“I feel like you’re ungrateful, for your son and for your life, because you are still talking about Lennon.”
These are the words spoken to me from a family member.
I had an extremely complicated birth for my fourth and final boy. At just thirty-six weeks, he kicked me in just the right spot, stretched just the right way or wiggled just enough to stress my uterus beyond its capacity.
My uterus ruptured.
After previously living through a stillbirth, the fear was real that my son was not going to make it here alive and I was certain I would die.
I remember screaming across the waiting room over and over as I was wheeled away from my husband to the operating room,
“Sean, I love you. Tell my kids I love them every day!”
I refused to give into the medication that put me under for my emergency cesarean before completing an Our Father and begging for my child’s life. I heard the nurse over and over in my ear,
“Deep breaths, you have to take deep breaths.”
The pain was so intense (I had remained unmedicated for the two and a half hours it took to diagnose and get me to the operating room) that I could no longer think, could not finish my prayer on my own.
One or two lines of the prayer would be recited in my mind, only to succumb to the pain and have to start anew.
Determination ran through me to complete the verses of the prayer before I let my eyes close for what I assumed was the last time.
I needed to do this one thing for my baby because I knew it would be the last thing I would do for him.
Somehow, I woke up. Somehow, he survived.
It was a miracle that we both were alive to tell the story, if not for my amazing and capable doctors we would not have made it.
I announced his birth by calling him a miracle baby. I gushed about how thankful I was to get to see my children grow.
Even with all of these truths, I am still seen as being ungrateful because I have the audacity to mention my son who did die.
As a loss mom, I live my life every day, without.
I live with joy, I live being grateful, I live with my heart full of love –
but I also live without.
In time, I may have learned how to carry my son with me more gracefully but every so often, even now, I will feel the full weight of his loss and lose myself in the misery.
I will wallow in the knowing, that my life will always be missing someone. Sobs of despair will come over me as I contemplate his life that was left unlived.
It hurts me to know that others, due to never knowing this pain, see my grief as an affront to the beautiful life I have been blessed with.
It seems unrealistic, I’m sure, to continuously hear the dichotomy of my joy and woe.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
No mother should feel shame for showing the world the love, devotion, and pride she carries for her child.
We all stand in awe, as we watch a grieving momma dolphin carrying around her dead calf in mourning, but then admonish the loss mom who dares to grieve out loud.
Let’s end this today, let’s start right now!
Let us show the world what it means to love and live all at once.
Let us be examples of how grief can be integrated into a life well lived.
Let us share the stories of the voiceless who live on in our hearts so everyone can know our journey doesn’t make us ungrateful, it makes us aware, it makes us empathetic, it makes us capable of being vulnerable.
We are our children’s storytellers, we are the ones left behind to live for the lost, we are the brave souls who live through the impossible act of saying goodbye.
We are not ungrateful, we are anything but.
Never allow others misconceptions to change your heart, always share your child’s memory out loud.
Morgan McLaverty, a world traveler that has taken roots in southern New Jersey where her husband Sean was born and raised. Now, a stay at home mother, she cares for her three living boys; Gavin Cole(5), Rowan Grey(3) and Holden Nash (1). She also is a mother to Lennon Rhys. Lennon was born still at thirty one weeks and five days. His loss spurred on a need in Morgan to write her feelings, share her grief and help others in the process. She hopes her words will help shed the silence and taboo nature of discussing pregnancy and child loss.