Dear Beautiful Mother on Your Child’s First Birthday

Last year this day was the best and worst of your life.

This is the day you entered your still motherhood. It will be a day you never, ever forget. You did it. The baby you helped grow and nurture every day of his life was born. He was perfect and everything you had imagined; maybe besides the head full of blond hair. You labored for hours and your body did what it needed to bring him into the outside world. For this, you should be so proud of yourself. I know it feels hard to have this thought stick in your head, but it’s true.

Everything you could do, you did.

It’s also the day you said goodbye to the person you loved most. This start to motherhood wasn’t the one you had ever planned. It wasn’t in any of the baby books or classes that you so diligently read and attended. You had to answer questions about your son’s funeral before he was even born. There were sentences coming out of your mouth that you never even knew that you could form. With the final push, you first met the silence that would forever haunt you. You learned what it was like to leave the hospital without your baby. It was the first night you had nightmares about not being able to get to him. This day should have been just been the best and I’m sorry it wasn’t.

I wish I could change it for you then, just like I wish I could now. I promise you, I’ve tried and tried every day since that first one. Three hundred and sixty-five times I’ve tried and I still can’t get him back.

Beautiful mother, I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you: The pain you encountered this year was hell. It hasn’t gotten easier from the time they told you he was gone until the day he should be one. You’ve felt like giving up, most days, if not all. Of course, there have been good moments that you really needed to keep you going. This community of warrior mothers has accepted you and applauded you for every step you took. You lost friends, but gained others. Most times when you look in the mirror or a picture of yourself, you don’t recognize the person you’ve become.

You see yourself, but more tired and empty. Most of the time you see tears streaming down your face. Yet, you wiped them off and kept fighting to live your life for him.

This is what makes you strong.

No one knows how it feels to lose him. No one knows your exact struggles and internal battles you keep pushing down. Yet, with the drive to keep going, you honor him. This is what he would want. It’s the best birthday gift you can give.

Today isn’t the day you had planned while you thought of all the birthdays you would have with him. I’m sorry, but there’s no cake he’s going to smash in or no one-year photo-shoots. He’s not here to chase after so you can get the perfect picture. As you wake up this morning and imagine all those things you would do with him, don’t forget to breathe.

All those things you wanted won’t be here, but I’ll tell you the one thing that will be. It’s the force that you felt through the pain and suffering. You even felt it when he grew so forcefully in your belly. It’ll be the one thing you carry throughout the rest of your life. It’s Love.

I wish it were more. I wish it were him, but this is what you have when the day ends and you wake up the first day of year two.

You don’t have to take the whole year in one day. Celebrate his life. Remember to smile and tell everyone stories about him. Show him off and let others know that even through death your son touched the lives of so many.

For as long as you live, he will too.


Forever Jensen’s Mom

Danielle Ridgway

On April 5, 2016, Danielle’s life changed forever when her first-born son, Jensen Grey, was born asleep. Now she is learning how to live her life again by honoring her son and journeying through grief. She blogs at

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On April 5, 2016, Danielle’s life changed forever when her first-born son, Jensen Grey, was born asleep. Now she is learning how to live her life again by honoring her son and journeying through grief. She blogs at

3 thoughts on “Dear Beautiful Mother on Your Child’s First Birthday”

  1. Thank you. We are currently at Disney celebrating my sons first birthday in heaven and this post came across my feed today, one day after he was born a year ago. He lived for 4 days before succumbing to this world because he was born too soon. I needed to hear these things… Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. I am approaching the one year mark of my son Spur who was born on April 12, 2016. Every word you wrote is exactly how I feel. I am really struggling today but want to thank you for sharing and to show me that I am not alone. May God bless you!.

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