A 30 Day Reflection: How I Found Closure After My Stillbirth (Includes Fellow Loss Moms)

August 31, 2017

By Sanda Rathamone
August 31, 2017


"Enlightenment is when a wave realizes it is the ocean." - Thich Nhat Hanh
I have always had a passion for writing and even took a course to explore creative writing and expression. There's just something empowering about being able to express and explore the deepest parts of myself through words and the written language. It is as if I can draw out all of these things that I have always wanted to say, but never could, and it feels so good to let it all out.

To backtrack a little, I created this 30 Day Writing Challenge for Stillbirth Mothers on a whim. I really wasn't expecting myself to write more about grief. 

As a Stillbirth Blogger, writing about grief became tiresome and repetitive - I just didn't want to feel sad anymore! I searched for happy things to write about and thought maybe I should commit to doing something more positive, something other than dwelling in grief.

I couldn't find any monthly prompts that I liked and was hesitant to search for prompts on grief. Then, one thing led to another and I decided, "Hey, why not create my own prompts? Why not just continue writing about what I know best?"

I came up with 30 days of writing prompts, specifically for Mother's of Stillborns because, well, this is the life I have gotten to know and am sure every Stillborn Mother could easily relate and would like to share with the world or express.

And let me be honest with you, 30 days is tough to commit to! There were some days that I wasn't even sure I was able to complete because it took so much energy just to complete one prompt. There was even a day that I woke up from a nap, just to post a new blog! There were even some prompts that got me to realizing that they were actually very difficult to write about. Many of them brought me anger and tears, but also a sense of release. Yet, I did it and I am very proud. I am proud, even if it doesn't make any sense to you why I am.

Because I committed to something I love and it changed my life. It changed me. I changed me.

However, don't get this confused with the guarantee that "writing will change your life." There is no guarantee that after you have committed to my challenge, that it will heal your grief and make you feel much better about your life and loss (like it did for me and a few or several others). It takes much more than doing this challenge. It takes an open-mind and an open-heart, it takes courage to talk and share about something so personal, it takes bravery to face the truth about yourself. And I certainly have had my share in facing the truth about myself and loss.

It takes daily reminders to take care of yourself and your pain in the best way possible or in the way you know how.

The hardest truth that I have had to face was that while I lost my son, my life is still a beautiful and wonderful experience. 

For a time, it was torture to live without him. Now, the pain has lessened, is no longer a torture, but a soft spot in my heart that calls for acceptance, love. The pain has now become a calming and warming effect.

See, the world doesn't have to be so cruel or cold and with faith and the belief that humans live on earth to learn and experience what it means to be human, it makes the world a more magical and heart-warming place. It makes me humble to say that I am grateful for every experience in my life and one of those experiences is the loss of my son.

Sometimes, in life, we realize that under the ugliest and heart-shattering circumstances, that it is for our highest and most empowering good, even if it brings us pain on all levels. If you're like me, you would understand that there is a balance, an equilibrium to things, that not all "bad" things are "bad" and not all "good" things are "good." And it would be best to remember that all experiences have blessings, even if it takes a bit more effort and a lot more soul searching to realize it.

You would know that it makes humans true warriors in turning the worst of things into the best of things; it is an ability to be so very grateful for and proud of.

It takes profound strength to see true beauty in everything and everyone, even in those that have done us wrong or refused to love us through grief. Everything and everyone can be a motivation - for better or worse - you choose.

After my 30 days (gosh, this sounds like I'm on probation!), I feel much more lighter, as if a weight has been lifted and I can breathe again. My life is still a mess, I am still in a large amount of debt, I haven't made it anywhere near where I want to be in 5-10 years, and I am still struggling with infertility, but I am very happy to say that grief is no longer a problem (and I hope that I am not prematurely saying this, knock on wood).

