My heart aches today. Because I’m a grief stricken mother of a stillborn child. This is not the kind of ache you can push aside – it’s the kind that throbs, that feels like the chest is trying to collapse on itself and all there is to do is try to hold yourself together. I find myself reminding myself to breathe, just breathe, again and again. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. And my body aches with my heart. Sitting on my bed, I notice myself rocking back and forth. I look like a crazy person, but I realize that’s my body’s way of trying to cope with a pain I’m not equipped to deal with. My body and mind don’t know what to do or how to process this. So we sit and ache. Somewhere I feel like I should be sobbing, but for now the tears won’t come. I just hurt. Everywhere.
I look around my life at the many women who have buried their children – at the hundreds of them that mourn a child they never got the chance to bury – and I wonder if I’m normal. Did they hurt this bad? Did they wonder if the sun would ever shine again? Or is there something wrong with me?
The child I buried never danced on this earth. She never wriggled her toes in the sand or held my hand while she took her first steps. She never smiled at me or cried for my comfort. But she wrapped my heart around her finger nonetheless, and my heart might have shattered when she died. It feels like it shatters again and again, over and over. I think part of the pain is knowing that I never get to experience her. I don’t get those moments with her – I can’t snuggle her in my arms or kiss her soft lips. Because she’s not here. My arms feel empty.
And then I feel like I need to justify why I’m not functioning. I need to justify why I want to crawl into bed and stay there. I need to justify why I’m not operating my life the way I normally would. I need to justify why I go to get stuff done and find myself flitting from task to task, ultimately completing nothing. I need to justify all of this nonsense to myself, tell myself it’s okay to be where I’m at.
My brain is telling me to get up, get moving, get back to life.
My heart is telling me to take it easy, slow down. This is life right now. It just doesn’t look the way it did.
My brain is telling me it should look different – I should be stronger. I should be better at this. I shouldn’t let the hurt stop me.
My heart is telling me not to listen. Today and for the next however many months, it’s telling me my brain is wrong.
My heart and mind are in conflict. My body has no idea what happened to it. My arms ache for the child they’ll never hold. And I sit here, non-functional, trying my best to let the pain just be what it is. To let myself hurt because it hurts, and not make it wrong. To be okay with the fact that grief and mourning don’t look the way I thought it did – and that it’s okay to mourn for my daughter.
And I share this because I’m not the only one. Because hundreds of women before me have mourned their children, and I think most will understand. Even more, I hope most will know that I understand. To each of you, I had no idea and I’m sorry.