I Lost a Baby, Too

Mamaandleah

Our first baby would have turned 14 this month.

And every year around this time,

a tiny shudder will run through me when I step into a bathroom.

It will always be a room where I first said hello and good bye to motherhood. 

I can still see the colour of the walls.

I can still see the lines on a stick.

I can still see the top of my husband's head as he changed a light bulb in the stairwell outside the door, because I had left it slightly ajar. 

I turned to look at him, with that secret test in my hand,

And I thought, 

I'm about to change our lives forever.

That's where the memory ends.

I don't remember his reaction or what we said to one another in the days that followed.

I believe my heart has done a very good job of hiding it from my mind's eye.

We were young.

We were scared. 

I didn't think we were ready.

I can still remember the words that left my lips,

when the first drops of blood made themselves known seven weeks later,

I'm sorry.

I had wished our baby away.

And despite the blood tests, ultrasounds, emergency rooms, complications and surgery I went on to endure, there was no greater punishment than the words I repeated to myself.

I deserved to lose our baby.

And when the numbness and shock subsided enough to make room for crushing waves of grief,

I turned away from them.

When concerned family tried to comfort me,

I brushed them off.

You can't mourn a baby you didn't want.

My marriage suffered, my self-esteem plummeted, my body refused me another pregnancy when I decided I was finally ready to welcome one.

I don't deserve to be a mother.

Until the day I sat across from a young doctor and confessed that I wanted to conceive again.

I wanted her to see my charred heart and help me heal it.

To tell me it was okay to hope. 

Because I wasn't sure a baby could grow beneath a heart like mine. 

She told me to stop calling what happened to me a baby and accept that it was just a mass of imperfect cells I was better off without.

I walked out the door and forgave myself. 

I wasn't better off without.

I would be better because I finally understood,

my grief was a symptom of love, 

my loss came from longing,

and my forgiveness was hope.

And in the emptiness left behind,

was a space to fill with joy.

+++++

Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day.

One in four pregnancies end in loss.

If you have experienced a loss, my heart goes out to yours.

Please find help and understanding and compassion for yourself.

This is a great place to get started.

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Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who blogs from elanmorgan.com and works from elan.works, spreads gratitude through the graceinsmallthings.com social network, and speaks all over. They have been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health and Woman's Day magazines, TEDxRegina, and on CBC News and Radio. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.