Finding Happiness For Others

I’ve always thought of myself as a genuine and empathetic person.  In fact, I still find that to be true.  However, after the loss of my daughter something shifted in me and while I don’t like it, I haven’t got to the point where I can control or change it, or at least, I’m not ready to.

While I always strive to be genuinely and enthusiastically happy for those around me especially during the exciting moments in their lives, I’ve found it overwhelming difficult to truly share in others joy when announcing their pregnancies- even more so when their gender announcement reveals they’re expecting a girl.

While I’m not proud of this, I believe recognizing it is important in my healing process.  I know I certainly want to share in others joy and not just feign my happiness for them, but I can’t help but feel slighted when I realize I too experienced that sheer happiness, just to have it followed with the worst imaginable pain.   I want to scream, “It’s not fair”, but am forced to remind myself that nothing is ever promised and life is anything but fair.    I face this constant battle between being emotional and rational.  My emotional side gets upset, even if only a little, when others are announcing the pregnancies or the birth of their baby girls.  My emotional side feels pained when I see other mothers posting their baby bumps- especially week 28 as I’m forced to remember my daughter was just over 28 weeks when I both delivered and lost her.   My emotional side feels angry when I see moms publicly complaining about the trials of motherhood because I would do anything to hear my daughter cry or be up all night holding and soothing her.

It’s my rational side that always intervenes.  I have to remind myself that they too are entitled to their moments – their moments of joy and excitement and also their moments of weakness and fatigue.

My rational side realizes I am being irrational and bitter, but it’s then in those moments, I need to remind myself that I too am allowed to be imperfect.  I am entitled to grief.  I am entitled to my feelings and my loss.  And grief is anything but perfect.  It is immeasurable.  It is inconsistent.  At times, it is uncontrollable.   But, I have come to realize that while I cannot control my grief, I can control myself.

While I realize, I have come a long way in my grief, I also realize that I will never truly “move on” from the loss of my daughter.   I can only allow myself to heal and try to find some balance between my emotions and my thoughts.  I know in time, there will be a day when I will truly find myself overjoyed for another mother and family.  In the meantime, I take solace in remembering I am a bereaved mother.  I am imperfect.  I am human and I am healing.

Ashleigh McDonald

Ashleigh McDonald

I’m 28 and live in Providence, RI. I work in marketing specializing in social media and creative content.Quinn Beverly is my only child, whom I lost unexpectedly around my 8th month of pregnancy ultimately due to heart failure.I have a 3 year old collie/shepherd mix named Athena who keeps me plenty busy in my off-time.I eagerly look forward to football season every year- go Pats!I spend my time with family, friends and try to give back in Quinn’s memory whenever I can.I carry her memory with me every day and have been vocal on my personal social media channels about both her life and my struggles.By being open and vulnerable, my hopes are to removethe stigma surrounding infant loss while also hopefully helping others who have also suffered a similar loss.
Ashleigh McDonald

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I’m 28 and live in Providence, RI. I work in marketing specializing in social media and creative content. Quinn Beverly is my only child, whom I lost unexpectedly around my 8th month of pregnancy ultimately due to heart failure. I have a 3 year old collie/shepherd mix named Athena who keeps me plenty busy in my off-time. I eagerly look forward to football season every year- go Pats! I spend my time with family, friends and try to give back in Quinn’s memory whenever I can. I carry her memory with me every day and have been vocal on my personal social media channels about both her life and my struggles. By being open and vulnerable, my hopes are to remove the stigma surrounding infant loss while also hopefully helping others who have also suffered a similar loss.

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