I thank the Lord every day for the nurse that was assigned to me for Wyatt’s induction. She was the one that stayed by my side when I needed it when I wanted it, and even when I didn’t know that I needed or wanted it. Dorothy was meant to be my nurse. I was fortunate to have delivered in a fantastic hospital that already had a thoughtfully designed protocol in place for when a baby dies. Before losing Wyatt I probably would have phrased that, “if a baby dies,” but now I am so acutely aware of how often that tragedy occurs. I am most thankful for her using the resources available in my state to help us celebrate and honor our son, even in death.
Though I left the hospital without my most precious gift in tow, I didn’t leave with empty arms. A professional photographer, who volunteers for NILMDTS, came and captured beautiful images of my son. Although you see such sadness in the pictures that my husband and I are in, they are still beautiful. She captured our hearts and the huge piece of it that we would have to let go of. Various organizations provided handmade blankets and mementos. In a few weeks, I was going to receive a plate with his footprints on and all of his stats. This plate was provided for free. Of course, we would have preferred Wyatt over these things, but the fact was that Wyatt wasn’t coming home. I only had these items left to honor him.
Those organizations provide so much more than just tangible items. They provide moments of peace. Because of those organizations, I felt a little less alone from the beginning of it all. Obviously, someone else had experienced this heartache; otherwise, why would they create such non-profits?
I’m grateful organizations such as NILMDTS and Mamie’s Poppy Plates exist. I’m thankful that some people who have suffered the loss of a child, continually put themselves out there and dedicate so much time to helping other families. It brings a little peace knowing that we aren’t having to hide our struggles or dismiss them or act like our child never existed. Before enduring those horrible words, “His heartbeat is gone,” I wasn’t aware of how frequently babies die. I had already made it through one successful pregnancy and birth. Why would even entertain the idea that my second son would die and would die in utero at 39 weeks and 4 days? Everyone could still benefit from continued education about child loss.
I do sometimes worry about the pressure that some mothers may feel after they’ve lost their child. It is great these groups are out there and that there are books you can read to try to help you find your way to deal. Does that put pressure on them, even on a subconscious level? I hope not, but it might. Is it okay for mothers and fathers who have lost a baby not to run to the front of the battlefield and be the new face of child loss? Of course, it is.
The parents that don’t start up the next new child-loss nonprofit don’t love or miss their child any less.
The people who run the non-profits aren’t out to prove anything.
We all love our children and miss them and just want to honor them the best way we know how.
Photo Credit: Heather Welch
I am a mother of 3 boys, a wife, and a teacher. Anytime I get to talk about my sweet Wyatt, I know he is smiling. I want the conversation about child loss to not be one that we are scared of. We can learn so much from each other by talking, writing, or simply just being with one another.