Dear Beautiful and Innocent Former Self,
You will not believe where life has taken us and what life has taken from us.
If I stood in front of you today and told you our story of child loss and grief, you would probably stare back at me in disbelief.
You might not think it possible for us to have endured all that we have suffered from.
But, we have, and we have survived.
I know you have always envisioned having a family. I know you imagine it will be effortless to become a mother.
You have precise guidelines for how it will look to build your family.
You are in for a shock because it is going to be much more difficult than you could ever imagine.
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You will experience loss and heartbreak, and you will encounter them over and over again.
You will wonder why this is so hard for you when it seems to be so easy for others.
You will question whether a living child will ever be your reality.
I know you have a rich imagination and you can get carried away when you daydream.
Would it break your heart to know that there will be days where you will not allow yourself to dream because it will cause you incredible pain?
I’m also sad to say that you might not even recognize the dreams of your future self.
I imagine you would wonder if you can still call them dreams when they are grounded by so many limitations.
You see yourself as a strong and confident woman, but you have no idea how strong you are.
The magnitude of your strength will not be demonstrated until you feel completely broken.
That strength is what you will need to put yourself back together, and yes, you may have to do it alone.
There may be others to help you, but you will learn that you are your only guarantee in life.
There are days when this will feel incredibly isolating, and there are days when this will empower you.
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I know that you strive for happiness and you are afraid of sadness.
You are so scared to acknowledge pain because you are worried it will chase away your joy.
You’ll get over that.
You are much wiser now, and you understand that there is space for all of your emotions to coexist.
You will learn to honor your feelings, and in turn, you will learn how to accept yourself better.
You are an incredible woman, and I hope one day you will love yourself the way that I do.
You’ve come so far, and we have so much further left to go.
Photo by: Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash
Rachel Whalen is a mother, wife, and Kindergarten teacher from Barre, Vermont. Her life’s work is to keep the memory of her daughter, Dorothy, alive through words both spoken and written. Rachel shares her family’s journey through loss and all that has come after on her blog: An Unexpected Family Outing.