The Hardest Part

February 20, 2019

By Sanda Rathamone


"Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."

The hardest part about losing a baby isn't grief. Well, at least for me, its not. Grief could become overwhelming, so much so, that it would paralyze me.

I would find myself unable to get out of bed, sobbing uncontrollably, or pleading to be put out of my misery because I didn't know if I could continue living. On top of that, I would have fears that more bad, awful, terrible things could happen. Oftentimes, grief made life a living hell and sucked all of the life out of me, especially if something had triggered it.

But, before I tell you the hardest part about losing a baby, let me tell you about a few other things that aren't - according to my experience.

Jealousy 

Jealousy is something that I deal with everyday and blog about the most; it has become something that teaches me on how to forgive myself daily - for being human. And to be frank, how could I not be jealous of someone who easily got pregnant and was able to give birth to a live and healthy baby, and most of all, take the baby home? Jealousy is a natural part of grief after baby loss; it is my way of feeling/mourning the "loss" part, since I was not able care for Elijah in the same ways as other typical moms.

Triggers 

I have mentioned emotional "triggers" in past blogs, a few of them that I don't share much about (but are still very triggering) are: hospital ads showing scenes of women with their crying newborns, social media posts of babies reaching their monthly milestones, being in public places such as restaurants, shopping stores, or parks where there are new babies/mothers (in close proximity), and photos of fathers kissing/touching baby bumps.

Triggers are hard. I have pushed through them and survived - without shedding a single tear - even though they could make me extremely anxious, annoyed, or uncomfortable, even angry and frustrated. Lately, I have noted that my husband notices when triggers are giving me a difficult time. It somewhat helps that he would say certain (funny and foolish) things to cheer me up. Knowing that he is able to pick up these emotional triggers and understand how I feel about them helps me become more appreciative of his support.

Holidays

After Elijah died, certain holidays were unbearable, especially if it surrounded the theme of children and family. Mother's and Father's Day, Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Christmas is, by far, the one that hits closest to home because it is my favorite holiday, as well as our anniversary. One of the things I looked forward to after Elijah was born was Christmastime as a family. But since Elijah died, Christmas will always be without the one person who should be here.

Halloween comes in second after Christmas. Before we were pregnant with Elijah, we thought about having a kid to take trick-or-treating someday. With Elijah's due date being a day before Halloween, I couldn't wait to see him in his very first baby costume. It was saddening that we weren't able to bring him trick-or-treating where I would go with my family when I was a child.  Every year, holidays will most likely be the roughest of times, besides the days honoring Elijah. What I have found to be helpful is to reserve the space to grieve before, during, and after the holidays.

Now, for the hardest part about losing a baby? It's actually a bit hard to explain, but I will try my best.

The hardest part about losing a baby is how I walk around without others knowing what had happened to me and my baby. 

I remember that strange empty, but burning feeling days after Elijah died. My husband and I was still at the hospital and I was cleared to walk around outside of my room. While we were in the elevator, people were coming in and out, some of them holding car seats to pick up or take their baby home.

What bothered me was that I felt like I was living a secret life. Just days ago, I was a happy and healthy pregnant woman at twenty weeks! And just days after, I gave birth to a baby that died. No one in that elevator or anyone else in the hospital (besides my doctors and nurses) knew that I had a stillbirth. No one knew that I was in pain or that I had lost my baby. No one knew that I shouldn't have been in that hospital, until I was another four months along with a baby to take home.

I was dying inside and confused. How could the world continue spinning and go on as if nothing had happened? How the hell is everyone else going about their day as if it was any other day, while my world fell apart? I had this burning desire to whisper into the ears of everyone I was near or passed by, "Psssst. Hey! I lost my baby. Did you know that my baby died? Do you want to know how he looks like and what we named him?"

Every day, I feel like I am living a double life. One where I am grieving and the other where I pretend that I am not. I feel like I am walking around with this heavy secret on my shoulders, so heavy that it makes it difficult to stand and continue walking through life. Sometimes, I walk around the lake or in a store, longing to tell people that I am a Mom, too. 

“I have a baby, too. And his name is Elijah.”

With love,
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