When I stepped onto the beach the morning we said goodbye, my first thought was that the cold sand felt just like his cold body after his soul departed.When the tiny blooms started emerging from the ground that first spring, I thought of all his delicate features that weren’t quite ready for life outside my womb.In the months after his death, everything reminded me of him.Everything.I was consumed with trying to make sense of it all. I wanted to remember every detail of his perfect but small body. I wanted to embrace my identity as a mother, despite not having a living child. I wanted to ensure that his presence on this earth meant something.
Lewy would be 10 this year. Still, not a day passes that I don’t think of him and miss him and wonder how life would be different if he were still here. But it is less consuming now, and my grief is lighter. I can smile without tears in my eyes when I talk about my first-born son...usually. There are still moments when I am pulled right back to the time when my grief was fresh, and all of a sudden, it is as if I am feeling the weight of it for the first time. But those moments are fleeting.
Nowadays, I focus more easily on the gifts he left behind. For such a tiny guy, he made a huge impact! I live more fully now than I ever did before, being able to recognize in a way that I didn’t before just how short life can be. I do not take my days for granted. I find joy in the little things--stove top popcorn, bubble baths, my children’s laughter, smiles from strangers. I have become awestruck by nature and take comfort in the fact that the world keeps on turning, the sun keeps on shining, even in our darkest moments. I also credit Lewy with opening up my heart to hold all the love that I now get to shower on my other children, for teaching me to love unconditionally.
Perhaps most importantly, Lewy showed me just how strong I am, and he inspired me to carve out a path in which I can remind other women just how strong they are too. I was fascinated with birth before I became a mother, but it wasn’t until I met Lewy that I decided to pursue a career as a nurse. He helped me find my purpose in life. For that, I will forever be grateful for the short time we shared on this earth.
If you are missing a little one in your arms, know that you are not alone. Your experience is unique, but there are many women and families who walk a similar path. Whether your loss was during early pregnancy, later pregnancy, your baby was born still or died after birth, know that you are not alone. Whether your loss was recent or many years ago, know that you are not alone. For so many, this is a path of great sorrow and longing but also immense joy and gratitude.
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. 1 in 4 women will lose a baby during
-Lisa Warner, RN