The Grief Wall: Loss of Identity After Stillbirth

This essay was written by one of our grief friends, Alex.  We very rarely have guest posts, only when we know the writer’s message will resonate with those who’ve had similar experiences in a way we couldn’t hope to replicate.  Thank you, Alex, for sharing your story.

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Our baby boy, Robin, was born still three weeks and a day ago. How do you say that right, by the way? “Born still” is the closest anything comes to seeming accurate and appropriate, but it sounds off at the same time. “Stillborn” is too clinical, and “born sleeping” strikes me as some form of denial. “Born dead” is obviously too callous. It’s not often that I’m at a loss for a good description, but this is one of those times. Anyway…

In the 22 days since I delivered him at 22 weeks, I’ve read hundreds of articles. I did the same thing throughout the four weeks I experienced bleeding at the beginning of my pregnancy, the three short and happy months after that, and then the three weeks I spent on bed rest before he died and was born. Each day has presented a new reason to “go look it up.”

Physical symptoms of grief
How is my boyfriend handling our stillbirth?
Feeling numb after stillbirth
How long will I bleed after stillbirth?
Why didn’t my milk come in after stillbirth?
How to memorialize a child
How long should I wait to go back to work after losing my baby?
Baby development at 23, 24, 25 weeks

I’m not naive enough to think I can find specific answers for our situation. As every article, post, and advice column disclaims – it’s going to be an individual experience. This process of moving through his death, and the life we had already built around his too-short existence, is our own to deal with; I know this. But like all of us, I look for insight; some key that will unlock the endless hallway of doors now closed in front of me.

The problem is, I don’t actually look at grief as a series of doors to unlock over time. Rather, it feels much more like I’m standing behind a wall. The Internet and its myriad of wonderful people has given me a lot; with its experts and wordsmiths and everyday users trying to express the awful feelings we all now share. But I have yet to find one very important insight, so I’ll try to share with you what it feels like as best I can.

wall 1

No one ever tells you that you’re going to lose all context of yourself. Your life, your identity, your interests, your relationships—everything feels like you’re figuring it out again for the first time. Fortunately, I guess we have our individual histories to rely upon for clues about who and what we were before our loved one’s left us. 

Obviously, I would’ve been a first-time mom. I didn’t even know for sure that I wanted kids until we were pregnant, and for the first few weeks, I did the usual, “Oh shit, what now? I had so many things I wanted to do with myself!” I figured things out quickly though; I realized I could still be me, still build my career and my life with my boyfriend, and still pursue the causes dear to my heart. I would do all of it for, and with, my new baby boy. My baby boy who gave me purpose in a way I always thought was over-sentimentalized by the other parents I knew – I get it now.

I wanted so badly to be a mom. The fact that Robin proved it to me was something incredibly special, and I wanted to be his mom more than anything I’ve ever known or felt.

And then I couldn’t be.

The good and caring people around me tell me I am still his mom. Of course. Who else would be? He was and forever will be my baby, but he is not here.  I didn’t get to take care of him for nearly long enough, and now I don’t know what I want at all.

It’s a wall. It’s a wall without a door and without a key. There are no keys in the online forums, the medical and mental health websites, from the grief counselors, in the support groups, or from the wisdom of family or friends.  No one tells you what to do when you lose yourself.

I don’t know who I am without him, without planning for him. This is not to say I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, and I do those things. I get out of bed, shower and groom, take care of our home and two lovely cats, interact with loved ones, reach out to support wherever I can find it, stay as involved as I can be in the causes I love, work on building the business I had started while I was pregnant. We even bought a new house. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, but nothing is infused with meaning anymore. In fact, a lot of the time it’s devoid of any feeling at all.

I listen to Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt” a lot. It’s the best explanation of what I feel like I’m going to feel like forever.

I wear this crown of thorns Upon my liar’s chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair

I’ve been through loss, depression, broken relationships, and some other very scary situations, yet I’ve never lacked for my own identity. I always felt strong, independent, and motivated — now I really don’t know what I am, and nobody has an answer or an online article for that. I wake up every morning with the groggy hope that everything is over, truly a horrible dream that will dissipate as the day goes by; I go to sleep every night just to end the pain and internal inertia.

I keep doing what I’m supposed to do, going through the motions and repeating “fake it till you make it” in my head. These things at least make me feel less dependent and less like a failure. I know I need to connect Robin’s memory and the positive things his little life brought me to the everyday things I’m doing now, but to know this is not to feel it. I just want to feel him again, and knowing I can’t is a wall without a door. The me I used to know is on the other side of the wall, holding his memory in happiness and trying somehow to live up to it.

wall2

What I hold onto, I guess (though I’ve never really acknowledged it until writing this) is the hope that I’ll wake up and the wall will have finally crumbled. Then I’ll be able to feel him and his life again without the hurt and confusion his death left in its wake. Maybe there’s a story or insight out there that’ll help me crumble the wall…but I’m guessing there’s not. Maybe, hopefully, something else exists within me, and anyone else who feels like me, that will eventually crumble our walls. Maybe this thing that seems to defy words is just time.  All I know is that I’m waiting here— in some cruel and confusing limbo between his life, his death, my life, and a new life without him—and sometimes it’s just too hard.

Have you experienced a loss of identity after stillbirth or any other type of death?  Share your story in the comments below.  

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March 28, 2017

60 responses on "The Grief Wall: Loss of Identity After Stillbirth"

