It’s Not Just a Pregnancy Loss

 It’s been a while, but life has been lifing! I’ve just been trying to live. So many things have happened since I last wrote—so many incredible milestones as well as so much loss. However, the most recent “big” moment for my family was November 8, 2022. If TJ had lived, his birthday may have been November 8, 2020. Every year my family honors him on his due date because his angel day (day of death) never hits me as a day of excitement. 

This year was the first year my husband was able to be home and celebrate our son with the rest of us. We kept it chill, made breakfast, took naps, made tacos since it was also “Taco Tuesday,” sang happy birthday to the moon, and wrote our letters to him. Each year we put our letters in his keepsake box. Every single day of the week the moon was big and bright! It is so reassuring each year to see the moon shine bright on his due date. When he died, the moon shined bright outside my window each day for a month. It was a clear sign to me because his middle name is Titan (which is also a moon).

I miss him though. I miss him so much. When I think about how much I miss him, I think about how my loss wasn’t just a pregnancy loss. The day I lost TJ, I lost my newborn. I lost an entire baby. I lost my toddler. He’d be two. I lost my big boy, tween, teen, and adult son. I’ll never get to be his tooth fairy. I won’t get to witness his voice change due to puberty. I won’t witness my son get married and become a father… The moment the pregnancy test came back positive, I immediately had high hopes, dreams, prayers, and wishes for him. I added him to my living children. We named him early because we’d never imagined he wouldn’t be earthside with us. Every single time I watch my children laugh, play, reach milestones, and grow, I wish he had the chance to do those things also.

So if you know someone who has suffered a loss and took it hard, please understand that it’s not only about the loss of their baby. It’s their loss of birthday celebrations, first words, first steps, holidays, family photos, laughs, smiles, and more. That mother is grieving all stages and ages of her baby. Her angel is a newborn, toddler, teenager, and adult all in one because she still allows that child to grow in her heart. But at the same time… it’s still her baby that she yearns to hold in her arms. And because she’ll never have those moments, she is reminded of the painful moment she heard the words “I’m sorry, I can’t find a heartbeat.”

My dearest TJ. I can’t believe you’re two! I love you so much, my beautiful boy. I wish I could kiss all over you and sniff you.

Love, 

Mommy

Mothering While Grieving

If you’re a mother to a living child(ren), you already know being a mother is no walk in the park, and if you reading this as a support person or mom in waiting (praying or pregnant), I’m sure you’ve heard a mom say that before. I had no idea what I was getting myself into at 21, but I know for sure I thought majority of the journey would be filled with laughter, matching outfits, extracurricular activities, vacations, etc. I soon learned those experiences are moments that take place throughout a very challenging journey. Sleep becomes a thing of the past, blowouts, tantrums, screaming, tears, urgent care visits traumatize you because of wait times, cooties spread like wildfire, matching outfits get destroyed the moment you leave the house, vacations can feel like work when traveling with multiple kids, etc. Nevertheless, those tough moments are nothing in comparison to grieving and healing while being a mother.

The day my son passed was traumatic in so many ways. I remember letting out a horrific scream with tears that followed. I whaled at the sight of him because I still had an inkling of hope that he’d live. My children and mother ran to the bathroom and knocked on the door. I muffled my cry to reassure them I was okay so they’d walk away and allow my mother to come in and help me. I sobbed in the bathroom while I went back and forth whether I would flush him down the toilet or toss him in the trash. I did neither of those and spent enough time in the bathroom to gather myself so my children would leave me alone when I walked to my room.

I was in so much pain mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I felt empty physically and emotionally. I was embarrassed, ashamed, confused, in disbelief, and traumatized. But I had to continue mothering my living children while going through all of this. Truth of the matter is I couldn’t the first week. I couldn’t mother my children initially. I couldn’t smile, laugh, or talk. I couldn’t fake or hide my pain. I told them “Mommy isn’t feeling well, my stomach is hurting really bad.” I’d literally took my husband back to work two days before our loss happened. As he was making his way back to our side of the country, my mother took care of my daughters and I. I didn’t realize until I began writing this… both my mother and I were mothering while grieving.

