A Glimpse of Being a Baby Loss Mom

February 15, 2019

By Sanda Rathamone

"Today, I miss you a little more than yesterday." - Gemma Troy

Even on good days, I am still sad.

It is true that I can enjoy life and full belly laughs again, but it took a long time to get there. Yet, the sadness lingers like a bitter aftertaste. Elijah is not here to share these moments of joy. My smiles and laughter are now and will always be tinged with a touch of sorrow for what will never be. Thankfully, my sorrow helps me appreciate the good and better days. Without my sorrow, I wouldn't know true joy. 

Needing time to fully grieve.

Sometimes, I get so caught up with daily routines that I forget to give grief the space to roam, which means "crying it out," writing about it, being alone, not doing anything (for anyone), or staying in bed. Functioning like a normal human being and putting on a face is hard work. I may disappear for days and refuse to speak or socialize with anyone. I don't care if there are so many things to do. When grief hits, it is my time to take care of myself and process my emotions. 

Wishing I had more to share.

I wish I had more pictures. I wish I knew what he was like. I wish I could tell others his favorite foods and toys. I wish I had more memories. More things to remember him. More time. More experience. More words to say. Another thing that sucks? Wishing that I could share him with the world in the same way other moms could share theirs.

Watching out for triggers.

I would watch out for triggers in a similar fashion to hiking in the woods and watching out for mountain lions. I was weary and afraid of being attacked, unable to protect my heart. I didn't want to cry in public or run into something or someone that would trigger heavy emotions. That is why I would often stay home, especially when grief was unbearable. Some days, going out into the world was the bravest thing I had ever done. Other days, I had to put on my blinders and pretend that I was not hurting. Occasionally, I would slam my fist and say, "enough!"  and walk away. 

Being Invis-a-Mom.

Life after loss gave me a superpower: invisibility. But instead of turning it "on," it has stayed "on" since Elijah died. I have to work hard at turning it "off." Unlike Sue Storm, my power of invisibility isn't desirable, or "cool," nor does it make me a superhero. Instead, it makes me want to be more visible than ever. It makes me feel excluded when people talk about parenting and motherhood. It makes me cry on Mother's Day. The moment I step out of the house and into the world, I am Invis-a-Mom. No one knows that I should have a two-year-old toddler, tugging at my hand. No one knows that I am a Mom, too.

Dealing with jealousy/envy.

Most of my jealousy was towards pregnant women. I would often wish that I was them, while at the same time, full of envy that it wasn't me who was "picked" instead. I became more envious if they complained about being pregnant, preferred one gender over the other, or "didn't even try" to get pregnant. And I was a magnet to pregnant women. Everywhere I went, they were there! Seeing their baby bumps put me in so much pain, and then to feel jealousy and envy because I wasn't pregnant made me feel worse.

I felt terrible for being jealous because I should have been happy for them, but I wasn't. I felt unworthy in the eyes of God and I hated myself for it. But I didn't just lose a baby, I lost another four months of pregnancy. If that wasn't bad enough, I struggled to get pregnant again. I later learned that my jealousy didn't make me this mean and horrible person, but someone who was grieving. The only way to "heal" that pain was to give myself the space to feel it, instead of denying or shaming myself. Yes, it sucks to feel jealousy, but jealousy is not who I am.

Looking for him in other children.

If they are at around the age Elijah would have been, my eyes can't help but to watch them. It is as if seeing children at Elijah's "age" is a glimpse into what Elijah would have looked like. I don't know if this makes me sad or happy, I just know that they remind me of the size and shape of the child who should be here today. And every newborn baby that cries, they remind me of the cry I never had the chance to hear.

He is always on my mind. 

I think about Elijah everyday. I think about how much I love and miss him, how he would have liked this or that. I think about how life would be like if he was here and how much it hurts that he is not. I think about him so much that it makes life confusing without him. He should be here - that is why he is always on my mind.

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