  1. Nicholas Mommy foreverOctober 10, 2019 at 2:22 pmReply

    My heart goes out to you and your son Robin. I feel bad for all of the families that have lost their child or children. My son Nicholas died still inside of me last Friday October 4, 2019. On August 14 an adult student at work threw a tempertantrum and slammed her body and elbow into my stomach. I was sent to the hospital by my work. They said everything was fine that the baby was fine. I was on bed rest for 2.5 weeks. I was cleared to go back to work. My boyfriend and I were very excited to go to the 5 months scan at 21 weeks to find out if we were having a boy or girl. I told my boyfriend I was scared something was wrong with our baby that morning. First he tried to brush it off and then he said you’re right we haven’t been in awhile. We went to our appointment and the technician was quiet and looked freaked out. He told us there was low fluid. But our son had a very healthy heartbeat of 137. I could still feel my son kick a half our after I eat. My obgyn sent me to a specialist the next day. That night I drank at least 9 water bottles. My boyfriend told me that if we have to make a decision between my life and the babies it would be mine. He said he can’t live without me. When we went to see the ultrasound the next day the technician said there was no fluid around the baby and that our son had a hole in his heart. She said the baby was measuring 18 weeks 5 days. The doctor told us to abort or let the baby die naturally. My boyfriend said no he doesn’t want us to go through child birth for a dead baby. I said I wanted to do whatever I could to save our baby. The doctor said that with no amniotic fluid the babies lungs won’t develop and survive heart surgery. So we went home with an appointment to have the baby removed on October 4th. I didnt want this and planned on canceling the appointment and talking it thru with my boyfriend. I feel terrible that I didn’t know I had a slow amniotic leak starting from the time I got injured at work. The ultrasound at the hospital was in a different network than my doctor’s so they couldn’t compare ultrasounds. I thought I was peeing a little bit in my pants. I just kept changing my clothes and then started wearing a pad. I then had to face the fact I only had one week left with my son. So I read him stories while I rubbed my tummy. I told Nicholas about all the things we wanted to do with him. All the places we would go. I told him about all the family members and friends who were excited to meet him. I took him to his room and told him how we we’re going to decorate it and told him about all the things we already have for him. My poor son had no amniotic fluid to comfort him. I cried and told him I’m so sorry for any pain he’s going thru. I told him if there’s anything we could do to save him we would do it. I spent hours researching on the internet for a way to save our son. I reached out to my friends and they said they would pray for us. I hadn’t been to work. How can I go to work knowing my son was going to die? I kept drinking a ton of water. I made sure I ate the yummiest foods possible. Because at this point my son is still alive and is able to taste food and hear. My soul was crushed and I wanted to shut down and stop eating. I still needed to respect my baby and love him for whatever amount of time I have with him. My boyfriend struggled bad in all of this. I would wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning and he would be in the dining room with his head in his hands crying. He would have nightmares and he still does. The first day after our news he couldn’t bare to look at my stomach or talk to and kiss our baby. He called me on Monday September 30th. He said we need to get another opinion. I cried and thanked him for loving our son enough. I went back to my obgyn to get a referral. He told me that he agreed with the specialist. He let me listen to my son’s heartbeat. It was a strong 140. He told me there’s no way for the baby to survive. He told me to keep the appointment on Friday. He said I would hemorrhage if I had to go into labor because of my low lying placenta. He gave me 5 weeks off of work. My boyfriend called me on October 2nd. He was at work and he freaked out because he heard and saw a baby crying that wasn’t there. He left the place with a full panic attack. He called me saying he just wanted to tell me he loved me in case he died. So my boyfriend and I we told Nicholas how much we love him and his dad either cooked for him or took us to restaurants so baby could taste good foods. I continued to read and talk to my son. On October 4th we had to get up early to go to the hospital. I could still feel my son was alive on the way over. While we waited in the lobby I knew my baby died. I didn’t tell my boyfriend. He just held me and tried to comfort me. He was worried I wouldn’t survive this surgery. As I transferred to the operating table I could feel my son’s spinal cord jammed into my stomach. They were trying to give me anesthesia saying it was only oxygen. I freaked out and pushed it away. I put my hand over my baby once more to rub his back. I said my baby just died this morning and I wanted to say goodbye. After the procedure later that day the doctor that did the surgery. He called me and told me that my son had died before the surgery. He said that when he looked at the ultrasound my son’s heart had stopped. He said he wanted me to know because I said I wanted my son to die naturally if he had to die at all. I told him thank you but I knew. So here it is 6 days later. I can’t stop crying. My boyfriend doesn’t want me to set foot back at my job. I don’t think I can work at a place again where a student is responsible for my son’s death. I’m 43 years old. This was a miracle baby with the first healthy man I’ve ever loved. The only other man I’ve ever been with committed 5 felonies against me and left me for dead at 25. It took me 13 years to find this man who loves me like I deserve. I have a beautiful daughter who turned 20 on October 7th. When I read about the old me on the other side of the wall I cried. My boyfriend comforts me everyday and is patient. But a part of me worries he will leave if I can’t ever be myself again. I don’t want to eat cuz I can’t feel him kicking anymore. I don’t want to sleep cuz I dream he is saved. Then I wake up and cry saying, “Where’s my baby? Where’s my son?” I don’t want to go anywhere and I try to hide if I see someone I know cuz I don’t want to hear another person say it’s God’s will or God has a plan. It makes me feel like they’re saying my son didn’t deserve to live. It makes me feel like I’m alone in my grief. It’s the stupidest thing to say to anyone. It doesn’t help. It hurts and it puts a wall between you and these very well meaning friends and family of yours.

  2. Thank your for writing this piece. I lost my son, Jaden, at 23 weeks in July. You wrote exactly how I feel and could not put into words. I don’t know how to answer “Are you ok?” because I don’t know what that looks like anymore. I’m back to work and successfully functioning, but there is this deep dark pain inside me and a loss of myself I am almost scared to admit. Now when someone asks me, I send your writing. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself with us. May we all find the strength towards finding our identity within this new normal.

  3. God, this is heartbreaking! It’s been 5 weeks and 3 days since I lost my baby girl… She was almost to full term… 39 weeks and 6 days. We were so prepared for her, and were so excited we were soon to hold her in our arms… Our first baby. I kept imagining what she would look like, how I will be as a mother, my husband was already making plans in taking her in his trips to the mountains.
    Last appointment at the doctor was as week 38, and everything was OK. She was growing healthy and preparing to the outside world. There was nothing to predict what would come.
    It was midnight and I felt my water breaking. Jumped out of bed and woke my husband excited that the very much expected moment has come. Asked him to turn on the light and that was the moment my whole world started shaking and the sky fell down on me… There was blood everywhere. I knew this wasn’t right. We rushed to the hospital with the ambulance and shortly got an emergency C-section. When I woke up from anesthesia, my husband told me the most hurtful words a mother can hear: she’s gone…. I just wanted to die and go to her…
    I had placental abruprion, with no symptoms, nothing to signal me that something was wrong. She was born alive, but nothing could be done for her. She swallowed to much blood and there was blood and amniotic fluid in her lungs and she was brain dead.
    I didn’t see her, and we decided to let her at the hospital to be incinerated… I still regret our choice.
    I cannot find myself anymore, sometimes I can’t find a reason to live. Even though my husband is trying his very best to be a strong support for me, I cannot look into the future and can’t accept that this is the reality. Still think it’s a nightmare and I just can’t wake up.
    Finding your story and the stories of all of you angel moms, is making me feel like I belong somewhere… Even though we have our own stories, we deal with them in our own ways, but I somehow feel connected with each of you.
    I wish you all the strength to find at least a reason to live and move forward. All our babies are up in heaven playing with each other, this is what is connecting us all!
    Thank you for sharing your stories, thank you for being here!

    • MIA – Thanks for sharing your birth story. I am so very sorry for your loss and the pain you are going through. I have a similar story. Last month, I found out at 37 weeks that my son, Alexander, no longer had a heart beat. I had noticed no fetal movement for several days prior but didn’t think much of it. That same day I went into labor and delivered him. I didn’t look at him because I was afraid of how he would look and what it would do to me. The question mark of not seeing his face and not holding him is my biggest regret. This has been the most traumatic event of my entire life (more traumatic than the loss of my mother, and the loss of another baby at 5 months gestation several years ago). Many women say that loosing a baby makes you love your family more, personally I struggle feeling incomplete and empty even though I have a wonderful support group of friend, husband, and two children that I love. I feel the deepest sympathy for you and anyone who has lived through this kind of trauma.

      • Hey Ashley, I am so moved to hear about your story… Any story that is similar to mine is making me cry for hours… I know that “mother of an angel” club is the only club you wouldn’t want to be in but it’s where you can find the only souls that can truly and fully understand you. I am sorry for your loss. I know that there are no words or things that can help you in any way right now… Or ever…. But all I can tell you is that you need to be strong for your family’s sake. I am trying to get better as soon as possible (as I had an emergency C-section) so I can make a baby brother or sister to my angel Sofia, to whon I will tell stories about their angel sibling who is playing with other angels in heaven and watches over us. Take care Ashley! Wish you peace and strength to at least try to overcome this tragedy

  4. Went to the doctor for a check up on 03/09/2019
    N she said there was no heartbeat.
    I couldn’t talk… lost my tongue, tears just started flowing
    Kept a living soul in me for 24 weeks with all the bad symptoms, I had hope that when she is born it would all be worth it… now she is gone and I don’t know anymore.
    Was rushed to a bigger hospital and had to deliver.
    I was praying what the doctors said would be a lie I was hoping to hear a cry or a sign of life.
    They wrapped her n gave her to me… I kept staring still couldn’t believe it.
    So little and lifeless, so innocent.
    I just hope she was at peace.
    Never been to a funeral or saw a dead body before n never thought my first would be my own baby! This is harder than it looks!

  5. I lost my beautiful perfect in every way angel 11 months ago. He was 22 weeks and died on Sept 22 2018. We named him Diniel after the angel who watches over infants. He was like a mini me of my husband. His face, hands, feet, everything down to the gorgeous cowlik on his head were a spitting image of my husband. I have never been the same since losing him. My husband and I have been together 12 years and we are so in love. I have a 14 year old son whom he has helped me to raise. This baby was going to complete our family. I am going to be 40 in a few months and I don’t know what to do with myself. We had a miscarriage at 9 weeks before the one we lost. Then we had Diniel- a stillbirth and then two miscarriages since. I have been telling myself that everything will be okay and my baby will come but now after this last miscarriage I am devastated. I have to figure out what my next steps are. I am turning 40 this year and feel like I have passed the point of no return. I have to figure out if I really want a baby or if I want to just say forget it because maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. The identity crisis is real! This is the most difficult thing I have ever been through, and I have been through plenty! One person’s comment on here was to the effect of looking at this as a time to re-invent who you are and who you want to be. I guess that would be a positive way of looking at it. I just don’t want to give up on having a baby and then regret it in the future. There’s a hole in my heart that will never be filled and how do I go on and get back to being happy again? I was so sure that I wanted to take this step with my husband and have a child together. I have always wondered what it would be like to have a child with someone that you truly love and have a partnership with. Half me and half him. I am really having a hard time making this decision. Pray for me.