My mother was grieving watching me go through a pain she’d never seen me experience or experience herself. She was also traumatized and in pain from witnessing and experiencing the loss of her grandchild. As I write this, my heart truly breaks for her. She was my strength while I waited for my husband. She continued to work her full-time government job at the peak of the pandemic, cooked, cleaned, and kept my girls occupied. She would keep them away as long as she could, and then they’d all come in the room to eat and watch TV with me for a little. She mothered me in a way that I can’t even put my gratitude in words. Thank you Mommy.

When my stomach no longer hurt, but the mental and emotional pain remained, I told them, “Mommy is really sad and will be for a long time so please be patient with me. I’ll tell you why when I’m able to.” It was the start of my journey in mothering my living children and my precious child in heaven. Nothing can prepare you for such a time. Attending therapy on a computer sobbing next door to your children screaming because of a pandemic is exhausting. Pausing your tears for your deceased child to cater to your 2 year old is soul crushing. So much to talk about in future posts…

Dear TJ,

I was never embarrassed or ashamed of you. I was embarrassed because I felt like I failed you. I had given life to your sisters but not you. I was ashamed because I couldn’t understand why my body didn’t do what it was supposed to do. But I’m much better baby. You and I did EXACTLY what we were supposed to do.

Love,

Mommy…

Would You Do It All Over Again?

If I were asked the question, “Would you do it all over again?”, I wouldn’t. If I had a time machine, I’d never choose to go down the path of losing my baby again. I struggled with this answer for so long because, for a while, my answer would have been yes. I didn’t find out I was pregnant until I was about 8 or 9 weeks along. I was pretty in denial before caving in and taking a test because all of the symptoms I was experiencing were synonymous with PMS. Strangely, it felt like I was pregnant for a short and long time, at the same time. The days were long, but the weeks were short. It felt like as soon as I’d learned and accepted that we would be having our third child, he was leaving. Early in my grieving, I would choose to do it again just so that I could embrace and love my baby sooner. So that I would have technically had a longer time with him. Although I lost him at 11 weeks and 2 days, I had only known about him for close to 4 weeks. 2 out of those 4 weeks were spent worrying if he was ok because of the bleeding. At the time of my loss, the world had just shut down a month earlier (OB/GYN appointments were spaced out and moving to Telehealth), and the emergency rooms were filled with sick and dying people due to Covid. So I stayed home as long as I could in hopes that I’d make it to my first in-person appointment.

Now, the feeling of wanting to do it all over again visits for a few seconds, but then it’s quickly removed when I remember everything that took place after. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t. However, part of my heart breaks saying that. It feels like I’m saying I wish my baby never existed. It feels like I’m saying my baby brought me pain. It feels like I’m saying that I would have been fine if I had never been pregnant with him. I often let those thoughts consume me so let me speak the truth instead of letting my emotions marinate on lies. Although my loss pains me, I’m so glad my baby existed. The truth is that I do wish I’d been pregnant with him, but I wish I’d been able to hold him in my arms and watch him grow. But if I knew my baby wouldn’t live, I wouldn’t do it again.

The pain of losing a child is one that I will never be able to put into words. The heartache you feel. The darkness you feel surrounds you. The sunken place you feel yourself crying and screaming to get out of, but no one can save you… It’s by far the hardest thing I’ve gone through thus far. It doesn’t matter what gestational age your baby was when they died… it crushes you and leaves you with so many questions and pieces to pick up.

But… What if I didn’t experience losing this baby? Would I have continued to push the date back to start therapy? Would I have ever truly allowed my husband to care for me the way he did and still does? How long would it have taken for me to truly work on finding my purpose and pursuing it? Losing my baby has changed me in a painful way, but it has also blessed me. And that breaks the other part of my heart to say. It feels sick to speak on some of the good things that came out of his death. I try to remind myself of my therapist’s words, “There is duality in grief.” “You can feel both heartbroken, but happy at the same time.”

To me. To other moms of babies who aren’t with them physically… Take your time. The journey of grieving and healing after loss is not linear.

Dear TJ,

“You mean the world to me. You are my everything. I swear the only thing that matters to me…” Is making sure that I honor you forever!

Love,

Mommy