The bereaved mother is still a mother. She deserved the same attention and honor as all other mothers on this special day.
“Whether in her arms, or in her heart, a mother carries her children with her forever”. – RaeAnne Fredrickson of All That Love Can Do
“A Mother is not defined by the number of children you see, but by the love that she holds in her heart.” – Franchesca Cox of Small Bird Studios
One final note: My cousin sent me a text with this quote. It meant a lot to me <3