Living After Loss
Your baby has died. The unexpected has happened to you. Your world has stopped turning, and you can’t believe that it continues to turn for other people. You walk through life sad and numb for a good while until you slowly start to feel the world turning again. It starts small. Maybe you allow yourself to listen to music again in your car. Nothing too cheerful, of course. Then you start to look people in the eye again when you’re out in public. You might find yourself cracking a smile, and possibly laughing here and there. You start to realize that life does and will go on. It will be hard. So. Very. Hard. But it will go on, and you will go on with it. You will continue to live even though your baby won’t. That sheer fact will continue to stop you in your tracks. But as the days go on, you will continue to put one foot in front of the other, and you will find your way.
What does living after a loss look like? What does it mean?
It means that you walk around the world with a piece of yourself missing. Most of the world will not be able to visibly see it. And that will make it even more difficult for you at times. But then there will be times where you will be glad that nobody can see it.
It means that you know what it is like to have to kiss your baby for the very last time. Ever. Or maybe you didn’t get to kiss your baby for the first time or the last time because you were too afraid of how much it would hurt. But it hurt anyway, and now it hurts even more because you didn’t get to kiss them at all.
It means that you know what it is like for your world to come crashing down and for your dreams to be crushed. Your world went from thinking about the best strollers to thinking about how you will learn to live on without your baby who was supposed to fill that stroller. Disposable vs. cloth diapers will be a debate long gone for you. Meaningless. Rather you will be debating much tougher questions like, where will I bury my baby? Or will we cremate him? If so, what will we do with his remains?
It means that if you get pregnant again, you will be terrified that something, anything will happen to this baby. You’ve been traumatized. You want so badly to believe that things will work out differently this time. But it’s so hard to balance that hope with the fear that seems to be pervasive at times.
It means that you will never look at a pregnant woman the same. You will talk to other pregnant women and see other pregnant women who never experienced the horrible pain that you have, which is a good thing for them, but sometimes it will make you want to scream. They will talk about how excited they are and what color they have chosen for their baby’s room. They’ll tell you about the perfect accessories that they’ve picked out for that room. They’ll talk about how happy they are to be having a girl or a boy. You will be happy for them, you will. But it will be a muted happiness. And you will probably feel a twinge of jealousy too. Jealousy that they get to experience that excitement that you know you never will again, because even if you get pregnant again, your innocence has been completely thrown out the window.
It means that you have loved deeply enough to have lost deeply. You loved that little being so much, and you still do. That’s what makes this so very difficult. Not only did you lose that little baby, but you lost your innocence. You lost all the hopes and dreams you had for that life.
Losing a baby means so much. More than any words that I can type on this page. Your whole world has come crashing down, yes it has. But you will slowly start to build your world back up again. Little by little. You’ll start to live again. Yes, your life will be different, for you are a changed person, forever. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t navigate your way to a full life again. It will take time. When you feel like things are going well, you may slip and fall back a bit. That is normal. You will gradually build yourself up again though. You will continue to live after your loss.