Shop the fall collection ➔

Loving a woman who has experienced trauma in her life isn’t always easy. The baggage she is carrying around is much heavier than any overstuffed purse you have found yourself holding outside of a dressing room door. She will try to carry the baggage on her own, clumsily fumbling under its weight, not wanting to burden you with it. Being the man you are, you inevitably take some of the weight from her shoulders and put it on your own. The heaviness nearly takes your breath away. 

RELATED: Grief is a Constant Companion for the Mother Who’s Lost a Child

My husband is an amazing father to our 11-year-old son, but I’m not at all surprised. I knew he would be a great father long before we had a child together because I saw how great a stepfather he was to my first son. I know what you are thinking, there are many men out there who are amazing stepfathers, what is so special about this story?

Well, my husband never got a chance to meet my first son because before he entered my life, my son Dylan passed away shortly after birth. 

The day Dylan died a piece of me died too. I no longer had a whole heart to give to someone because a part of mine was forever gone with my son. It’s a strange thing to be the mother of a baby who is no longer alive. You never get to parent in the traditional sense of things like teaching them to read or disciplining them when they made a mistake.

The way I parent Dylan is much different than how I parent my son who is alive. It looks and feels different. It is speaking his name and acknowledging he is my firstborn son. It is working on changing the way the world treats bereaved parents. It is walking beside other families who have to walk this journey as well. It is paying for a stranger’s birthday cake at our local bakery every March 20th for as long as I live. 

RELATED: The Loss Mom Club

I remember the first time I told my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, about Dylan. I was afraid of showing him both my physical and emotional scars, afraid to scare him away. He held my hand as he listened to my story and immediately asked me what his name is. 

No one has ever wanted to know my deceased baby’s name, but he did. 

When the pain of our first miscarriage together was too much for me to handle, my husband held me up. 

When I dealt with extreme fear and anxiety during our next pregnancy, he held me and reassured me. Never once did he tell me to forget or get over what I had been through. We welcomed our son and our hearts rejoiced. 

RELATED: Thank You For Not Forgetting My Child Who Died

When I finally had Dylan’s ashes buried he helped me with the funeral expenses and was there praying for me, holding me as I wept. 

When I formed a team to walk in Dylan’s honor he wore the #teamDylan shirt and walked beside me.

It’s a strange title to be given, stepfather of a child no longer alive, but he does it with love and compassion.

Loving a woman who has experienced the loss of a child, whether it was a miscarriage or years later, is knowing that you are giving your whole heart to someone who is missing a piece of hers and loving her anyway. 

Christina  Zambrano

Christina Zambrano is a wife, mother, nurse turned administrative manager for a mental health practice, and writer. She is passionate about sharing her struggles with mental health, addictions in hopes to help others feel less alone. Jesus and therapy is how she made it this far. Her writing has been published on Her View From Home, Girl Defined, and more.

Grief Is Persistent But God Is Faithful

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Woman praying by ocean

The loss of a parent doesn’t just sting, it leaves you with an irreplaceable hole in your heart. It’s been two years since my loving daddy went home to be with Jesus, and the loss I feel is still unimaginable.  I know in my heart he’s in a better place that is absent of pain and distress. However, his physical presence and wisdom are so dearly missed here on this earth.  He left behind an army of a family who adored him and looked to him for solid guidance. No matter how hard I try to look to the bright...

Keep Reading

l Will Never Stop Missing My Sister

In: Cancer, Grief, Loss
Woman in red shirt

It might be 16 years too late to properly depict the depressive senses that engulfed my whole being when I lost my only sister Aurora to colon cancer in 2006. Painful flashbacks continue to fill my everyday life at the most inopportune moments that  writing about it might somehow alleviate my grief. I remember getting that random phone call from her one sunny day in September 2006 and how guilt automatically hit me. It had been a while since I last saw her. “It’s positive,” she said. Backed with years of joking around and playing tricks on her since childhood,...