  6. I lost my baby at 21 weeks . The most heart breaking thing . This happened last June and it still breaks my heart . The doctors don’t no what happened she just had no heart beat . My heart is forever broken..

  7. This is the first article I read that puts in to words how it feels. My daughter was Born after 22 weeks, s it is still almost impossible to process what happened. From the moment of ultrasound to giving bieth. Just after meeting her you are still in the moment of how proud you are, how beautiful your baby is and how much you love her. And after that it hits you, the pain, the guilt and the loss of expectation in every way. You have no purpose left, the world around you keeps going , understanding of the people around you goes away. It is the loneliest thing I ever went through. I guess that the horrible cliché of time is true, for me its time and therapy. But the fact is that you Will never be te same again, I have to re-invent/rebuild myself, me as I was is completely gone. Thank you so much for sharing and making a difference in my ( and probably more mothers) process.

  8. I’m so glad I found this page, I just lost my twins at 24 weeks gestation. I found out I was pregnant New yrs day! 2019! Me, My husband and my son just moved to a new city and pregnancy was the last thing on mind. My 1st docs appt was Jan 31st. That day I found out we were having twins! I’m not gone lie I was terrified! The thought of one baby but two at one time-OMG!!!!! Month 4 I found out it was girls-my son was excited I’m excited- baby shower booked for July. Appts going every 2 weeks just had one 2weeks prior and things were said to be going well! My babies were growing healthy and strong- Saturday May 5th I felt a strong urge to pee, matter fact it was what I thought urine coming out-sat on the toilet and finish. I didn’t experience pain nor contractions. Thursday May 9th, 4am I the morning I felt pain in my lower abdomen. The pain was coming harder and faster so me and my husband rushed to the hospital and sure enough my sac had ruptured in baby 1 that Saturday I guess and I was 6 cm dilated. Emergency C-Section here we go! My girls were born 1lb 2oz; 1lb 3oz, Alive. Baby B lived for only 48short hrs after developing an infection, baby a lived for 11days giving us hope that we would overcome all odds. Sadly this was not the case! I think about my baby girls hour by hour! I love them and miss them dearly and the future of them not being here with their brother is devastating! I’m praying to be able to carry again, but this is by far the worst and heart wrenching thing I’ve experienced! I’m thankful for my husband and son at least I have someone to hold on too. My baby girls will always be my girls, it’s just so hard to accept!

  9. http://racklins.com/remembering-luke/

    Please read my tragic story of my stillborn son Luke.

  10. I lost my little boy at 23 weeks, on March 2nd, 2019. I developed an mild placenta abruption and weeks later the bleeding from that caused my sac to leak and an infection developed, there. My baby was perfectly healthy and thriving/growing, but I lost him anyways, due to the loss of fluid and infection. I’m beyond devastated. I don’t know how to cope with these feelings. Some days I’m ok and others I just cry all day. My only joy comes from being with my husband and two boys; who I’m so blessed to be a mom too. I know some women never experience a live birth, or can even get pregnant. I am so Heartbroken for these women. I know how fickle fertility is. I am eternally grateful I have Been blessed with my both; yet the pain I feel from this loss to so great. The hardest part now (aside from the devastating loss) is running into people who knew I was pregnant and ask “did you have your baby?” Or stare at me for way too long trying to find words to address the fact that I’m no longer pregnant. I want to run and hind and not talk to anyone. this was my fourth pregnancy (with two successful pregnancies). I started to show early on and was feeling my baby move. My boys were so excited to meet their baby brother and cried the most heartbreaking cry when they were told he had gone to heaven…. my husband has been wonderful and so caring yet, as time goes on I still feel distraught and alone. When you carry your child for months and think about them every minute you are pregnant you just feel this absolute loss when they are taken from you. Make no mistake, when he died part of me died… I am crying writing this. I am so sad and at almost 40 the likelyhood I’ll be able to successfully carry a baby again is less likely, by the month and my husband says he does not want to try again, because the everything that happened has been so traumatizing. Yet, I can only think about getting pregnant as soon as possible…I don’t know how to move past this. I know it takes time, but this loss has forever changed me. I can’t describe this pain to anyone. It’s the deepest saddest and loss I have ever felt…. I wish losses like these on now one. My heart goes out to you all.

  11. Dear Alex,
    I discovered your article about “The Wall” last night while I was doing research for a newsletter I write every month for parents who have lost a baby. My name is Nancy, and like you and so many others, I had a pregnancy which ended in stillbirth. That was twenty-four years ago last month.
    Your words touched me deeply. I wished that I could reach through the computer and give you a hug. Your description of what you went (and are going) through was so perfect, and reflected not only my personal experience but also that of so many of parents I have encountered over the years.
    I want you to know that you were right in saying that time does help to knock down that wall, but there are other factors as well. On the other side of that wall are all those who love and want to support you, and what you can’t yet see is that each one of us holds a chisel, painstakingly working at chipping away the barrier between us and you.
    Even without knowing you personally I know there are people out there who love you and want to help you journey towards healing. Many of us may not know how (and sometimes may say the wrong things) but each of us wants to support you and help you heal.
    The words you have written that will hopefully be seen by many bereaved mothers will go a long way to help others heal from their loss as well. This too is a key. When we reach beyond our own pain to help others we discover that our own hurt diminishes. This is a secret that no one knows before they go through a difficult experience, but is surprised to learn as they share their own hurts with those of others.
    Never be afraid to talk about your son. No matter how much time goes by, may you never forget him — he will always be your first-born, the child that taught you more about love in his brief existence than most people will learn in a lifetime.
    Thank you for the courage it took to share your feelings and your son with the world. It is my hope that one day you will be granted the joy of raising a child here on earth that will have a special guardian Angel watching over him/her in heaven.
    (((hugs)))
    Nancy
    Metro Vancouver Empty Cradle Bereaved Parents Society
    Canada

  12. I lost my baby on the 13th of October 2018… Ntando meaning Will is his name. When my doctor told me there was no heartbeat, my first reaction was disbelieving and shifted to me focusing on staying alive… I stayed in ICU for a week and only then did I realise that my baby was gone. Like all of you, I felt guilty, angry, hurt, lost and had a lot of what ifs in my head. I cry when I see someone with their baby, I wish and pray for just one moment with him as I never got to meet him. Its exactly 5months today and I still feel the pain. Question is, will it ever get better?

    • Dipuo,
      We lost our baby boy Shane the very same day. I hope you have found the last couple months a bit “easier”.
      Sending love

  13. We lost our daughter, Eden, on New Year’s Eve 2018. She had gastroschisis, which is a birth defect in which the intestines develop outside of the body. From my understanding, most of the time they are operated on after birth, spend 2-8 months in the NICU, but live normal healthy lives. One doctor told me that if a fatality occurs, it’s usually after 28 weeks. Because of her condition, we had doctor’s appointments more frequently than normal. The most recent ultrasound before her death showed that everything was great. They wanted me to carry her to 37 weeks (the maximum time they allow for gastroschisis babies to stay in the womb) unless something changed. Christmas happened, then 4 days later on my 30th birthday, I knew something was wrong and we went to get evaluated at the hospital. When they told me that she had died, my whole world collapsed. I died too. They started the process of inducing me, and I delivered her on 12/31/2018. The day we found out, was the worst day of my life, but every day that has followed has been a close second. Along with the loss of identity, which I don’t even care who I am anymore, I have been feeling anger, jealousy, bitterness, loneliness, not wanting to live, emptiness, and all around the deepest level of depression that I have ever experienced. I go about each day, and some days aren’t bad. Some days I laugh, get excited about whatever, naturally smile, and have hope. Then it goes away and all the negative come back. I go to therapy and hope that I can find something worth living for. I’ll keep living, but I hope I find a purpose and a zeal for life again because this is truly miserable. I’m sorry to anyone who is going through this. It’s just unfair, and I hope that we find our way out of the darkness.

