To the baby I will never know:
When I found out I was pregnant on Valentine’s Day, I was over the moon. I’ve wanted you for so long, a little niblet to complete our family. Your dad and I couldn’t wait to meet you. And you were due right around my birthday; you could have been the third generation born on Oct. 23.
At first, all was rosy. Then things changed. I started spotting. A sonogram showed you were too small for your gestational age. More and more signs started to appear suggesting that you weren’t going to make it.
Then it came: a miscarriage. Such a clinical word for such a brutal experience. As if it doesn’t mean loss, ruin, death. You were gone just as suddenly as you came, and with none of the fanfare.
There are no words for the depth of my grief, and your father’s. We had such grand hopes for you, such sweet plans. Now they’ll never come to fruition. We won’t even get to meet you, much less hold your hands while you learn to walk, hear your first words, read to you, watch you grow. Sometimes, when I feel like torturing myself, I fixate on each and every thing you’ll never do.
I can’t decide what’s worse, the grief or the numb, empty sensation that replaces it. I feel dull, colorless, washed out much of the time, but then the world comes rushing back, all harsh brights and sharp edges. I’ll go to Wegmans and realize I can’t park in the “Expectant Mother” parking (at least, not legitimately) and break down.
Meanwhile, everyone else goes on like nothing happened. How am I supposed to do that? How can I go to work, run errands, eat, sleep, breathe, when I’m not going to be your mommy anymore?
Fortunately, I’m still somebody’s mommy. Andrew — he would have been, should have been your big brother — has been my salvation. He’s such a sweet boy, and he distracts me from the hollowness of my womb. He reminds me to have hope.
But I don’t expect a 3-year-old to be responsible for my mental well-being; it’s not fair, and it’s not practical, either. Your daddy and I have been relying on each other, and I feel very lucky to have him — but then, I always have.
Outside of my family — what should have been your family — though well-meaning, some of the words of “comfort” I’ve been offered have done anything but. What could possibly make someone think I want to hear it was “God’s plan” that my baby died? I know there could be other babies, but how can that make losing you better? As if you were disposable because you hadn’t yet grown arms and legs.
I’m also amazed at the people I thought were good friends who’ve said nothing. If I had given birth to a child, and he or she died, would they ignore that, too? How hard is it to drop a line to say “I’m sorry for your loss”?
I might sound bitter. I guess I am. I have no one I can blame for losing you, and I have all of this anger. I have to direct it somewhere.
But I’m also touched. There are people who have reached out to share their own stories of loss —something like 20 to 30 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage — and others who simply offered kind words and thoughts. Those have meant the world to me and your dad, just to know that we’re not alone, that we’ll get through this.
I know better days are ahead. But that doesn’t make these days any easier. I miss you. I’m bereft. I was pregnant, and now I’m not. There was a life inside me, and now there isn’t. We were going to have a baby, and now we aren’t.
There’s nothing in this world that can ever make up for that.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.
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