Recently I was talking with a friend about how things are. Things like routines, habits, hobbies… the things that make us, us. We all have an idea that things will be different for us when we have a child. It’s called a life change for that reason. Often, life changes can be disruptive in both good and bad ways.
For instance, when one births a child that lives, people are filled with overwhelming amounts of joy and are overwhelmed with large amounts of stress. There are financial stressors, time stressors, emotional stressors and a number of other things I’ve never experienced so I can’t even touch on them. Routines change, hobbies are put aside, good and bad habits are made. Compromises are around every corner.
I had a baby once. He died.
A typical day before my son died was fairly easy going. I was in undergrad, so there was class and homework. I did the grocery shopping. We had a few guilty pleasures in television shows that were not suitable for children. This was one of the things we knew we would need to give up. We we prepared for the compromise. Financially, it wasn’t like we were rich but we were comfortable. Again, something we knew would change a bit after he was born. We both grew up in the desert and considered ourselves stuck there. We owned a home in an upside down market. I had no idea what I was going to do after I finished school, but I knew I was going to be a good Mother to our son so that was just fine.
The birth of our son did not come with the joy that we had expected. We didn’t get to keep him. The plans that we had to be awesome parents with a perfect, cool little dude, had shattered. While most of his things were bought and paid for and ready through his first year of life, we never confronted the challenge of affording diapers or clothes or formula. We didn’t fight over who was going to get him ready or wake up with him in the middle of the night. Those television shows that were inappropriate for young eyes and ears never became the misfit for our home that we had expected.
Just a few short months after he died, we adopted the cutest little girl pup. She’s a chug (half chihuahua half pug) and she was a perfect edition and friend for the two pugs we already had. I started back at school to be a therapist just after our boy should have been turning one year old. I stopped painting, which was something I loved to do. One year after that, we moved across the country to a beautiful place with four seasons. This was quite the contradiction to the desert landscape which was all I had known my whole life. One year and some months after that, is now.
I wake up in the morning and I make my husband breakfast. I also feed the pups and cats. The chug has usually chewed up something she shouldn’t have or otherwise caused some kind of turmoil by this time of day. I glance outside the bathroom window and look at the Housatonic River. I shower and put on my necklace. We see my husband off to work and I get to homework, writing and research. In the afternoon, I grocery shop if needed, prepare for dinner and catch up on video games (self care, don’t judge). Right now, I’m studying to take the licensing exam to become a therapist. We have dinner when my husband comes home and we have a drink, depending on how rough the day, a glass of wine or something more. We watch our child inappropriate television shows and we go to bed.
My day doesn’t sound like the typical day for the Mother of a 3 and a half year old little boy.
Look again though and you’ll see how every thing that I do is a direct result of my boy. I wear his necklace every day. I’m studying therapy because of him. We picked up that bad little chug (who we adore) because of him. We live in a beautiful place, near a beautiful, huge river with snow and greenery because of him. I’m writing this… because of him. I have dear friends now that I never would have met if it wasn’t for him.
I know everyone else doesn’t see him and it can be hard for them to process the idea that I am a Mother without a tangible child for them to see. I can feel him. He keeps me going. Just like any other Mother… I do everything that I can for him.
They knew they wanted more children and have since suffered many early miscarriages during the process of multiple IVF and IUI cycles which have left them with broken hearts.Feeling defeated and alone, the bereaved parents moved to Connecticut in search of a much needed new start.
Amber was inspired to work towards becoming a therapist during her process of trying to find support after her loss. She is currently a freelance graphic designer, artist and marriage and family therapy graduate student. She takes comfort in the idea that their son was a driving force for her to help other people through a time that she and her husband felt so alone.