Oh, Mama Orca!
Two summers ago, we watched as you grieved your calf who died. We watched as you carried your baby’s body for 17 days, never faltering in your demonstration of love.
You were a symbol of the deep, instinctual love of a mother.
For 17 days, you held your baby high to let the world know that death did not end you as a mother. It only made you more fierce in your motherhood.
And now, we get to watch as you embark on this pregnancy after the loss of your baby.
I’m wishing you the most gentle congratulations on your pregnancy.
The congratulations is because I’m excited for you. But the gentleness comes from the place of uncertainty we all hold when we know the death of a child. You just never know how it all might turn out. It’s complicated.
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In 2018, Tahlequah, or J35, as she’s known by researchers, swam for 17 days with her dead newborn. Refusing to let it sink, the orca pushed her calf toward the surface of the Pacific off the coast of Canada and the Northwestern US. According to drone photos, Tahlequah, pictured above, is just one of several pregnant killer whales that have been identified by researchers since early July, according to SR3, a sea life response, rehab and research group. Tap the link in our bio to learn more. (📸: From SR3)
While we may not know exactly what you’re thinking, I like to imagine that it’s not too different from the feelings of any parent who is expecting after the death of a baby. It may even look like my own experience with pregnancy after loss.
After all, your grief looked a lot like mine.
Why would this be any different?
Again, I look to you as a symbol. You taught humans a lot about what it is to grieve a child. Maybe you can show us how to hold onto hope and embrace uncertainty during a pregnancy after loss.