This May be a Manual

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Told by: Uli

You may consider this a manual how to treat a mom who just lost a baby, who had a stillbirth, or you may just read it to share my personal pain.

Please don’t ask me how I am doing. There is no good answer. I can try to smile (but mostly choke back tears) and say good or okay, but it’s a lie. I can be honest and say horrible, still choking back tears, but you really don’t want to hear that. No, I am not okay. I am in agony, I couldn’t have imagined 7 days ago. It hurts so bad.

Crying doesn’t help, or maybe it does, but it doesn’t feel like it. I am hurting emotionally, my heart is empty, there is a huge hole. I am hurting physically, I just gave birth 7 days ago. My boobs hurt, my body hurts, my back hurts, my eyes are burning. I am sleep deprived. It’s exhausting to cry so much.

If you did ask me how I am doing, don’t feel bad. I would have asked the exact same question before going through this. If you tell me you are sorry, I appreciate it. I am blessed by your kindness and support and prayers. There is an elephant in the room, in any room I am in right now. The elephant is Maya. She will be with me always, but right now it’s a huge elephant I can’t ignore. I can pretend it’s not there; I can order toys for my sons, make a photo book because I have a free code, go to the store because they have a sale, but any moment that elephant can become front and center and I may cry. Not because of something you said or did, just because I am in pain.

If you hug me, I appreciate it, I really do, but I may still cry. I want to talk about my daughter. I want to talk about how she was born, and how she died. I want to talk about how she looked, so tiny and perfect, and wonderfully made. I want to show people her picture. I want to share her birth story. I want to buy a locket so I can have her picture close to my heart. I want to hold her and never let go. I want to stop crying. I wish I knew her eye color.

Linus thinks she had green eyes, which is very unlikely. He thinks we should have named her Wild Styles, like the girl from the Lego Movie. I want to finish her nursery. I want to never open the door to her room again. I don’t want to talk about her. I just want to ignore and deny this ever happened. I don’t want anybody to ever see her photos. I want the next year to get here, to see if time really heals, because I can’t imagine. I hope time will heal. I want to rewind time and go back to March 18th and be happy and pregnant.

If you ask me what I did last weekend, I might answer: “I ordered my daughter’s urn.” You don’t want to hear that answer. It’s not fair to you.

I am blessed by wonderful nurses and a wonderful midwife. My midwife’s 9 year old son died last year. I can’t even fathom the pain she must be going through. I want to be there for my boys, every moment of the day. I want to spoil them. I want to buy legos for them. I want to put my everything into them, but I still have to be their mother, who disciplines them and tells them no when they ask for a second dessert, or if they misbehave.

I am so blessed having two healthy boys. I am worried about my older son. He has wet his bed two nights in a row. He has been completely potty trained since age 3, including night time. I don’t know if it’s related to his baby sister dying, or staying up late playing with his legos. I am worried about my younger son. He doesn’t understand the permanence of death. He started bawling yesterday. He asked when his baby sister was coming home. I told him that she is not coming, and he just started crying. It broke my heart.

I want to be strong for them, but also vulnerable for them. They both say we can have another baby girl. It’s okay for them to say that. It helps them. It’s not okay for adults to say that to me.

I am so blessed having my husband who is walking this journey with me. I wish I could help him more in his grief. I want my friends to ask me to go to the park for a playdate with the boys, but I think they are scared, because they realize I am not good company right now. I can’t participate in small talk. I am not fun to be around. I want to stay home and close the door and watch TV with the boys all day long. I am so blessed having a small group who cares for us.

I dread checking the mail, because there may be another condolence letter. But I love reading every one of them, even if they make me cry.

It’s not okay to tell me “it wasn’t meant to be.” What does that mean? I am blessed by my son’s wonderful preschool and the teachers there. They have been so kind.

My house is a mess. But who cares if there are crumbs on the kitchen floor. I am blessed by wonderful co-workers who are willing to jump in and cover my class. I dread going back to school in a few weeks. What will I tell my students? I would love to get my hair cut. I have been meaning to get it cut for weeks now. But I can’t imagine making small talk with the hair dresser.

I am feeding the kids sandwiches or chicken nuggets every day. And that’s okay for now. I would love it if people brought us food. But I am scared. If they get here, and my husband is not home, and they are kind to me, I will cry. If you ring the door bell, I may not answer. If you call, I may not answer. If you text or email, I may or may not answer.

I am blessed.

And I am in unbearable pain.

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  1. Jennifer Ham says:

    Heidi, I am so sorry for your loss and your heartache. Your writing speaks the truth of this nightmare. The wanting to talk about her, and not, the things that are okay to hear, then not… I feel/felt this same way. It will be three years since we lost our daughter in April. I can’t say that this pain is something you get over, it’s something that you get through. May peace be with you. XOXO


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