I know there are lots of folks who survive baby loss.
Lots of folks before me and there will be lots of folks after who do too. I know some people have survived the trauma of a literally dead silent delivery room.
Oh, mama, I know it was so quiet. I know them. I have met them.
They have held my hand and showed me the way through this deep, dark forest of grief.
I know some people have had their body wracked with sobs while holding their child in their arms, knowing that a whole lifetime is gone. Knowing that as their sweet, beautiful newborn starts to turn cold against their skin- that’s all.
Oh, mama, I know you have cried like that since then, wishing you had just one more moment. That’s all there ever will be.
I have met them. We have cried together.
I know some women have spent too many waking seconds combing through their brains, blaming themselves. Thinking that they should’ve known, that they did know, that they could have should have done more.
Feeling the weight of the world’s biggest burden and then feeling like they should’ve been able to fix it, prevent it.
Oh, mama, I know you feel like you should have advocated harder. Spoken louder. Gone to the hospital sooner.
See a different provider. Not eaten that last candy bar.
Not complained about morning sickness.
Not fell victim to prenatal depression.
Laughed less. Cried more.
Made better decisions.
I know because I have met them.
I know because we have shared these deep, dark pockets of regret and guilt. I know there are women who wish so dearly they had made different choices when their baby didn’t survive.
It’s so much.
You don’t know what funeral home.
You don’t know if you want to donate your baby to science. Or send them to pathology. Or have the hospital decide (which ends in pathology and hospital discard).
You don’t freaking know.
No one does.
You aren’t supposed to know that those are even questions you’ll ever be asked. Let alone have concrete decisions about them.
I know there are women who feel the weight of that awful guilt every single day.
I know because this one, this one right here, is my Achilles heel.
Oh, mama, I so know. I know other women have gone home not to clean their houses as much as they used to.
Who have fallen behind on laundry, grocery shopping, forgotten to pay bills, forgotten lots of important things, and spent more time than ever sitting on the couch in a stupor of grief.
I have sat with them, figuratively and literally. I am one, too.
I know there are women who left the hospital with empty arms and a broken heart but were determined to be strong.
Oh, mama, you were. You were so, so strong.
Until one day, you weren’t.
And that one day that you just couldn’t carry it anymore, a husband- daddy, did.
I know some women have done this and felt worry and guilt for their sweet spouse, too.
I know because I am one. I know there are women who did questionable things to merely survive when they wished they wouldn’t survive at all.
I know there are women who depended a little too much on wine, coffee, and melatonin.
Oh, mama, those days are so hard and dark. I know there are women who have felt the absolute depths of grief and despair and didn’t know how they would ever be able to keep going.
Who questioned God and cursed him too.
Who said snippy, rude things to well-meaning folks when they said stuff like “He’s an angel now” “You can try again” and “This was just God’s will,” followed by “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
These things are meant to be comforting, but there is no comfort when you are shattered to the very core and then some.
I know there are other folks because I am one too. I know other women have felt like no one on the Earth cared or loved or felt as much as they did.
I know because I have felt that too. I have felt that isolating loneliness.
And, oh mama, it’s true. I wish, and I know you wish it wasn’t, but it is. I know other women have wondered if their marriage will survive. Who have questioned what even is the state of their marriage because it is so clouded with grief. I know because I have.
I know there are other Mamas who are suffering and struggling. Who have barely survived all those big firsts. All those Christmas and birthday gifts that aren’t. That empty place at the table that isn’t filled.
Those cute outfits, blankets, and the like you aren’t using but can’t let go. Oh mama, I know you cry alone in the shower, still.
Oh, mama. I wish we could heal each other’s broken hearts. I wish all the love I had for my boy and all the love you have for your child could combine with the love we have for each other and somehow make this better.
But, oh mama, I am so grateful for you. I am so grateful to have you in my life.
Amidst all the other ugly, ungrateful for things, I am grateful for you.
Because you know and unfortunately, so do I. And there is no gratitude, no bond on the Earth like that. Like that of those who have trod the unmarked path before you.
Those who aren’t afraid of your ugly, unbecoming emotions and who listen as you sob and barely audibly ramble.
Oh, mama. I am so ungrateful this happened to you and me. I can never be grateful that we still are not strangers raising babies.
But I am so grateful to have you in my corner when I feel so, so alone. I know other folks have survived this because, Oh, Mama, it’s you.