I couldn’t look at your face, my son.

And now it’s too late.

I’m sorry.

I waited too long, and in a blurry flash, the opportunity had passed. Should I call it an opportunity? The word seems to imply something good is to come.

But you see, there were no joyous sounds when you arrived at only 17 weeks gestation. There was only deafening sorrow.

There was no hustle and bustle or newborn cries or “Congratulations, Mama!”

There was only an empty womb and gut-wrenching sobs

I couldn’t look at your face.

But I held you, my little love.

Your perfect, tiny body, swaddled so sweetly, resting on my chest.

My heart was at ease with you there.

I imagined your little head right below my chin. I longed to feel the soft twirl of dark hair. I could almost smell your newborn smell.

For hours we stayed there. Just me, you, and Daddy.

But I couldn’t look at your face. Please forgive me.

Because looking at your face was a reminder of things I couldn’t see. 

I couldn’t see birthdays, beach trips, wrestling, fishing, trampolines, skateboards, bugs, and dirt. All the things little boys love.

I couldn’t see first steps, hugs, slobbery kisses, hand-picked flowers, and lots of cuddles.

You would’ve completed our family—the fourth brother.

How lucky you boys would have been to grow up together! And so close in age, too.

Looking at your face, I couldn’t see the joy that the morning would eventually bring.

I couldn’t see the new life that would grow in the same womb, only a few short months later.

A blonde, rainbow baby girl, appropriately named Sunnie.

I couldn’t see the gratefulness that would fill my soul because I was your mama

I couldn’t see the outpouring of love from our family and friends.

I couldn’t see the love that Daddy and I shared grow stronger as we healed together.

I couldn’t see my faith and trust grow in the Lord.

I just couldn’t.

But, my little love, had I gazed upon your face . . .

Perhaps I would’ve seen hope.

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Tori Wells

Tori Wells is a contributor at The MOMBOX, a health and fitness site for busy moms.  She is a Navy wife, and mother to 3 boys and 1 rainbow baby girl.