Keep Reading

My Parents Are Both Gone Now, and I’m Struggling

In: Grief
Man holding smiling infant, color photo

I lost my dad at the beginning of the summer. The last time I saw him, my daughter and I picked him up from the hospital after his bout of pneumonia. She talked to him about her last day of kindergarten and how she would now be a first-grader. He sat cupping his warm mug of coffee in his favorite chair while his favorite blanket covered his legs. He smiled and giggled about the kindergarten stories. He and my daughter share the same birthday so he always had that Pop-Pop proud look on his face toward her. He was tired...

Keep Reading

Having Cancer at 34 Taught Me How to Live

In: Cancer
Husband and wife on boat, color photo

This picture came up in my Facebook memories today. It took my breath away for a moment, just like it has for nine years now. It was the last picture taken of me before my midwife found the lump and my life changed forever.  The first time I saw that photo, I realized I didn’t know that woman anymore. She was naive. Laying there in the sun without any inkling that a cancer was growing inside her. Look at her—unafraid and without anxiety. Less than 48 hours later, she would be gone, replaced by someone who was afraid of each...

Keep Reading

My Hands Are Full, but They Should Be Fuller

In: Grief, Loss
Family walking on beach

When they are gay, the waves echo their gaiety; but when they are sad, then every breaker, as it rolls, seems to bring additional sadness, and to speak to us of hopelessness and of the pettiness of all our joys. -Baroness Orczy I sat in the sand at the edge of the shore, looked out at the vast Atlantic Ocean, and watched the waves change the landscape with each crash. I absentmindedly dug a hole in the sand next to me, but then a wave came. The hole filled first with water. Then, wet sand caved in. The surface of...

Keep Reading

To My Sons in Heaven: Your Short Lives Changed Mine Forever

In: Grief
Woman at sunse

Dear Noah, Caleb, and Micah: I can’t believe it’s been nine years since I held you in my arms. My sweet sons, losing you broke me in a way that I never thought was possible. I have loved you every second of every day since we first heard of your pending arrival. RELATED: A Letter to my Daughter in Heaven With each day that you have spent in eternity, my love for you has grown exponentially. I have a vision of the day we will hug once more. I imagine that by then, my heart will have expanded so much...

Keep Reading

What If I Could Meet My Mom Now?

In: Grief, Grown Children
Retro photo of woman in sunglasses

I attempt to swallow. My heart is in my throat. I hold back tears. The woman who stands before me is 36 and looks a lot like me, but is not me. I squeeze my arms, pinch my thigh to make sure. I don’t wake up. “Hello.” Her voice is soprano and nasally like mine. Her black, Farrah Fawcett hair frames her round face. We are the same height. We share the same eyes. The same smile. The same white teeth. The same nose. The same long legs. She wears a baggy t-shirt with white-washed jeans, the kind that are...

Keep Reading

317 Days of Love

In: Grief, Motherhood
Smiling baby girl

She couldn’t speak, yet her life spoke to so many. 317 days she was on this earth. She couldn’t speak . . . only one word she said before she passed. One precious word: “Mama.” I can still hear it clear as day. I remember the moment she was born. I looked at her daddy with tear-streaked cheeks, shaking as I heard her cry. The nurse said, “You have a baby girl!” and I was in such awe. I looked at her daddy whispering, “We have a baby girl.” I was in complete adoration. From her dainty little fingers to...

Keep Reading

The Woman He Married Is Long Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Marriage
Young couple smiling

My husband has been married to at least five different women—and they’re all versions of me. His first wife was the 21-year-old version of me, who was a fit and focused college athlete. She was a driven, perfectionist dream-chaser. She was ready to push and sacrifice to chase the dream. No challenge was too hard—but then again, the hardest thing in her life was her organic chemistry final. She had the eternal optimism that comes with naivety and innocence. She loved him with eagerness and couldn’t wait to build a life with him. He often still daydreams of this first...

Keep Reading

Not Having My Mom Here Never Stops Hurting

In: Grief
Sad woman

Each phase of life since my mom died has brought different struggles, triumphs, and varieties of emotion. I always knew that grief was lifelong and complicated, however, I definitely underestimated the ways in which it changes as time goes on. I remember the beginning years as survival mode. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through each day until that day had passed and I was on to the next one. It was figuring out who I was and what my life was going to become during this awful new normal. Some days were harder than others and...

Keep Reading