There’s such uncertainty when your baby dies.

Whether you’ve lost them at 5-weeks gestation or 10 months after birth, it can be difficult to figure out how to grieve a life so brief.

Grief is so often tied to the memories we have of the deceased. We find comfort in thinking about all the life they experienced and that we were able to experience it with them.

So, how do you grieve a life that never had the chance to live?

When you lose a baby, you don’t really find yourself walking down memory lane. Instead, you find yourself peering into a kind of fantasy world. It’s a realm that only exists in the hypothetical sense.

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Losing a baby isn’t so much about the remember-whens, it’s more about the should-be, could-be, would-bes.

I should be holding a baby in my arms.

I could be one of those moms sending her child to kindergarten.

They would be two this year.

When someone dies, you are often reminded of them by specific items or moments. When a baby dies, it’s different.

It’s not one color that makes you think of them, it’s wondering what color would have been their favorite. You don’t just think of them when you visit somewhere special, you think of them whenever your feet travel somewhere they cannot.

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When a baby dies, you’re reminded of them everywhere because they are missing everything.

There should be one more person in our family photo.

We could be watching them ride a bike for the first time.

I would be a different person if they were here.

We are grieving all of those moments that will never be.

It’s not just about missing them, it’s about missing who they would be. When you lose a baby, you lose who they could have been. You also lose the person you should be with them.

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Losing your baby is a heartache unlike any other. Then again, loving your baby is a love that defies expectations.

The love you have for your child is everything you thought it would be . . . and more.

Originally published on An Unexpected Family Outing

 

Rachel Whalen

Rachel Whalen is a writer and Kindergarten teacher who lives and loves in Vermont. She is the mother of two daughters; Frances who is 14 months old and Dorothy who was stillborn two years ago. Her daughter's silent birth has inspired her to use her voice to share about grief, pregnancy loss, and parenting after loss.