This is my first year as a grieving mother and my only goal is to survive.

Prior to being a grieving mother, I believed in setting goals, plans, and schedules. But that all got tossed out the window when my daughter passed away. Now my only goal is to survive.

Survive my first year without her and as a newly grieving mother. I don’t want to start a new hobby or set new goals, and I have no plans to try for another baby. I know I will cry a lot, say her name before I fall asleep and think of her 100 times a day or more.

I don’t want to make promises and schedule plans that I may not keep. And I don’t want to pretend that I’m OK. I know some days will be harder than others. I know for a fact many won’t understand what I’m going through. I know I may lose friendships from those who can’t handle it. I know I will make new friendships with other grieving moms. I will lean on them for support and guidance through this emotional journey. I know I will lean on my husband now more than ever.

Please don’t assume that just because I’m smiling, laughing or happy that I’m over the loss of my baby.

I’m learning to live a life where grief and joy coexist. I never thought they could, but they do. I’m learning to embrace them both and maneuvering them into my everyday life.

I don’t care if talking about my baby makes you uncomfortable. She is part of my family and will always be remembered. Know it’s alright to mention her name and bring her up in conversation. Be sure to check up on me during special anniversaries and let me know you care. I’ll be adjusting to the changes in my life and learning how to cope with those reminders.

I don’t have a clue what I’m doing but please don’t ask if I will ever be ready to have more kids. My only goal is to survive my first year as a grieving mother. I have no expectations and no big plans. This is not my year to check things off my to-do list. Or surpass my prior years in achievements. Instead, I will give myself the time I need.

I will focus on being the best mom I can be to my surviving twin daughter. I will love unconditionally. Instead of stressing about deadlines I will treasure the memories I’m making. I won’t get upset if the house is a mess or if I forgot to throw the clothes in the dryer. I may plan to cook dinner each night but I’m alright if takeout is a better option. I’ll laugh as often as I can and cry when I need to. Play instead of work. Kiss my husband as often as I can. And cherish the time I have on this Earth.

My only goal for my first year as a grieving mother is to survive.

I’m not the person I used to be.

This time around I am a grieving mother. I won’t make apologies for who I am or how I behave. I need to do what’s best for me.

I hope you won’t judge me or cut me out of your life. Instead, support me as a grieving mother and allow me this year to learn to survive in this new role. It will take time, but I know I will make it through. I will come out stronger in the end and live life to the fullest in my daughter’s honor.

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Kim Dames

Kim is a wife to a supportive and patient husband, and a mom to a 25-weeker surviving twin and two angels. Through her blog ThePreemieMom.com, Kim shares her journey through motherhood, miscarriage, the NICU, loss, and adapting to life with a preemie. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.