But does this mean that I will never be sad or cry again? Does this mean that I can be fully happy and not cry when I hear about someone else's pregnancy or feel fully comfortable and confident around pregnant women? No. That would be truly UNREALISTIC! Every announcement will hurt, but I know that I have so much love on my side. Every pregnant woman I pass by will hurt, but I know that I have faith in myself. Every baby I meet that is not Elijah will hurt, but I know that I have a son.

What I mean to say is that despite our tragic loss, I now feel beautiful and I am not talking in the sense of wearing make-up or nice clothes. I feel happy, at peace. I have faith again. And I have worked my ass off day and night to get to where I am now. I have done almost everything I believed I could with the feelings I had and the pain I have endured, which most of the time isolated me from the world. 

People will say that I have isolated myself (I spent a lot of time in solitude and away from distractions and vacationed as much as I could), while I will argue that grief is not a journey that just anyone and everyone will understand, especially when it comes to losing a pregnancy and child and being around people who just either don't know how to react around you or refuse to do anything at all. What I was really doing was giving and providing myself a safe environment to grieve because I just didn't feel safe for a time because that's what an unexpected death does to you. It makes you feel very insecure about your position and place in life. 

There will always be a moment or nights that I cry for Elijah, but now, it will be less painful than it was a year ago, a few months ago, and even the night before.

It is because I have accepted my journey of loss (which wasn't at all easy) and am now prepared to close the door and enter a new one. Again, this doesn't mean that I am no longer grieving; I will always grieve for Elijah. I love him too much that it will always bring me a twinge of pain, which I realized is nothing more than my love for him.

I just feel for the need of a positive change in my life and something new to look forward to. I have come to a point in wrapping things up and leaving behind the tragedy part in my life and loss.

I am no longer allowing grief and loss to get the best of me and move along to things I know I will have and need to do to live a happier, more fulfilled life. 

I have realized that it is not about waiting for the storm to end and for the rainbow to appear. It is about enduring and cherishing the storm, as we create a multitude of rainbows in our lives and in others - from it. 

There will be a day that you will have to let go and become the butterfly, the swan, the phoenix. There will come a day where you will understand your rebirth after a loved one's death as well as your own. Because after someone you love dies, a part of you died, too. That part of you has died to help you become a higher love, a higher force in this world. 

I hope that this challenge has and will help you reflect on what needs to be learned, loved, and healed. I hope that I have done my part in showing you that you have the power to rise after such a gruesome and painful battle and that you are now and will be gentle with yourself and others. I hope that you know how precious it is to love through loss and to continue loving after loss. I hope that you have now learned to love yourself and others more deeply and cherish your sorrows for the joys to come. I hope that you know that losing your child was not at all your fault and to cherish every tear and every prayer sent to Heaven.

I hope that I have helped you share your beautiful Angel with the world, who also loves you. I hope that you will have and now arrived back home.

And as someone once told me:

"The time will come when you will live a whole day and not remember the sharpness of your loss. That is how you know that you have truly entered another phase of your life. That is how you will know that your grief has lessened and you are starting to get relief. It will be time to get on with your purpose!" - Yolanda B.

Below, I have shared a few mothers (with permission) who have joined me on my 30 Day Challenge: 



Sabina
  • Sabina was the very first mother who was inspired by my challenge, took the plunge on her blog, and wrote about her two Angel Babies, Julia and Charlotte. Although, overtime, she has instead posted her entries on her Instagram page, which makes it much easier for others to read and spread stillbirth awareness. It is a joy to read her entries and although some are brief, they have always brought me so much lightness and a fresh perspective and leaves me wanting to read more. 
You can visit Sabina's blog by clicking here or read her entries through her Instagram @momma.toangels.and.pitties 

Danielle
  • Danielle is a fellow loss mom blogger, who I was very happy to hear from. She was inspired by one of my prompts (the very last one) and wanted to share her thoughts. She writes to spread stillbirth awareness, is a contributor for Still Standing Magazine, and the mother of Angel Baby Jensen Grey
To read Danielle's entry, click here

Kayla
  • Kayla joined not long after Danielle. She was actually the one who made me realize that people were actually noticing what I was doing, which encouraged me to have faith that I am making, and will continue to make a difference. She is also a fellow loss mom blogger who continues to share so much love for her Angel Baby Bailynn
To visit Kayla's blog, click here.

