Every story of loss is different. We don’t all grieve in the same way. We deal with life in different ways.
This is my story of loss and emotional turmoil.
Many little girls dream of one day becoming a mom and raising a family of their own. In 1993, at 24 years of age, that dream became a reality when I found out I was pregnant. It was a joyous and stressful time for me, and I couldn’t wait to hold my bundle of joy. My partner at the time wasn’t very supportive.
It was a long, hot summer to be pregnant; it was hard to stay cool. I had so many thoughts, expectations and plans running through my mind. By September, the weather was cooler and I began to feel a sense of relief from the heat. My belly was beginning to grow and I was starting to feel slight movement.
On October 1, 1993, I headed out for the day. I began feeling fluttering in my belly every so often. I never thought much of it and just figured it was the baby moving. My morning continued as planned. About 11 am I had to go to the bathroom. While sitting on the toilet, I felt a gushing flow. There was blood as well. I began to panic. Did my water just break? I think I knew what was happening, but it was way too soon. I sat in the bathroom for awhile with tears in my eyes. When I finally left the bathroom, I found my partner and explained what happened. He immediately got us into the van and we headed off to the hospital.
I was taken to the maternity ward after registering. My parents were called and arrived within an hour. My head felt like it was in a haze; I could hear everyone talking but it wasn’t making sense. It was like a dream that I was trying to awaken from. The nurse told me that I would be delivering my baby and that he wouldn’t survive. After a few hours, I delivered a baby boy (Zachary Martin); he only survived an hour. I was left in a state of shock and despair.
I felt so alone.
I was given the option to hold my baby, but I couldn’t. How could I give him back knowing I would never see him again? I was told that I was horrible for not doing so. Support was what I needed, not harsh remarks. At the time, it was something I could not do, but probably would today.
I spent the night at the hospital, alone in a room. The night was sleepless as the day played over and over in my head. This would be the first of many nights awake with my thoughts of trying to understand why.
Why did this happen to me? How would I get through this?
I buried my child in a small white coffin on a cold day in November. The loss became real again, but somehow gave me closure to that part of my life.
During the next couple of months, I was a complete basket case and became quite depressed. Each night I would relive that horrible day over and over again. Nights became sleepless and I dreaded the daytime. The constant hovering drove me crazy. I just wanted to be left alone. A part of me was missing and there was nothing I could do but cry.
I began my new life and moved out on my own. I talked about what happened when and if I wanted to. I didn’t have to wake up each day to my family asking me how I was doing and continuing to talk about something I wasn’t ready to talk about. You can never forget the loss of a child, and they will forever hold a place in your heart.
Things happen for a reason… reasons we never really understand, and it tugs at our hearts and souls. For years I rarely mentioned I had a child that didn’t live long. I never felt like a mother because I never held or raised my son. I remembered, though. Every birthday, Mother’s Day and all through the year, he is and always will be on my mind.
Seventeen years later, and a few more losses in between, I became a mama to a daughter who is now 7 years old. If you have experienced a loss, you are not alone. Many know all too well what you are going through or have gone through. Don’t go through it alone; when you are ready, there is always someone willing to listen.
October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It is a day we show support to those who have had their dreams shattered by a loss through miscarriage, stillbirth or a child who has died at birth. If you would like someone to talk to, or to find resources in your community, visit October15.ca and the PAIL Network (Ontario).
Tammy (Mama Bear) is a crafty Canadian mama who loves spending time in the kitchen baking, sharing parenting tips and family fun in Toronto. Visit her and find out more at Mama Bear’s Haven.