My baby lived for one day and then he died. Say it quickly. Don’t think too much. It doesn’t sound so bad.

Someone said, “Pull yourself together. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Cheer up and get on with life.”

But imagine…

I am lying in bed. I feel butterflies darting inside me as my baby turns over. And joy bubbles up within me. I think about names. What will my baby look like? I  picture a downy little head tucked under my chin and little fingers grasping me tight, baby breath sighs and rosebud lips searching...  I place my hands on my stomach and I whisper, “I love you.”

Later…

 I lie on a couch, my eyes fixed on an ultrasound screen. I see my baby for the first time: his little hand outstretched waving towards me, a foot pressed against me, a small dot of a nose. My heart overflows with love and I whisper, “I love you.”

And then…

A doctor with compassionate eyes tells me about a diaphragmatic hernia I cannot see. I look at the tiny bundle of life who will continue to grow…  until he is born and then he will die. I cry.

Five months of pain and prayer and tears...

My baby is born but I cannot hold him. Doctors rush to the NICU with my unseen child. Later: tubes, wires, monitors and equipment invade my son's body. I stand back. I am not allowed to touch. I watch him struggle to live, but eventually he dies in my arms. And the room fills with grief filled sobs.

Someone nails my child into a coffin.  We gather around his grave. The sun disappears behind a cloud and we shiver. My baby is lowered into the cold dark ground, leaving me behind with my whisper of, “I love you.”

I am home. Life is back to normal. Everything is the same as before. Except me. I am changed forever.

My heart is tied up into a huge knot of pain. I will learn to hide the sorrow deep within me, in a secret place. But it will still be there...

My baby lived for one day and then died. Say it slowly and think for a moment. My baby, your baby, your friend’s baby…. How can anyone say, “Pull yourself together. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Cheer up and get on with life”?

I sit here remembering. My eyes fill with tears. I am still whispering, “I love you.”
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  1. thank you Sue! I sometimes wonder if it was all a dream, did i have a son? Did I watch him being lowered into the ground? I look back at the person I was before he was in my life...she is gone; forever. One has to keep thoughts in check sometimes to continue on with life,but then you come across a post like this and memories flood back to you,and new aches come...and we remember to be patient and loving to those around us.

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  2. Thank you for stopping and sharing, Elizabeth. I am sorry you are grieving for a son too. Yes, we are changed forever.

    I am sometimes surprised by some people's lack of empathy. I wouldn't have thought it would take much imagination to picture the pain of bereavement. But how would I have reacted to a friend's sorrow if I had never experienced grief myself? Yes, we have to remember to be loving and patient to others.

    I imagine the woman who uttered those words, about me pulling myself together, has never experienced grief. She has no idea. When sorrow comes to her, she will understand. But that understanding will come at a great price. In many ways I would rather be the changed person I am today. But you are right, the memories bring back the pain and we ache...

    May God bless you.

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