Leanne
  • Leanne sent me this lovely photo one day and it made me so, so happy to see that she was taking a different, but welcome approach to the challenge. I have stated on the blog (introducing the challenge) that if there were any mothers who were not comfortable with publicly sharing their entries, that they could also try it privately in a journal. The point was to get mothers to enjoy writing about and reflecting on their loss for healing. Leanne did just that and it is truly touching that she would share this with me. She is the mother of Angel Baby Jayce.  
"I am not a writer and I don't have a blog but I was inspired to do the 30 day writing challenge. I don't write much and I haven't told anyone. I'm not the best at coming up with ideas to write about so I wrote down your list and have been using it. I'm just kind of doing it as a keep sake for myself when no one is around and I've got to say I am really enjoying writing about my angel everyday. Thank you for the inspiration. It feels good to do it." - Leanne Raftus

Via Facebook, Leanne Raftus
Amy 
  • Amy was definitely a surprise fellow loss mom blogger. She messaged me just very recently that, like Leanne, she has been participating in my challenge through her personal journal. She messaged me this one day of a photo of a butterfly that she knew reminded me of Elijah. Little did I know that she was inspired by my entries and posted [her] brief entries on her blog. Amy is the mother of Angel Baby Asher Ray, who has a wonderful butterfly bush, given by a nurse! How awesome is that? 
Amy would also like to share a resource called, The Lucky Anchor Project to help grieving families of pregnancy and infant loss. This is a resource that Amy has collaborated with her friend, who is also a loss mom. They also have an Etsy shop that donates comfort items and funds to infant and child loss organizations. Please head over and support their mission! 

To read Amy's entries, click here. To know more about The Lucky Anchor Project, click here.

~

There are other mothers out there who have also joined and if you are one of them reading this, I would like to say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, for helping me, and helping you! Thank you for also being my inspiration to continue what I do best. Thank you for being open, honest, and vulnerable. Thank you for doing this with me."

You can also read my Top 6 (personal) Favorite Entries here:
And the Top 6 Most Read here (based on reader views):
To read more about my 30 Day Writing Challenge For Stillbirth Mothers, click here.
Don't forget to search and hashtag: #30DayWritingChallengeForStillbirthMothers


* Read the full story about Elijah:

Join the conversation!

  1. Thank you for the mention! I loved your final thoughts. <3

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  2. Thank YOU, Amy, for being a part of this journey. You are at most welcomed! Much love.

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  3. "People will say that I have isolated myself....What I was really doing was giving and providing myself a safe environment to grieve because I just didn't feel safe for a time because that's what an unexpected death does to you. It makes you feel very insecure about your position and place in life" i connect with this so much! Thank you for giving me the words.

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  4. Much love to you, Lisa. Thank you so much for reading and supporting me! 💕

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  5. Thanks for creating this month of writing prompts exercise. Always interesting to partake in a "joint" writing venture with other loss parents. I wrote public blog posts on my blog- www.shatteredmothering.wordpress.com some were a bit delayed but I got them done and tweaked some. So thanks for the opportunity to be inspired folks :)

    Priscilla

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  6. Thank you, Priscilla, for being a part of this! I was not sure if more would be interested - I haven't had much response after completing mine, however, I am very happy to hear from you and that you appreciate this spontaneous (may be not well planned out, but worth it) writing challenge. I know that it is definitely a challenge to even continue and commit to writing, especially because grief and loss is such a personal experience, but I truly believe that by the end, it will have helped so much with grief and healing. I am sure that you are not the only one who has "tweaked" some things here and there, but so did I and it's all good! I will look into your blog and read as much as I can during my free time. THANK YOU for being my motivation to continue blogging and helping others.

    ReplyDelete

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