I recently lost my third child. It was another miscarriage. It happened only days after I saw the positive lines on the pregnancy test. I woke up one morning and started bleeding. I spent a day in the emergency room, praying that it wasn’t true, hoping that I wasn’t losing my third baby. But, I was told that unfortunately my hCg levels were only at a 3, indicating that I had suffered a “chemical miscarriage.”
I didn’t tell too many people. It happened in July, and still not very many people know about the existence of my third baby. I’m left with guilt — why was I so willing to talk about William and my first angel baby, but not this one? Does this one matter less because I didn’t get a chance to spend as long with him/her? No, definitely not. But I am still hesitant to share this baby with the world.
A few trusted souls know about the existence of this child, my third child. But I’m left wondering why I don’t share the news with others. Why haven’t I told my parents or some of my close friends? Is it because I fear their judgment? Is it because I don’t want their sympathy? Is it because I can’t accept the fact that my body rejected another life, a third time?
Today I was talking to someone who told me they thought I was wallowing in my grief. That I needed to let go. That I needed to move on. And it made me furious. I tried to explain that the pain of losing a child is not something you ever get over. It’s not something that you can just move on from. Your child is not someone who you will ever forget.
And I realized maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s the reason why I am so hesitant to share my third child with some people. These people have put a timeline on my grief. They have told me that it’s okay to be sad, but only for a certain period of time. They don’t send cards on my son’s birthday because they don’t want to stir up old wounds.
They don’t understand that grief is never ending. It doesn’t mean I stay sad forever or that I’m wallowing in self-pity. Grief means that I will forever miss and love my children. All of them. I will always wonder who they would be. Others don’t understand that by sending cards on my children’s birthdays, they are showing me that they remember them and love them.
So, maybe that’s why I’ve been hesitant to share my third child with the world. I’m afraid the world won’t understand my pain. That the world won’t remember my child with me. That the world will only allow me a specified amount of time to be sad, to grieve this lost life. And it’s easier for me to forgive the world if they don’t know about this child. If they don’t know about this child, I can’t hold it against them for failing to acknowledge birthdays/anniversaries. If they don’t know this child, I can grieve privately. I can choose to tell the people who will listen, who won’t judge me for not moving on as quickly as they think I should.
Mourning a lost life is not easy. It takes bravery to face a world that puts a time limit on grief. I feel like I’m missing that bravery right now. Not because I don’t love my third child any less than my first two children. But because the world has shushed me. I’m tired of that world. So, I’m taking the first step. I’m sharing my third child with you — my trusted audience. And maybe, someday — a day when my tender heart does not feel the need to stay so protected — I will share him/her with everyone.
Stay brave, Still Mothers. Stay brave for me and for others like me. Keep talking about your children and sharing them with the world. Part of me feels like a hypocrite to encourage you to do this. But by talking and by sharing, you encourage me and others like me to do the same. Your stories, your precious children’s stories, are helping to break the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding grief. Together, let’s show the world that our love for our children will never die.