  14. I have lost my baby 5 days ago on 13 Feb at 23 weeks – stillbirth and my life completely stopped…it’s true that seemes like losing my identity. I don’t like anything that I did before and just can’t figure out how to live. I wake up and just not sure what to do..it’s like I’m not myself. The only thought that makes me feel good is that I want to be pregnant again . I knew for the last 5days before the medical abortion, that wasn’t alive but still in me and I didn’t want to let go. We ve been 5months together and I loved and wanted it….had plans and was looking forward to my due date when we will be together. The hardest thing was to let go via medical abortion waiting for 16 hours. I’m so sad inside..

  15. I lost my baby girl on Sunday January 20th. I was having contractions every 45 min for two days. I spotted in October and then bleed for a week. I was told I had a issue with my plecenta . It was on top of my cervix. This caused me to have a weaken cervix. Was on bed rest for a week in November and complete bed rest from the 12/30 till 1/20/19. I did everything my doctor told me to. I had three rounds of steroid shots. All to help Spencer grow. Was told at 27 weeks she stopped growing and start my 1st round of steroids. I was scheduled to have a C-section on Jan 2. The morning of I thought my water broke. Went into the hospital to be told they want to give her a few more weeks. I was 32 weeks. Her eyes weren’t developed yet, nor her lungs. I prayed every day. I sadly went home. Bed rest for the next 18 days. My beautiful baby girl was born blue. No crying no movement. They took her right out the room. I didnt even get to hold her. Not sure how much time really went by while I waited alone wondering if she was ok. The doctor came in 1st followed by a nurse. He said he was sorry. Everything after that is just a blur. The nurse held my hand the doctor left and in came another nurse with my baby. They said they were going to to give me some time with her. Encourage me to put her going home outfit on. To hold her. I am happy I had this time with her. To hold her let her hear my voice feel my arms to know how much I wanted her and loved her so very much. I have never felt so alone and broken. I don’t know where to go from here to start picking myself up. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    • Ro , I am so sorry for your lost . This article kind of helped me but 8 months later , I still feel saddened here and there . I don’t always feel this way but it is still here . I keep myself busy with work and it helps somewhat . You will get through it day by day . I miss my little boy everyday and sometimes I think – how on earth did this happen to me ? I’ve had mostly a good life where bad things didn’t occur and it’s truly the worst thing that has ever happened to me . Let yourself grieve …. … let yourself feel it all … you are loved !!!

  16. February 24th we lost twins at 8 weeks. The. We got pregnant again with a baby boy. Through his whole pregnancy I had on again off again bleeding. At 12 weeks I thought my water had broke but when we got to the Dr. they confirmed that all was fine. Then we went to our 20 week ultrasound and found out that I had a blood clot between the sac and membranes. Otherwise our baby was perfectly healthy. We had our next apt and I was put on light duty at my job (which is mostly sitting anyway). And told to call if I was bleeding heavy or had any pain. It was thought that pain would be the first sign of anything was to happen. On November 16th I was sitting at work when I felt an odd type of pressure. I stood up to go the bathroom and my water broke. At this time I just assumed that this was the same thing that had happened to us at 12 weeks. So when we got to the hospital I was shocked to hear we had no waters left. Unfortunately I had also dialated. They gave my body every opportunity to stop labor but unfortunately our baby was born at 21 +4. We were told no larger hospital would accept us. We were also told that baby was breech and babies this early often don’t survive a breech birth due to the stress. I prayed to God that if our baby had to come early that he would be born alive long enough for us to hold, that birth would be easy, and that all of our family would get to see him. Ezra’s birth had to be the most peaceful birth I’ve ever had. We felt totally surrounded by love. God’s presence was definitely felt. My husbands family lives six hours away but just happened to be staying at our house. My family was able to make it. And Ezra was born alive and spent 2 hours and 15 minutes with us. This was the hardest day of my life and birthing our baby knowing he was going to die quickly gave us a whole new meaning to Christmas. Knowing God sent his son to earth knowing he would die for our sins. I thank God for the time I had my baby growing in me. For the kicks and turns I felt. For the time we had in the hospital and for the few pictures I have. Since they have to last a lifetime. I could not have made it through this whole ordeal without the support for friends, family, and our loving God.

  17. My first child was born via emergency ceasearen section due to me having toxemia, pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndtome. He was born at 23 weeks gestation weighing 14.2 ounces. He spent the first 4 1/2 months in NICU and had to have an emergency tracheostomy. After delivering him I was put on a bunch of medications from high blood pressure, depression and birth control shots. There a few months after being home from NICU I found out I was pregnant again ( the OBGYN seems to think that either the combination of all the meds or the dose of birth control shot wasn’t effective). I was told with having HELLP Syndrome the first pregnancy that it could happen again and there was a 75% chance of getting it again but there was also a 25% that it wouldn’t. I shared the news of my second pregnancy with my husband and he filed for divorce. He couldn’t deal with it. Me and my son went to my parents so they could help me take care of my son and help with my second pregnancy. I carried my baby girl almost full term. My eight month doctor visit I had some unusual lower back pain. I let my physician know this and he told me that the baby has probably dropped and that was the pressure I was feeling. I discussed that in a few days I would be travelling to Cincinnati for my sons first airway surgery. He said it was fine for me to travel and we would schedule my c-section when we got back home a week later. My son had his surgery and three days later I was taken to another hospital from Vhilsren’s Hispital to Cincinnati University Hodpital to deliver my daughter. When arriving to the hospital the doctor came in a did an ultrasound. She then turned to me and says,” I’m so sorry I can’t find a heartbeat”. That day and the day I buried my daughter was two of the saddest a days I’ve ever had. On June 8, 2000 I delivered a beautiful little girl whom Insmed Gabrielle Rose. She weighed 4 pounds and was 21 inches long. After a couple days in the hospital I came home to bury her little body. The grief is always there and yes it does come in waves. The hardest part about her dying is others feel uncomfortable about speaking her name. She was apart of me and hearing her name makes me smile and sometimes cry. The one thing I know is one day I’ll get to hold her again.

    • I’m so sorry, Crystal, that Gabrielle Rose is not here with you and her brother. It is very difficult when people, especially family and friends, refuse to acknowledge the existence of your child by omitting her name. Gabrielle Rose was here, she was a person who existed and her life too mattered, and now she is gone and deserves to be mourned.

      Crystal, i’m going to be honest with you. (And I am admitting this also for the ones who may read your comment and feel like how I felt at first). My son, Beloved, was born at 25weeks at 1lb and he lived less than a week. His lungs were too undeveloped. It’s been 4weeks since my Beloved died. I don’t know how to live anymore; I don’t know what comes next. As a matter of fact, I’m uninterested in whatever next could be. So, when I read your story, I was so jealous that your son made it. I cried for a good hour, blaming myself for not taking my Beloved to the hospital where your son survived at 23 weeks and weighing less than my son. I focused on all the ways I must be a horrible mom to have let my son die and not done the best for him like you did. Crystal, I am so sorry that I felt this way at first. I am so sorry because I failed to see you, another mother in pain; I failed to acknowledge the loss of Gabrielle Rose just because your son is alive. I failed to acknowledge also the absence of your husband in a time when you needed him. All so difficult and painful things. Please forgive me and accept my apology. I am so glad that you have your son and while he cannot replace Gabrielle Rose, he still gets to be a big brother to a beautiful, sweet angel, and you a mother to her.
      I pray this grief does not overwhelm me to selfishness and insensitivity.

