I’m on the plane headed to a blog conference in August of ’11. Sitting next to an older man who is telling me about what he’s going to New York for. His wife of 40 years passed away a few months ago. He’s bringing his little dog with him to a friend’s home to stay for a while and look for a place to live.
He’s kind and friendly. We get around to what I’ll be doing in New York.
“I’m attending a conference. Exploring the city. And getting my first tattoos!”
He looks surprised. “Tattoos? Really? I don’t peg you as a tattooed kinda girl. What are you going to get?”
I tell him about how I lost my twins, Preston and Julian, just a few months before. Born at 20 weeks, and only living a few minutes/hours after a traumatic week in the hospital. He nods and pats my leg as I tear up a little.
“You’re young. You’ll have more kids.”
My heart sinks as I nod and fall silent, his kindly meant words stinging in my heart. I wish I could think of something to say but I can’t.
He’s right. Only – neither of us could know that a year in a half later I’d be looking at another child gone and the very real possibility of no more biological children.
That’s not it though. Sure, if you lose a baby you might be able to “have more kids.” Although not all of us can. But here’s the thing – why is that even an answer to give to a mama?
When he told me he lost his wife, it never crossed my mind (nor would it cross anyone else’s) to tell him, “You’ll find a new wife one day.”
Can you imagine?
No one ever told me when I lost my grandpa I had another one so I shouldn’t be so sad.
I’ve never heard anyone say in regards to other kinds of loss:
“Be thankful you even have a sister.”
“At least you had your mom for 30 years.”
“You just need a new dog. Then you won’t miss or talk so much about the one you loved!”
We don’t even say this kind of thing to people about their pets. Why on earth do we think this is ok to say about a child? A unique, anticipated, loved little person who changed lives even before they took a breath?
Is our society really that desensitized to babies now? We just consider them replaceable?
I don’t care how many children you have. The one(s) you lost are never replaced. Their spot in your life is never filled with that same little person. I could have ten children and I will always feel like someone is missing. 3 little someones.
Because someone is missing.
Diana is owner and editor-in-chief of Still Standing Magazine and blogs her own life story at Diana Wrote. She and her military retired husband have two girls and three sons who passed away after birth; Preston and Julian, identical twin boys who were born at 20 weeks, and Kaden, who unexpectedly had cardiomyopathy due to a rare virus called ciHHV-6. He died in her arms at 3 weeks old.
In 2014 she traveled with World Vision to learn about maternal health and infant mortality in Zimbabwe, and later with them to Ecuador. She is working on a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. You can also find her work on Babble, Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post.