"Awareness born of love is the only force that can bring healing and renewal. Out of our love for another person, we become more willing to let our old identities wither and fall away, and enter a dark night of the soul, so that we may stand naked once more in the presence of the great mystery that lies at the core of our being. This is how love ripens us -by warming us from within, inspiring us to break out of our shell, and lighting our way through the dark passage to new birth." -John Welwood
I do not remember the original context of this quote. What I do remember is reading it, and hearing it speak directly to my heart, making sense of pain and loss and love and compassion - my pain, my loss, my love, my compassion. My story.
Six years ago on this day, Jeff and I found out the devastating news that the baby I was carrying had died. I was nearing the end of my first trimester: that is to say, I was loving that baby so much, already.
I've kept so private the grief I feel, each year, when February arrives. But when I read that quote by Welwood, I realized two important things: if we are to change the hush-hush stigma that surrounds the loss of a child through miscarriage, it begins with women who are willing to share their stories. Who are willing to stand vulnerable and be honest and open. Who acknowledge the grief and the loss and the suffering. Even when that grief is six years old.
And the second important thing I realized is that my baby deserves to be remembered.
And so I am sharing excerpts from the letter I wrote in 2006 to my Lost Baby, in the hopes that it will speak to the hearts of Lost Women.
When was the exact moment when your heart stopped beating? When did it beat for the last time – what was I doing? Was I kissing your Daddy? Hugging your brother? Was I laughing? Was I crying? Did your heart beat long enough to know how much I love you, how I will love you forever? Did my own heart skip a beat when yours stopped beating?I will never know you, my tiny stranger. Your Daddy and I were so proud of you already, so happy that you would come into this world and make our lives even richer. We would hold you and kiss you and love you unconditionally and forever. Now, we will hold your memory in our hearts forever.
I need you to know a few things. I need you to know that I understand that there was something not healthy about you, and so you had to die. I need you to know that I love you just the same. I need you to know that I had a deep connection with you, that my “mother’s intuition” actually was working quite well. I knew deep in my heart that there was something not quite right about you. I worried about you so much…
I never imagined that this would happen to me, that I would belong to the horrible club of “Women Who Have Had Miscarriages.” I never imagined that losing a child through a miscarriage would be as heartbreaking and devastating as it is.
I want you to know how much we love you, how many people were deeply affected by your death, how many tears I have shed over you. You cannot imagine the love I have for you, your tiny being who I will never know but whom I love beyond measure. We had such plans for you!Baby, we will always love you. We will never forget you. You were created out of a deep love that your Daddy and I share with each other. You were nurtured in my body and I was so good to you. I was eating well for you, I was exercising for you, I was loving you so completely. I know that we will have other children, and we will love them, but I need you to know that you will never be forgotten, that no child will ever replace you, that it was YOU that I wanted. I wanted you, I love you, I will always be your Mama, and I will see you one day.
Finally, baby, I am so sorry. I cannot help but feel that I have failed you as a mother. I love you, my child. I will meet you again one day. Until then, you will remain in my heart forever.