  18. Please please please if you are feeling lost and like hope is gone, visit my blog. I have lost a baby at 22 weeks, one at 21 weeks, one at 17 weeks, twin at 10 weeks, and we lost our 9 day old baby girl and almost 1 year old baby boy. I’m not trying to trump anyone else’s loss. It hurts my heart so much to hear so many others dealing with this unspeakable grief. I KNOW it all feels hopeless. Like you can never be happy again. Like you can’t even remember what it’s like to be happy. I know what it feels like to have your milk come in full force, then have to wrap yourself and sob through the engorgement pain. I know what it’s like to miss your baby so much you can’t breathe. It’s important to allow yourself time to grieve in your own way.
    BUT, there is STILL HOPE. Never ever stop believing that. Even if you don’t believe it right now, start with a DESIRE to believe. The pain will lessen. The clouds will part and you’ll start to see slivers of light again, even if it’s only a fleeting moment.
    And please, if anyone would like to reach out to me, anytime, day or night, I am here. . My blog is called danceamidstthestorm.blogspot.com. Hang in there friends. ❤❤❤

  19. I lost him 7 year ago. The pain will never again, it comes in waves. As far as identity goes you become a new person. I new when he died that the old me died with him. I now live with hole in my heart – a massive, irreparable hole. But I can reassure you that you will learn to be the new you.
    You will laugh again, love with all your heart without the fear and anxiety of it all being taken away. The wave of grief, the numbness will slap you in the face from the time to time. I think about him every single day and the new me had to come to terms with the fact that this grief will last a long time but in the midst of it all you will one day find yourself laughing and enjoying life again. Be patient, take care of yourself, allow yourself to mourn and find the support you need to transition to the new you.

  20. I dont even know where to start. I am so sorry for your loss, pain, grief, sadness, hurting, everything. I lost my little Gemma Bella 1 week and 2 days ago and I feel like my life has ended. She was perfectly healthy and I had just been to the doctor the week before and had a doctor’s appointment that Tuesday. The day after she was delivered. I kept getting those reminder texts and calls while in the hospital being induced and I had to turn off my phone. My little girl was 34 weeks. We were counting down the days on cloud nine. Had her clothes all washed and put away, her first Christmas outfit picked out. Her matching little sister and big brother shirts for the day we took her home. Her cute hats and bows. Oh God.
    She looked just like her big brother who was over the moon for a little sister. We were at the post office one day and there was this little girl, about 3 months who just kept smiling at him. Even the guy behind us in line was like wow she is really taken by him. He grabbed my hand jumped up and down and said , Mommy I cant wait for baby sister to come!” Every Sunday we would watch the videos on my phone e of how she was growing a d what new things were happening. Now all of that is shattered. I cant eat, I cant breathe and waking up in the morning is torture and I cant leave my bed. I am so thankful for my son however. He is a blessing from God and has been such a help. His name is Dominic. Gemma and Dominic’s dad has been ok but he doesnt get the pain like I do. And I feel so alone. The funny thing is is that I just want to be alone. I just recently turned my phone back on. I only want to see him and my son and of course have my baby girl here with me. Doing tummy time, feeding her, playing with her. Watching my son bond with her. I cant do this and I am furious with God. I dont even know if I am making any sense right now. This pain is unbearable. I am 40 and would love to try again. NOT to replace my little Gemma because NOTHING ever could. Dominic wanted a little sibling so bad but what if I cant get pregnant? What if I cant give that to my son? What if it’s a boy? I’ll love him the same but I want my little girl. I want her so bad!!! This pain this horrible pain is never going to leave. I’m never going to feel her kicks, her hiccups, never hold her again, never kiss her boo boos, never hear her laugh, see her ride a bike, see her dance. Make it all stop. I cant.

  21. I feel for you and understand the feeling of lack of purpose anymore. My Daughter died at 42weeks, during her induction. Though I’m still finding it hard myself to find anyone that understands me or I can relate too fully. This is because I’m a Father and everything I find online is the mother’s feelings and how they got through. It’s almost like no other Father feels like I do. I am broken, I’ve suffered with depression for half my life, and now the loss of my Daughter. How I get over this, I don’t know. Can someone guide me Please …..

  22. Indeed this blog regarding identity loss is spot on. A year and a half later if feels like lifetimes and yesterday all at once.

    Here’s one I wrote

    https://margobereska.vpweb.ca/blog/2017/06/26/Born-still-Still-born.aspx

  23. Alex, thank you so much for trying to put this really, really confusing reality into words. I feel understood for the first time since losing my son on August 17, 2009 at 39 weeks. I was 43 at the time, and he was my only full term pregnancy. I wish I could say that my feeling of nearly paralyzing mystification since losing him had lifted, but it hasn’t. I would love to hear how you are doing these days, and the year you lost your baby. Thank you again for your beautiful writing.

  24. I feel like sharing my story could help in my healing. Please feel free to reach out to me about my grief. The year 2017 is one that changed me completely. I met a guy in February 2017 and thought we were on the same page about being in a relationship, settling down and starting a family…. I remember making a trip to visit my bestfriend then who lived in a different city, that was later in March 2017, i had this horrible flu that i had never experienced before and definetly my period was late. In all this while we were communicating with then my boyfriend and he was convinced i was pregnant, so i took the test and for sure i was pregnant. I knew in my heart even out of wedlock, i was going to keep my baby and he was all for it but i was to soon realize he was not ready and started withdrawing from me. I had started experiencing morning sickness and some of the early pregnancy symptoms but in mid April they slowly started disappearing, i started feeling normal, one night i noticed some bleeding and the very next day went to hospital, i was around 3 weeks pregnant at this point so all the doctor saw was a sac, no fetal pole, no activity in terms of a heartbeat…. He sent me home to rest which i did, but my Mom was sure to tell me its not normal. Two weeks later which was 5th May i experienced alot of bleeding, cramping and excruciating stomach pain at night which by morning had ended and i knew for sure i had miscarried. I went to the hospital where they confirmed complete miscarriage. I was devasted but at the same time somewhat at peace, my then boyfriend had totally withdrawn from me, never showed up for any of my hospital visits and never attempted to help in my grief. I knew there was no relationship after that and completely stopped talking to him. The loss at that time was real but i found peace with the months that followed. Towards the end of September the guy re-surfaced, apologized and assured me he was ready to give our relationship another try…. Well, i was willing and gave him another chance. Come October 2017 i got pregnant again, in the beginning i couldnt believe it, i was somewhat ready but still skeptical about this guy’s commitment, for sure he was out the moment i told him. I was more composed this time round, i was ready to be a Mom, and by January 2018 i was sure i wanted to be a single mom to my lovely daughter growing inside me. As the months passed, all my doctor appointments were okay, my baby was growing well, moving well and i was healthy. My due date was set for June 29th 2018, am still dreading that day as it approaches. On 1st June, Friday 2018, i had already started counting down the days till i meet my lovely daughter… I had my sister come over to prepare the house and clean clothes for my baby’s arrival. By the end of the day, i was exhausted and had not felt my little one move all day, so i accounted it to my busy day….. I woke up at 4am to tell my sister i felt something was wrong, my baby was not moving even after prompting, changing positions and i felt this sinking feeling all was not well. I began going into denial but in my heart i knew something was wrong….. On Sunday, the 3rd ofJune, my little girl was confirmed through a scan to have passed away, no heartbeat and had been that way for a while. I was admitted and through induction i delivered my little Angel on 4th June 2018 at 35weeks. I can not describe the pain, loss, fear, dread, disappointment, blame, shame, i feel… The pain of a normal delivery after induction couldn’t compare to the thought that i wouldn’t hear my baby cry, i couldn’t believe what i was going through.
    My family and i decided to do a funeral ceremony for my little Angel on 6th June, 2018, i have been broken since then, everything is a struggle.
    Today, i woke up blaming myself, i should have known something was wrong, i should have been more paranoid, i should have worried more. Lord, why me???? What do i do now without my little girl, what is life about now, when will i see the sun rise again in my life?
    To every mom going through loss, i just know, GOD IS REAL, i dont understand anything right now because i want so badly to be a Mom but in His INFINITE WISDOM, God has said, “not now my daughter”. My family and friends have been great support and i hope i can find myself in all this pain and loss. I miss my little Angel sooo much, no words can describe what i feel for her.

