Will the Loss of My Baby Ever Get Easier?

July 31, 2017

I sat cross-legged on the carpet in our living room, my back against the cream-colored couch, my delicious, squirmy seven-month old son in my lap. There was no stopping the inertia of the full-face smile as I watched my six-year old son and three-year old daughter jump and skip and wiggle their heinies to J.T.’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”

I laughed and laughed as they belted that catchy chorus. I was full of joy and happiness – the deep, contented kind that comes from a place of overflowing with thankfulness and love.

Moments like these are frequent around our home. I spend countless hours watching my kids engage in their activities, ranging from mundane to exciting, and experience those same, deeply satisfying feelings. They – both the kids and the accompanying good feelings – are a treasure and a gift.

But if you were to measure my thoughts, if you were somehow able to map the thoughts and feelings my brain processes during an experience like this I am almost certain you would not only see positive emotions.

I am convinced that you would see a rainbow kaleidoscope on top, twisting and undulating with happiness and joy and underneath, a monochrome line studded with grief, longing, and the never-fading question of what might have been.

It has been almost two years since I lost my infant son and almost five years since losing my infant daughter. Both of them passed away shortly after birth because of unidentifiable genetic anomalies that labeled them incompatible with life.

But no matter how much time passes the memories of my brief time with them never seem to fade. They left a deep, unforgettable impression on my soul.

After my first baby passed away I wondered how long it would take me to feel normal. I distinctly remember one night after my daughter passed away, coming home from a nice evening out to dinner and a movie with my sister thinking, “Hm. I don’t think I cried today.” It was the first day in almost seven months (three without her, four since learning of her fatal diagnosis) that I had not cried.

It was a milestone moment for me and just one step in the, “two steps forward, one step back” journey that is infant loss.

Will the loss of my baby ever get easier? The short answer is yes. Yes it will. The more complete answer? Yes, but it will take time. And it will take patience. And it will take lots of bad days in between.

Will the loss of my baby ever get easier? Yes, grieving heart, it will. Slowly but surely the steady downpour of tears will give way for the sun to peek out from behind the clouds. Slowly but surely the inescapably sick, desperate feeling in your gut will give way to something that resembles acceptance and resilience.

And slowly but surely the willful, albeit forced, determination to attempt life each day without them will give way to hope.

But the pain of your loss will never really, truly leave you. At least it hasn’t for me. Even in my sweetest times I wonder who they might have been and what our family might have been because of them. But maybe that underlying bass note of melancholy, in and of itself, is a blessing by which to keep their memory alive.

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  • Sarah Rieke

    Sarah Rieke is a wife and mother who has walked the impossible road of infant loss twice. The existence of her two sweet babies, Evie and Charlie, are the heartbeat behind Sarah's desire to extend genuine compassion, empathy, and emotional support to mothers who have experienced loss.

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