by Steph Whitehouse
Writing about child or infant loss is profoundly painful.
Not only do you have to relive the pain mentally and physically, but you also have to be able to put it into words.
Thinking or writing about my children is like continually picking at a scab, removing that layer of protectiveness, and peering into the wound.
When I first heard the words “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat,” I felt like the world had stopped spinning. I couldn’t believe I was still breathing when I was in so much pain.
I had been expecting news like this due to abnormal bleeding over the weekend, but actually, hearing the words and seeing the still image of my boy made it very real.
I remember thinking I was drowning in pain.
I thought I would never smile, never laugh, never be happy again.
I never thought I would be whole. Three years on and I find I can smile and laugh and even be happy.
I don’t think I’m whole. I never will be.
Pieces of my heart will always be missing.
Through learning how to laugh and smile and be happy I, somewhere along the line, began to hope again.
I couldn’t tell you exactly when. It wasn’t even a conscious move. In three years, I have lost six more children and separated from my husband.
You wouldn’t think there was much room for hope with all that happening.
Yet, it is there.
I wake up in the morning and can dream of a future. It is not the future I had originally hoped and planned for, but I am hoping for another kind of future.
A future where I can openly acknowledge my children and the pain I carry around.
A future where I find someone willing to stand by me, no matter what.
A future where it is acceptable to be both happy and sad at the same moment.
I can’t articulate the future I want, because I don’t know what I want yet. I am still caught up in the daily struggle to stay afloat amongst the happy couples having healthy children.
I stare into their lives with a painful gnawing hunger that will never be sated.
All I can do is my best.
Some day that is merely surviving the day and saving my tears for my pillow.
Other days the burden I bear is light and easy to carry.
While I never quite know what kind of day I will have. I can hope, and I can dream that one day I will be able to say, “Yes, I’m fine” and know that I am not lying.