  25. I feel like sharing my story could help in my healing. Please feel free to reach out to me about my grief. The year 2017 is one i that changed me completely. I met a guy in February 2017 and thought we were on the same page about being in a relationship, settling down and starting a family…. I remember making a trip to visit my bestfriend then who lived in a different city, that was later in March 2017, i had this horrible flu that i had never experienced before and definetly my period was late. In all this while we were communicating with then my boyfriend and he was convinced i was pregnant, so i took the test and for sure i was pregnant. I knew in my heart even out of wedlock, i was going to keep my baby and he was all for it but i was to soon realize he was not ready and started withdrawing from me. I had started experiencing morning sickness and some of the early pregnancy symptoms but in mid April they slowly started disappearing, i started feeling normal, one night i noticed some bleeding and the very next day went to hospital, i was around 3 weeks pregnant at this point so all the doctor saw was a sac, no fetal pole, no activity in terms of a heartbeat…. He sent me home to rest which i did, but my Mom was sure to tell me its not normal. Two weeks later which was 5th May i experienced alot of bleeding, cramping and excruciating stomach pain at night which by morning had ended and i knew for sure i had miscarried. I went to the hospital where they confirmed complete miscarriage. I was devasted but at the same time somewhat at peace, my then boyfriend had totally withdrawn from me, never showed up for any of my hospital visits and never attempted to help in my grief. I knew there was no relationship after that and completely stopped talking to him. The loss at that time was real but i found peace with the months that followed. Towards the end of September the guy re-surfaced, apologized and assured me he was ready to give our relationship another try…. Well, i was willing and gave him another chance. Come October 2017 i got pregnant again, in the beginning i couldnt believe it, i was somewhat ready but still skeptical about this guy’s commitment, for sure he was out the moment i told him. I was more composed this time round, i was ready to be a Mom, and by January 2018 i was sure i wanted to be a single mom to my lovely daughter growing inside me. As the months passed, all my doctor appointments were okay, my baby was growing well, moving well and i was healthy. My due date was set for June 29th 2018, am still dreading that day as it approaches. On 1st June, Friday 2018, i had already started counting down the days till i meet my lovely daughter… I had my sister come over to prepare the house and clean clothes for my baby’s arrival. By the end of the day, i was exhausted and had not felt my little one move all day, so i accounted it to my busy day….. I woke up at 4am to tell my sister i felt something was wrong, my baby was not moving even after prompting, changing positions and i felt this sinking feeling all was not well. I began going into denial but in my heart i knew something was wrong….. On Sunday, the 3rd ofJune, my little girl was confirmed through a scan to have passed away, no heartbeat and had been that way for a while. I was admitted and through induction i delivered my little Angel on 4th June 2018 at 35weeks. I can not describe the pain, loss, fear, dread, disappointment, blame, shame, i feel… The pain of a normal delivery after induction couldn’t compare to the thought that i wouldn’t hear my baby cry, i couldn’t believe what i was going through.
    My family and i decided to do a funeral ceremony for my little Angel on 6th June, 2018, i have been broken since then, everything is a struggle.
    Today, i woke up blaming myself, i should have known something was wrong, i should have been more paranoid, i should have worried more. Lord, why me???? What do i do now without my little girl, what is life about now, when will i see the sun rise again in my life?
    To every mom going through loss, i just know, GOD IS REAL, i dont understand anything right now because i want so badly to be a Mom but in His INFINITE WISDOM, God has said, not now my daughter. My family and friends have been great support and i hope i can find myself in all this pain and loss. I miss my little Angel sooo much, no words can describe what i feel for her.

  26. My husbanand I just lost our Miranda Renee on May 16 2018, we tried for years to get pregnant and when we found out, we were beyond excited. Especially when we found out we were having a girl. We did have complications with the amniotic sac fluid being low, and I pleaded with 3 separate doctors to help. 2 basically stated to get an abortion but the third was “willing” to help, but for $1000 per shot. Her little heart just gave out about a few days before labor due to the fluid. They induced my labor at 26 weeks & was very tiny. She looked like her daddy but with my lips and nose. She was the most beautiful little girl. We miss her terribly, and are trying to push through day to day. The worst was picking her urn, which my husband picked out bunnies, since that was his nickname for her. We feel your pain and know that if you need someone to talk to, I’ll be very happy to listen

  27. I have felt like this for almost 4 years now…I’m not sure this feeling will every go away. Until I read this article I didn’t know how to explain it. I lost my identity the day he died. My first born son was stillborn when I was 41 weeks pregnant. Just 2 days before our scheduled induction date, due to a cord accident that could have been prevented if my doctor listened to me and had done an ultrasound 3 days before he died. I’ve tried over the years to find things that keep my mind occupied. I even had a 2nd son in this time and he has helped tremendously but I still have that empty void in my soul where his brother should be. I look at him and wonder what his older brother would have been like at this age, or when we hit a milestone its a reminder of what I didn’t get to have with Vincent. I struggle getting up and going to work, I lost my faith in God, I lost my faith in myself…I am basically a zombie just trying to get to that finish line of whatever it is that I’m waiting for…maybe one day I will wake up and it will all be over, like you said…but being this far into the game, I don’t think its ever going to come. I have turned into a complete introvert, I can’t handle being around or talking to people yet my job demands it of me and its also taking its toll. One day…I just keep telling myself this is temporary. It’s not depression, or anything a magic pill is going to fix or something a doctor can fix…who knows if it will ever be fixed but atleast this feeling lets me know that he was real…even if it is painful.

    • Vincent’s Mom,
      I lost my firstborn as a stillborn. I feel so alone in that the experience of losing your first pregnancy to stillbirth is a uniquely devastating experience. Never do we have the privilege of knowing what a normal pregnancy and birth is. It is also now tainted with fear, anxiety and dread. I HATE GOD I hate attending church. Every mass is a dagger to my heart that directly applies to my loss. It’s as if they were catered to me alone and to bring me more pain. Luke Joseph was my most perfect creation. He was innocent. I have lost my identity, my hopes and my dreams. I woke up everyday thanking God incessantly for this pregnancy and so much more when I found out it was a son. 31 weeks came and my normally very active son wasn’t so active. I drove alone to the hospital thinking I was overreacting as a first time mom. I wasn’t—there was no heartbeat and I screamed alone in that room. I wish so much pain on God. I will never be his daughter or follower and I wish he feels the agony I do.

  28. This resonates so much with me. I gave birth to my stillborn daughter at 31 weeks last Thursday and I don’t know how to live a life without her, I’m just moving through each day as it comes trying to move through to something, I don’t know what.
    The only thing that keeps me going is the fact that I’m someone’s daughter and that my mother would be deeply hurt if anything were to happen to me and a possible future where I’ll get to bring Home a living child.

  29. My favorite sister-in-law lost a baby but it was a lot longer than being born with no heartbeat. She was born suffering, stayed that way for 5 months straight before succumbing to the fact that she didn’t have surfactant (the thing that makes your lungs be able to expand so you can breathe.) She was a twin who lived. The other baby was born without a heartbeat. My mom didn’t tell me that until 10 years later. She made me think there was a higher possibility of the live baby surviving the difficult birth because I thought she was one live birth that happened too early. Even as an EMT-B, which I was when this happened, I knew that if one baby had died the other would need a medical miracle to survive. I was expecting Katelyn, the living baby, to get better when she died. It felt like a massive shock to me, and made me permanently give up praying the rosary. Even after my mom enlightened me I never felt like praying a rosary again. It was the first of two things that happened that turned me away from seeking religious “comfort” for good.
    The second was being forced to watch while my daughter’s dad, my former Partner, died in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. I don’t blame a ‘higher power’ for making it happen but I seem unable to stop wondering why he didn’t do anything to stop it. That thought was intensified when I had to listen to people saying how he did see that others were saved that day. It made me wonder why not the almost 3,000 who weren’t spared.
    I guess I’m saying I’ve experienced almost a total loss of my religious identity after those two situations occurred in my life.

