“Guilt. It’s a feeling you wouldn’t expect by looking at this picture, but as a parent who has lost a child, it’s something I’ve struggled with for years. When I see this picture, I see a pregnant woman filled with happiness. Not a heartbroken mother who was days away from losing two of her babies.
Hope. Excitement. Beautiful. There are so many emotions a woman feels during pregnancy. Your life forever changes that first time you hear their heartbeat and there’s a glow as your body transforms, making room for a tiny human to grow within you.
But for so many of us, life doesn’t go as planned.
After years of infertility, my husband and I were ecstatic to be expecting triplets. I had scrolled through dozens of pictures announcing pregnancies over the years, envious of other couples that were expanding their families. Finally, it was our turn. But, the pregnancy bliss was shattered when I went into labor at 22 weeks gestation. Within two hours of birth, our first daughter passed away. 55 days later, our son died in our arms. In less than two months, two of our children were gone. We were not supposed to be planning funerals. A child should outlive their parents, not the other way around.
Broken. Lost. Lonely. It’s an unfortunate reality for women like me, who were given the gift of life, only to watch it disappear before our eyes. We could picture our children growing up, playing sports and giggling with their siblings. But our reality is a far cry from our dreams. We now look through pictures and possibly videos, only a few memories with our child that will have to last a lifetime.
And in our darkest moments, guilt creeps up through our grief. On the nights when our mind starts racing, we wonder, what could I have done differently? We lie awake in a pool of tears, wondering how our lives could go on without our baby. The day our children passed away, a little piece of our heart also died. But while life feels like it’s at a standstill, the world around us continues.
That’s what life is like for a grieving mother.
But there is hope. In time, you learn to smile again. You learn to laugh again. You learn to love again. You never get over the loss of your child, but eventually, you learn to move forward. You have to find a way. For yourself. For your family.
To the mothers who have experienced a loss, don’t let guilt consume you. Society expects us to be quiet and to move on, to sweep our losses under a rug. But the moment you first saw that heartbeat, you became a mother. And you will always be their mother.
On the days when guilt tries to sneak in, I look up to sky and smile. My babies may not be in my arms, but they will always be in my heart. My children have shaped who I am today, giving me the strength to once again find joy in life.”
This story was written by Stacey Skrysak, an award winning television journalist based in Illinois. You can follow her on Facebook. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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