Nothing Happened. Just The Worst Thing Happened. My Baby Died.
You didn’t do anything. Nothing happened. Just the worst thing happened.
My baby died.
On the bad days, or in the bad moments, an innocent co-worker, friend, family member, or even my husband, will occasionally find me crying tears that simply seem to come out of nowhere and they’ll ask, “what happened?”, or, “what did I do?”. And in those moments, I struggle to find the words. In my grief-stricken world, I cannot fathom the need for this question. I cannot understand why people don’t understand that, well, my baby died. What more needs to happen to make me upset?
I cannot find any other creative or conversation inviting way to put it.
I reflect back on these moments often, because it really is hard for me to answer with “nothing, I’m just having a hard day/moment”. I don’t blurt it out, I don’t say “my baby died”. But I don’t understand why others don’t just know “what” is bringing about my tears, and that they did nothing to cause the pain.
And so, I ask myself, why do people ask me these questions, especially people who know exactly “what” happened – my baby died – and exactly why I am upset. I haven’t asked any of them this question, but I suppose it’s because I am fairly confident that I know the answer without having to ask. The reason, I think, is two-fold.
First, I think they hope that I’ve made great strides in healing and that I am not in this emotional pain every day. It isn’t because they want me to “get over it”, rather it is because they hurt for me too and so badly want to see me happy instead of hurting. It’s from their empathetic, compassionate hearts that they hope that I am rising out of the aftermath.
Secondly, they want to hear that my pain has been caused by something tangible.
By something somebody else has done, so that they can come to my defense and show me the protection that they will pour over me, if someone should dare cross the path of my broken heart, in the wrong way. Or, if they have said something wrong, then they can apologize for it, seek to understand why it hurt it me and promise to never do or say whatever hurt me again.
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It has been 24 weeks and 2 days since I held my sweet Marshall. He was 38 weeks and 1 day’s gestation, just 13 days from his due date. He was my first baby. I really felt like I was figuring out how to handle my grief well. But, recently, I’ve been grappling with God, playing a sort of tug-of-war with Him, because I have found another “why”. I don’t know why He gave me this heart.
This heart that sought Him within just hours of learning that my son had passed in my womb. This heart that willingly looks at so many situations from the viewpoint of the other person, instead of only my own. This heart, that despite the visceral pain caused, can stop to see why someone else has asked me a question or said something that hurts. I can come to a conclusion that their words or actions were well intended and, in time, be okay with it.
This isn’t to say that I haven’t had a handful of experiences that have left me bitter and battling to find true forgiveness for a few people.
What I am saying is that I feel like I am doing something wrong, there is a piece of my being that just wants to be angry for the things that a person said or did, to have something to hold onto. Something to talk about and explain my pain in some less complex, more agreeable way to the unknowing person who hasn’t experienced this loss.
But, more often than not, I cannot give the unknowing a relatable answer to the reason for my pain. The reason for my pain is that my baby died, I miss my beautiful son, and my heart is still wishing for a different outcome. I understand the gravity and the reality of what has happened. But some days I still feel like I can’t walk upright, like the weight of my loss has pulled me back to ground zero. It will take some undefined amount of time, but I will regain the strength to stand upright again, at least for a while.
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I know I should be grateful for this heart. Well, I am grateful for this heart, but I think I am afraid of it too.
I wonder, did God give me this heart because he has more heartbreak and pain in store for me? Is Satan going to tempt me in some unfathomable way, again? Will I experience another loss? Again, because of this heart God gave me, my faith in Him has come to new depths, depths that I have to work daily to maintain or find again after I’ve wavered. I’ve had moments of truly feeling if God’s plan is for me is to live without babies of my own and only with my husband – I can and will be at peace with His plan.
I hope and pray this isn’t the case. I like to believe that he gave me this heart so that I can do good with it. So that I can help other loss moms. To take a stand for the cause of stillbirth, and to raise awareness and funding for better research and prevention in the United States. Mostly, I hope he gave me this heart so that I can love Marshall and my future babies fiercely. I have not lost hope and will not stop trying anytime soon, with every fiber of my being, to fight the infertility battle. To worship Him through more pregnancies with the hope of bringing healthy, living babies home.
About the Author Amber Hall:
I am a wife and mom to one beautiful son, Marshall James, who was born still at 38 weeks. At less than 6 months since losing my son, I am not sure how else to define myself yet. I still enjoy running, but even that is complicated. I have a strong desire to help other loss moms, once I feel like I am capable of helping other loss moms. I find comfort in writing and reading. I’ve been sharing my story and my journey in life after loss on my blog, at lifeafterthis.org.