  30. Alex
    I lost my baby boy Julian a month ago. Nothing that I used to be excited about and interested in is enjoyable anymore. I also feel like I’m just going through the motions. We had just purchased a new home for our expanding family and our boys were going to share a bedroom. Decorating my toddlers room as a solo room is not as enjoyable now that I know his baby brother is not here to share it with him. In fact nothing is truly enjoyable about our new home. But because of our first born, I have to “fake it till I make it”. There’s no other way for me and your article really touched me.
    I also talk with my baby Julian, I write to him often. I think this has helped me tremendously. My heart goes out to you and I know you will get to mother Robin one day when you reunite with him. Some of us mothers have to wait a lifetime to mother their angels in heaven.

    • I’m so, so sorry Lizette. People seem to understand that losing a baby is heartbreaking, but they don’t realize that we lose almost all our purpose and place in the world too. And it’s really difficult to articulate to friends and family. But we know, and we understand each other. There are people here who can offer a lot of support and helpful words. I “met” Kristi on this thread, and she’s been one of my guides through the last several months. She found mothers who had lost their babies to guide her too, and I guess in that way, we all form an unfortunate but supportive chain.

      Here’s what I’ve found over the last few months, and I share it with you not as a prescriptive series of events that will undoubtedly happen, but maybe as some hope that you’ll experience something similar (or better). So I can tell you that I’m starting to see myself again–just a different version. Everyday I’m getting more okay with the fact that a part of me is permanently gone; that “life isn’t fair” applies to me too and is unceasing; that it’s probably going to take a long time before I’m as motivated and interested in life as I was before. I’m getting to know those feelings and letting them sit beside the plain, deep sadness of not having my first baby with me anymore.

      Robin’s due date was this Monday, January 4. It was a tough day, but it also felt somewhat cathartic. I talked to him (actually recorded it this time) and let him know that I’m not scared he’s alone or lost or suffering, like I used to think. I know that energy never dies, and I believe very strongly that it means pure spirits like his go on to do good in the world somehow and are naturally at peace. I believe he’s among babies, children, animals…other pure spirits like him. And it’s really comforting. It’s helpful to know that I’ve finally gotten to a place of being grateful for the little bit of time he was here, and being content knowing he’s not suffering.

      Now it’s just the ongoing process of getting to know an unexpected life, working through the ups and downs, and accepting the fact that I’ve changed so much (not necessarily in ways I’m always comfortable with–but that it’s okay). “Fake it till you make it” doesn’t mean you need to stuff away your feelings, but rather to keep doing what you need (and want) to do because you simply can’t make the world stop–as much as you may want to. I look at it like muscle memory: keep life going in whatever ways you have to, and eventually your brain and heart will start to catch up to your body. Doing our best in the wake of our losses is part of how we honor the memories of our babies. We’re living up to the version of ourselves that would have made us great parents to them.

      You, your family, and Baby Julian are in my thoughts. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Eleanor and Litsa (the moderators/owners of this site) have my contact info.

      xo

  31. This story is the closest I have come to feeling understood by another human being. It has been almost two years since I lost my pregnancy and I feel completely lost. Since then I have been suffering with horrible anxiety that I have no control over and the pressure to take birth control. I recently began experiencing acute panic attacks on top of the anxiety due to multiple stressors and triggers and I’ve never been so not-myself. I have nobody to talk to, nobody to relate to and nobody willing to accept my grief.

  32. Alex et al,
    thanks for putting to words what I have been thinking but not verbalizing…fearing others would think I am wearing my hair shirt outside 😐
    My only son passed away, sans wife and children, several years after my husband. I struggle with who am I…no longer wife to anyone, mother to any living being (besides the dog, thank God for him!) with no hope of seeing him happy, with a wife, maybe kids. It’s just ME. how do I define myself? My sympathies to all who struggle with these pains of re-birth of self as we mourn those who have gone to the next place.

  33. I lost my William 4 months ago, on my one year wedding anniversary. I have 4 kids from a previous marriage and this boy was to be my husband’s first. My husband and I were stunned when we learned I was pregnant; we were navigating a very complex new marriage. Later we felt this new life was a blessing and reward for all the hard work and at times even the reason we made it work. So when he was stillborn from a very rare cord knot, we hit the wall hard. We too struggle with purpose even with 4 other kids to care for. I dare say even my children went through it, esp my youngest who was going to be the big brother and his protector. He wanted to build a spaceship and take down heaven to get his baby brother. So even in the midst of other children I and my family, still struggle. My arms and my heart were supposed to be overwhelmingly busy. It was to be so different and its left me stunned and asking if it was all a really bad dream. It helps to remember with my husband. We talk about his hands being like his hands…..and we hope for heaven. We know he’s there. We envision not as a baby, but in perfection before Jesus, all he was supposed to be…grown and understanding the complete picture. It takes some of the agony away, but only a bit. You are not alone. Xoxoxo

  34. Your comments mean so much, Kristi. If you ever want to talk outside of here about Harley, your own experiences, or just your day-to-day, I’d love to hear from you. Just let me know if you’re ever up for it and I’ll figure out how to get my contact information to you.

    Take care of yourself. xo

    • Alex. That would be wonderful. I sent my info to the whatsyourgrief email for them to get in touch with you. My email is [email protected]. I’d love to listen, talk and just be there with you for those many walls and waves you will face in the coming months. xoxo Kristi

  35. P.S. I realize, upon re-reading my comment above, that some of the thoughts were disjointed. This happens…especially lately. 🙂

    What I should have added after the bit about tuning out while I’m talking is that, after I left this interview—which has been the first time and place I’ve talked this much to anyone who hasn’t known about Robin—I thought, “I don’t know who that was in there. She was confident and casual, and a lot like the old Alex. But she didn’t break down crying, didn’t get so anxious that she couldn’t catch her breath, like the new Alex.” And then I thought, “That was Robin’s mom. Doing what she has to do to keep life moving along. For him and with him.”

    That wall isn’t totally gone, and I don’t want a few hours to delude me into thinking the grief is over, because it certainly isn’t…but I feel like I might have knocked out a brick today.

    Thank you again to everyone who’s read, shared, and commented. My heart is with yours.

    • No need to apologize. You accomplished a great deal with the interview . Losing your baby is not easy. I’m almost at the 11 month mark and it feels likeyesterday. Faking it is hard, so don’t try to like I’ve made the mistake of doing. Your words are so poignant and true. From a fellow baby loss mommy. From the movie The Help… “You is kind. You is brave. You is important.” Don’t let anyone tell you any less. God loves you too and He has got our babies in his arms

      Much love
      Kristi Lumpkin

  36. I just wanted to come back and say thank you to everyone who’s shared their own stories, given me (all of us) words of wisdom, and said kind things about my writing. It means a lot. And also to say I’m so sorry for the unique and profound losses you all have been through as well…I know “I’m sorry” doesn’t add up to much, but I am.

    I went for a job interview today. A two-hour-long job interview, talking to four different people in the company about the organization, the projects, and mostly about myself. It was a really strange experience to have right now. I’ve been keeping in mind what a couple of you have said, not to “fake it till you make it” because it won’t work, and think you’re right. I prepared myself on how to answer if they had asked casually if I had kids. Thankfully, I guess, it didn’t come up; however, I was ready to answer truthfully that I have a son who’s not living (or however I’d have said it). But sitting there talking about myself and my professional experience, my ideas for the organization, and how I would fit in there—it’s so strange to rely on those old things I knew and felt so deeply about my own personal and professional identity, and to be talking about them outside the context of Robin’s life and death. I found myself spacing out while I was talking and then tuning back in, which seems to happen a lot lately.

    I talked to Robin this morning before I left, and I asked him to be with me and help me live up to his memory, to show the outside world and myself that I can hold onto him while holding onto an old me…at least until a new me finds her way to the surface. I think I can do it, even if that means relying on the memory I have of myself while knowing and feeling in my bones that she’s not quite there anymore. Today’s been the best day I’ve had since he died, and I credit his little spirit—the one I helped create—for making it happen.

