Friday, December 3, 2010

A Mother's Heart - Speaking the Unspeakable

Please welcome my Guest Blogger, Mama C.  She is a sweet lady and a friend of mine who has a gift for putting her feelings into words.  I asked her to share her story with us and she graciously agreed.  A Mother's heart can be fiercely protective, tender in its approach, and deeply wounded.  Mama C writes about those wounds.  And now, Mama C...

Speaking the Unspeakable

How do I write about the loss of my children? While it is an experience I share with millions of other women, including a majority of my friends, it is an intensely personal experience that I have trouble explaining even to my husband. Maybe I’ll try starting with the basics.

I am the mother of six precious babies. Three of those babies are sleeping in my bed right now. Three of those babies are sleeping in heaven. After a three year struggle to get pregnant, my first child, Baby A came into my world on October 18th, 2002. And then she was gone to heaven on November 7, 2002. Our oldest was then born in August 2003. Our second boy came along in February of 2005 and it seemed we were well on the way to the family we dreamed of. Then in February 2006 we were surprised to find ourselves expecting again. Baby S came into existence on February 14, 2006. Through many troubles, she clung to life for 17 weeks and 2 days. She was born still on June 1, 2006.

I was finally able to bring a baby girl - Baby L – home with me on May 18, 2007. Due to the strain of a pregnancy after a stillbirth, we decided to wait awhile before conceiving again. Then we were once again surprised by a blessing. Baby C joined our family on July 25, 2010. He left us, painfully, in early September 2010. Baby C was then born on October 1, 2010.

This last loss is what I am supposed to be discussing here. I am glad to share this experience because I know how lonely losing a sweet baby is. Hopefully someone who is suffering through this most terrible of all losses, the loss of a child, will feel some small bit of the horrible weight lifted knowing she is not alone.

The worst part of losing a baby is, of course, the loss of this little life for which you have so much love and had so many hopes and dreams. For me, the minute I find out I am pregnant my child’s whole life sort of flashes before my eyes. I spend days and nights dreaming about everything from those last days hugely pregnant waiting for the birth to nursing my sweet baby to chasing another toddler to playing dress up to first days of school and on and on and on. All of that, all of those moments never experienced are ripped out of your future. Along with this come waves of hormones and emotions that could fell a mastodon.

As life continues around you, you are riding these waves of grief and pain and guilt and sadness that at times allow you to float almost feeling normal and in the next moment swamp you and drag you down. It is very easy, and very common, to feel like you are losing your mind. And we mamas tend to add to it by questioning the perfection of our experience. If we allow ourselves to grieve and let our normal “duties” go undone for a few days, we privately berate ourselves for making too much of this loss that society says is no big deal. If we have a day where our other children actually make us laugh, we feel we are somehow betraying our lost child by not grieving enough.

My Baby C was born just over a month ago. I have not yet truly grieved for a few reasons. For one, the day he was born I almost died and then I spent the next week and half in and out of the hospital and doctors’ offices. For another, he was born at the busiest time of year for my work and my absences caused problems that nearly got me fired.

What kind of mother am I? What kind of mother values her own life, and her job, more than her precious baby? And yet I go on, not allowing myself to grieve because I have three living children who need food and clothes and a home. And while I cannot convince my heart yet, my mind knows that is alright because I am doing what is best for my family.

The second worst part of losing a baby is the unbearable loneliness. The world doesn’t know what to do with a mama who has lost a child and a mama who has lost a child doesn’t know what to do with the world. The people who love me want so much to help me but haven’t the faintest idea how. Most of them just end up handling me with kid gloves like I might explode at any moment. Others act like nothing happened.

And still others try to help in the worst possible ways. Like my dear wonderful boss who wants to help me lose weight so I won’t lose any more babies not realizing that by doing so she is saying that it is my fault that Baby C and Baby S and Baby A died.

And I am just as schizophrenic in my handling of the world. I so desperately want to talk about what happened because that is how I get to hang onto my babies and be their mother. But I don’t want to burden anyone so I try not to let on when I am feeling raw. I need help because I still am physically weak, but I know everyone else has their own trials and they don’t need my burden added to theirs.

And on another level, I know that society considers miscarriage to be a minor matter and a “modern” woman should barely miss a step when it occurs. This leads to women not discussing miscarriage and so I feel like I cannot be open about my loss for fear of hurting someone who has lost a baby and still carries grief she was never able to express.

Losing a baby, even very early on, is a devastating experience. The degree of that devastation varies from woman to woman and from loss to loss. It is unsettling and overwhelming. You feel sad and crazy and everything in between. If you are a mama who has lost a baby, at any stage, be kind to yourself. However you grieve is how you are supposed to grieve. Whatever you feel is how you are supposed to feel. If you need help, ask for it. Your loved ones want so much to help you; give them the chance. You spend the rest of your life taking care of others; this is one time in life where you need to allow yourself to be taken care of. And remember, you are not crazy and you are not alone. Find someone who understands where you are coming from. There are many groups online where you can tell your story and be understood by women who have been where you are.

If you love a mama who has lost a baby, at any stage: talk to her. Don’t let her push off your concern. Don’t let her hide her feelings. If she has other kids, help her care for them. If she doesn’t have other children, help care for her. She is as unsure how to act as you are. Even if you are uncomfortable, take the burden off of her so she can sleep if she wants or talk if she wants or play with the kids because other mama concerns like laundry are covered.

Time will not heal this wound but time will bring a new normal. Until then, love goes a long way.

~ Mama C


  1. Thank you so much for writing this. It took fortitude to put your emotions into words.

  2. Mama C-
    I love you and your precious babies. The ones I've held and the ones I won't hold this side of heaven. You are not crazy. Your grief only speaks to the love you have for each of your children. Please allow yourself to grieve and let the one who holds your precious ones in His hands hold you too as no one here will ever be able to do. Allow your suffering to draw you close to His pierced heart and hands. He is strong enough for you both. I pray for you everyday, and while I know that is not enough it is all I can do for now.

  3. (((HUGS))) Mama C. Prayers that you have peace while missing your babies.




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