Dear mama,

It’s weird to hear that, isn’t it? You know you are a mama.

And yet . . . 

Your baby is gone.

There is no heartbeat anymore.

The doctors don’t know what to tell you.

The waiting car seat will forever be empty.

I know.
I know.

That was the worst for me—the minute that reality actually set in.

I got into my car, barely able to stand after a day of labor and an unexpected surgery in which I nearly died.

I looked into the backseat, and there it was.

My first-born’s car seat.

Empty, looming, and taunting.

He was perfectly healthy. A week overdue.

First world babies don’t die because of labor complications.

But they do.

Mine did.

This pain you feel—the aching you didn’t even know could possibly exist? Don’t let anyone tell you not to feel it.

It’s the deepest, darkest and most horrific pain you will ever feel. Ever. And you will wish with all your might you didn’t have to feel it. I so wish you didn’t have to.

People will tell you not to feel it. Some will do so because they want to protect you, protect your heart and your soul.

Others will tell you not to feel it because it makes them uncomfortable.

Still others will tell you not to feel it because they don’t have the slightest bit of reference for how life-changing this is, and that lack of perspective is a gift for them but a curse for you.

Ignore them all.

Feel whatever you need to feel to survive.

Breathing will be laborious.

Opening your eyes every morning will be like sticking a knife in your heart, and often bring you to your knees wishing you could just close your eyes again and keep them closed forever.

And you will need to know that this is normal.

You’ve lost a most precious part of yourself, and that metamorphosis is a painful one.

That change, though . . . those heavy chains that feel like anchors every single day?
I need you to know that they change, too.

They get lighter, and even though it sounds ridiculous to say, more bearable.

One day, you’ll even feel like they’re not even heavy at all. They’ll become a part of you too—reminding you it wasn’t all a dream, and that you did, indeed, suffer the most traumatic loss imaginable and survive.

In fact, some days, the anchors will not even feel like anchors, but beacons, even . . . guiding you to places you’d never go and into things you’d never do if you didn’t have them as your experienced guides.

They’re always there—but you get to choose how you wear them. That you didn’t choose them makes no difference; no one ever does or would, and so, the choice comes in how we carry them.

My heart is breaking for you as you read this. I remember the days I would read things and think, “There is no way this person loved her child as much as I loved mine. She could NEVER say this if she did. I will never escape this pain.

I get it, friend. I do.

But I have to tell you, because I was so desperate to know it then myself . . . 

You can and will breathe again.

You can and will smile again.

You can and will laugh again.

You can and will claim happiness again, even if a different one you never predicted.

And most importantly, you will always, always be his or her mama, and there is a sisterhood of mothers who will stand with you and walk with you every step of the way, until you find the strength to do so on your own.

You are not alone.

Originally published on the author’s page

Lori Ennis

I am a military spouse (21 years and counting!) and mother of three sons—two in Heaven and one second-grader who is the air I breathe. We currently are stationed in Maryland where I live an amazing life full of love and gratitude.