    I hope this might help any of you reading. xo

  37. Very well stated and written. I have not been where you are, but reading your words will make being with those who are going through this more understandable to me. My hope is that, although I can not offer words from a personal experience, that the many comments already posted will give you the tools to make it past the “wall” you have so eloquently described. Thanks so much for sharing with us! A warm embrace from cyber world. hugs.

  38. So very sorry. I have gone through many losses in my life, but three of them really knocked me to my knees. The first was our first born son. He died moments after his birth. He was perfect. (Long story.) I was only 22 and so unprepared for the shock of our loss. I had two years of college left, I attended, but it was all a blur because of the grief I had. July 1 he would have been 45 and my heart still aches for him.
    Twenty years ago my 86 year old mother was brutally murdered in her own home. It was pure hell! Not sure I would have chosen to go on if not for my 9 year old son. My heart still aches and I fight PTSD because I found her. These two deaths had such a major impact on me and changed who I was.
    7 months ago, I lost my husband of 46 1/2 years. I feel totally lost and struggle trying to figure out what now. But I know after the other two major loses, I am strong and will find the strength and courage to go on with life with the love and grace of my Lord and savior.

  39. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby boy Robin. Alex I know the hurt you are feeling. We lost our baby girl Harley Nov 6 2014 due to a cord accident at 37 weeks. I hurt with you. Don’t ever let anyone try to rush you. I quit social media because I couldn’t deal with the deluge of posts from people complaining about the throes of everyday motherhood. My prayers are with you. You are not alone. We will always remember our babies. I pray for all of your losses to these sweet ladies on this thread. I’m so sorry that all of you are going through immense pain. I wish I could do something to ease it.

  40. Alex, I am so very sorry your sweet Robin is not here with you as he should be–with you to tend and care and plan for him and for your life with him in it. If I can wish something for you, other than the obvious wishing this had never happened to you it is that you will not try to “fake it till you make it.” There is no place to make it to, no there there. There is only learning to carry this and to continue to let yourself be awash in your love for him, even when, maybe especially when, that love comes in grief’s raiment. Losing who we are is such a hard, hard part of this grief. We do as you said, have to start all over again because we are not who we were before our children died and can never be that person again. Your words are beautiful as is your mother’s heart. Sending love to you–thank you for sharing his story and yours with us. (((((((((HUGS)))))))))

  41. My daughter Kat died June 18. Although I know I will always be her mom, who do I mother now? My identity was so tightly tied to hers as my child. Until her death, I hadn’t realized how much everything I do is , in one way or another, for her. She was 22 and had just graduated from college, about to start her life as a bona fide adult. I too, am dealing with that wall. Thank you for so beautifully expressing what I could not. I wish you peace

  42. I lost my dad in January this year and, 8 months on, I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore. We lived 200 miles apart but we were caring for him. We were organising sheltered housing, hospitals, Dr’s, social workers, dealing with when he took ill, on the phone around 2 or 3 hours a day at least, always needing to have it with me incase something happens. When he was moving we spent 4 months clearing out a house where he lived for 30 years, decorating a new flat, moving him in and sorting out carers only on weekends. Driving 200 miles on a Friday night and driving back for work at 8.30 on Monday morning, working all week and doing it all again. Two school summers in a row I spent my whole holiday back living down there again.

    Then he died. And I have no sense of identity. I was needed with him. He needed me, social workers, Dr’s, carers, the council needed me. I didn’t lose my friends but I didn’t have time to invest in them so now there are a lot less friends than there were before.

    I was his carer, I was his daughter. Now I don’t know who I am anymore. It’s been a huge relief to hear that others feel the same.

  43. I failed to tell Alex how sorry I am for her loss, Alex I am so sorry. Your strength comes through your post and I admire you for being able to put into words your feelings and your thoughts with such grace. Please take care, God Bless you. And to everyone who has posted here, I am so sorry for your losses as well. Grief is an awful thing, but it is a touch easier and so comforting to find Souls who are going through the same things and facing the same issues. It can help to share. Thank you all.

  44. When I saw the title, “Grief Wall,” I thought you had featured our website on your blog! But even though I was wrong, you made up for it with a very well written article. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this, friend. Love to have you guest blog for us sometime.

  45. I have never lost a child but I understand losing yourself. I have felt that way since my husband died in August of 2014. Who the heck am I anymore? I am not a wife, or a caregiver, I am no longer serving in ministry as I did most of my adult life, my children are grown and moved away..Who is Jan? I dreamed my whole life of being a mother, wife, vocalist (I was a worship arts pastor), minister and now I am in some ways none of these. (I’m still a mom but admittedly it is different now and it is more at a distance – I have no one at home with me) I am simply Jan. And I don’t know what to do with her. So, as you say, I do what I should do. I started back to school because I know I need a finish and find a new job – career even! I struggle to care about many things I used to be passionate about. I’ve tried to explain it to people but it’s hard to articulate. I feel like not only am I grieving, I am rebuilding me….and I am not sure I have a map or plans to go by. Not sure what to do with my life now. You’re right, it can totally rob you of your identity. I am so sorry for your loss. Praying for strength to take one hour at a time into peace.

  46. I truly feel your loss and confusion. I experienced the same thing in 1973. Everything you’ve written here resonates loud and clear to me. The first thing I would suggest is don’t fake it til you make it. That was a huge mistake. Grief delayed compounds itself and will come back multiplied later. Right now, you’re in shock. I did exactly what you did. I read everything I could find to find out not what happened, but where my precious son, Seth, was. Speak about Robin. Use his name. Don’t let others minimize your loss. People mat say ridiculous things like, ” Well at least you didn’t get to know him. ” You absolutely did know him. You alone had that beautiful privileged. The only people who are going to understand are those who have experienced the exact same thing. If I were you, I would think of a phrase that you’re comfortable with to express to minimizers that Robin is as much you child as anyone else’s child. Over the years, when people ask me how many children I have, I tell them 3. Unless pushed, I don’t explain to them that one of my sons happens to be waiting for me behind this thin curtain we call death. Take care of yourself. Do whatever ishe necessary to find the answers that you need. You will come to an understanding that only you will know of. As far as the terminology goes, I simply tell people that Seth died. For myself, I explain to people that my son literally saved my life. From all of the searching I did to find out what happened to him, I found a true faith in God. I believe that I will be with him throughout eternity. God bless an keep you, Sweetheart.

  47. I lost my husband just short of three years ago. I have definitely been trying to “reinvent” myself ever since. It’s been recently compounded by selling our house and moving into another home. I thought it would help me start over but I still feel completely lost. I keep thinking once I finish remodeling, painting, unpacking, etc., that I’ll feel like I’m finally “there.” And the widow’s brain fog and inability to focus doesn’t help. But I still hope my grief wall starts crumbling soon. Thank you for the post.

  48. Hugs back to you, you have suffered so much as well. We are in our own special Club. Take care, Bless you.

  49. Oh, Lois, I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious little girl, and your husband, too. Yes, I truly and completely believe they are together right this very minute, and will be the first two to meet you when you cross over. ((((((((( hugs )))))))))

  50. We lost a little girl 36 years ago. She was full term. The only possible explanation was that I had chicken pox in my 7th month. She was beautiful, that is a memory I carry in my heart. I have so many regrets. One of being in the hospital while my family had a funeral service for her, and I couldn’t attend. I still feel her loss, and now that my husband has passed away from cancer, I always envision him holding her until we all meet again. Thank you for this post. Sometimes I feel very alone in this grief. And my grief for the loss of my husband of 40 years only adds to it.

  51. We suffered 2 pregnancy losses (both times with multiples) before I lost my beloved husband. I no longer felt I was “me”…..and that was even more confirmed when I wasn’t even included in my mother-in-law’s obituary several years later. Our sons were listed, to make it appear they were her other son’s children. The other son was listed, along with his wife, but not me. Not an oversight, but rather an intentional snub by my brother-in-law whose career of being a drug addict/dealer caused a rift between my husband and him, and the family (all enablers) sided with the other son.

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