One challenge grieving parents face over time is that what others see and what grieving parents actually live each day are two different views.

Learning how to walk on Earth with a child in your heart instead of your arms is a lifelong, daily journey.

It is a journey that is indescribable unless you’re in it.

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Over time, you smile again, you laugh again, you may try to conceive again. You start living again and doing “normal” life things.

Life continues, and while a piece of your life is always frozen in time, you figure out how to move forward with your child in your heart instead of your arms.

What others don’t see is the trauma, PTSD, and anxiety that come daily for some, even many years later.

We can smile, yet at times there’s pain behind our eyes.

We can laugh, yet at times we are wishing we were laughing at our child being silly.

We can find joy, yet at times what brought us joy before losing a child is different from what brings joy now.

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We can live, yet at times it’s sitting in the car crying in a parking lot. It’s trying to keep ourselves together when there’s a trigger. It’s feeling all the feels or finding a way to hide them when needed.

These—and so much more—are the things grieving parents struggle with each day.

It’s the things others around us may not see or hear.

It’s the things that happen in the background or when others aren’t around.

One of the most difficult chapters to come to in the journey through child loss is when what grieving parents experience inside each day and what others see each day differs more over time.

Child loss is a lifelong journey that comes with new chapters over time.

The only constant in every chapter is the unconditional love we have for our children.

Originally published on the author’s Instagram page

Justina Oldehoff

Justina Oldehoff is a mom of two preemie boys, Carter in heaven (1/21/19-1/24/19) and Aron born 10/9/2019 who is home and healthy, and a wife of 11 years to Dan. Following the passing of their son, Carter's Cause Foundation was created to honor Carter's legacy and provide resources and support to NICU families, loss families, and support systems.