Four weeks ago today, my little one was seemingly safe and sound, growing in my belly, as he should be. I was listening to his heart beat on the doppler, excited to have passed the 14-week mark. I made it. Of course, the reality was that I would wake up and find out my little boy had died for some unknown reason during the night. The Fourth of July will forever hold a new meaning for me. I still can't believe it happened. I still can't believe I really was pregnant. Those months just seem to have erased from my memory, even though I was stuck in bed most of it, miserable...but holding on to the fact that my misery would bring me a baby in the end. It would all be worth it...or should have been, anyway.
I think I am ready for the cremation tomorrow. It is hard to think of my son on a morgue shelf, forgotten about. It's hard to have fun and go about my day, knowing that he is still in the same spot, in the morgue, alone. I want to have him home where he belongs....where he is loved and missed...where he is REAL. It's funny how much people will stand up for their beliefs against abortion and how it is murder. How every baby, no matter how small, is a HUMAN BEING; yet, when those of us who wanted our babies, and did everything possible to keep them...when WE lose our babies, we have to fight to prove they WERE real. Our rights are next to nothing. Up until 20 weeks, they are not considered ours. They are not a stillbirth, they are a miscarriage - fetal demise. Even though I went through hours of induction and pain to deliver him, he was a clump of tissue to the doctor... and on paper, not much different than a tumor. Even though he was a perfect little person, 7 inches long, with feet and toes, hands and fingers, fingernails, eyes, nose, mouth, heart, lungs, ribs, etc. He was nothing but tissue? We saw him kicking and wriggling on several ultrasounds leading up to this...but he was nothing? Things really need to change. Where are the people standing up for the rights of these babies? Oh yeah, that would be us Angel Mommies...but then, we are just crazy and not thinking straight because of our loss and depression...so who listens?
Mothers of lost babies grieve beyond anyone's understanding...unless they, too, have been in these shoes. Even an early loss is extremely painful, physically and mentally. These are our babies. Some of us have tried for months, or even years, to have this dream come true. You never know just how long that story actually is. That first positive line is like winning the lottery. We live every moment and think of everything we do and put in our mouths, for the safety and nourishment of our children. We dream of how the future has now changed. There will be a new addition. A new baby. We begin counting down the months, the weeks, the days, until we can hold them. Cuddle them. Comfort them. See them smile. Hear them say their first words. So, why is it that we are treated like we are cursed? Like we just went to the bathroom, bled, and should move on like nothing happened? That is not the case at all, but it IS the widespread misconception. One would not be asked to grieve a lost loved one, even their DOG, with just a shrug of the shoulders and a "Maybe next time." Things really need to change...REALLY.
I recently came across a site that offers containers and coffins for every loss, even from just a few days into a pregnancy. The people on one message board were making fun of this, and making fun of us mothers who have lost our babies and how ridiculous it is to want to bury "tissue" or blood, even up to a full-term infant. They just could not grasp how one could love or grieve a "thing" that had never even breathed a single breath. They were sure that we lunatics could never compare the loss of a baby we never met to the grief of a living person. To me, it is appalling that people think otherwise! We are MOMS. These are our children, no matter how small or "insignificant" they may seem. Yes, we grieve and hurt, just as if we had known them much longer. From the moment we see that positive test, our lives change. From that moment, our lives are changed forever. That "tissue" WILL turn into our children. We start imagining the future with that small, tiny speck, and what they will become. Just because we have the misfortune to lose that dream, does not mean it does not hurt horribly. Grief is grief. It does not mean that we should just turn everything off and shut down because it is over....life does not switch back to normal the moment our pregnancy ends. We need to grieve and heal. We have a constant reminder for weeks as we bleed, every time we go to the bathroom, it's a stab to the heart. It's not a pretty thought, but it's the reality. We need support, not shunning. We don't forget in a day, a week....or even months. We learn to move on, sure, just as anyone does who has lost... but we never forget.
It is just so hard to have to deal with it all AND have to censor ourselves because it is so taboo. To have to hurt and be depressed, sad, feel alone, cry, feel overwhelmed and overcome with grief, and all the other things that go with it, yet we have to pretend like everything is okay, because...um...well...that's just what we're supposed to do!?! We have to feel bad because we are still grieving or having trouble moving on. It's a balancing act that no one should have to go through, especially alone. It's like the dark, family secret, and if everyone just acts like it never happened, it will go away. I just wish I could find the words to explain it. I was "lucky" (such an odd word to use in this instance) in that this time I had pictures of my little one. I got to hold him and say my goodbyes...it helped bring closure to me and to solidify just how real he was, and also made it real to others. He wasn't just thrown out with the medical waste or flushed down the sewer. All our babies ARE real....it's just that we are usually the only ones that cared for and FELT them. We are the ones that are supposed to protect them and keep them safe, and for me, personally, I feel like a failure that I couldn't do that. Many moms do. We wonder what we could have done differently and blame ourselves daily....alone, with no understanding of the torture we are going through inside.
All the other moms on my Grief and Loss message boards are hurting and suffering, too. It's not just MY opinion or MY feelings...it is widespread. We have to lean on each other because we were unfortunate enough to have to belong to this seclusive club. I know people don't intend to be uncaring or unsympathetic, but this really is an area that needs a lot of attention and needs to be heard. So many women have went through it, yet we are still in the dark ages of not talking about it and just going into hiding and acting like everything is okay. It's not. Go to a grief board and look through the posts. See the isolation and despair that these women feel. The grief that goes unnoticed. The tears that go unseen. The voices that go unheard. Tell me it is something that we should just get over because it was "nothing." OR, better yet...reach out to someone who has lost and let them know that you DO care. Let them know that they are not alone and their grief is real. Let's start changing it now so that mother's in the future don't have to keep suffering in silence, physically, mentally, and emotionally. If anything good can come from my losses, maybe it will be to open more people's eyes on the subject and help other Angel Mommies. Remember ALL of our babies, even the ones that were too beautiful for this earth.