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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

for one and all > Dreading the half-year mark

Tomorrow is the first day of February and it is a month I am absolutely dreading. All of it.

--It marks the 9th year that we've been on this journey-turned-odyssey to build our family. We began in February of 2008 and the "only" things that have changed are us, our financial status (thanks, infertility) and the fact that our only child, our Evelyn, lives in heaven instead of here with us. So, you know, everything has changed. And yet, we look around and it feels eerily the same. Year after year, time marches on. People continue to have kids and we don't. And then, blessedly, mercifully, when it's finally our turn, our beautiful girl dies. Nothing anyone will ever say will make it alright.
--February 15 will be the half-year mark of her birth.
--February 16 will be the half-year mark of her death.
--February 17 will be my 33rd birthday but instead of being my first birthday with my Evie, it will be my first without her.

Please abide with me. I'm feeling pretty abandoned by my friends and I don't feel I can get through this month on my own. I'm feeling the heavy burden of dread like a weight on my heart. How has it already been a half a year since we last saw her face, since we last held her in our arms, kissed her cheeks, said our hellos and our goodbyes? It is unfathomable. Everything hurts. And it's only the beginning.
January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Melissa,
I really want to support and encourage you to continue to let this all out and share how you are feeling...
it may feel and look ugly and messy, but I think you already know it, expressing the range of emotions is the healthiest thing you can do.

you said it is only the beginning, and I just wanted to reframe that a bit, to remind you that this beginning phase of intense grief has its own completion... its not forever that you will feel this intense pain. however, back to reality, at 6 months out, with all of what you have been thru and continue to go through, I absolutely could not agree more that this is so hard for you.

the anticipation of these hallmark anniversaries is almost worse than actually having them happen. you know my losses were years ago, but goddam it, every time the months or march and October roll around, I am agitated at that core level, and the gloom and dread come over me- there is no way out of it. its just a fucking shitty side effect of trauma. when the months pass, it is like a fog slipping away silently. the dread of anticipation is subtle but so think and heavy!

I also want to tell you how much I do understand the pain you are having in addition to losing evelyn... the infertility adds such a horrible layer to everything you have gone thru... endless daily triggers. I found that coping with the dark side of infertility was much more difficult (for me, personally, in my own experience) than even going thru the grieving processes of my daughter and son's deaths. getting thru daily activities was so difficult sometimes, it is hard to explain it to regular people. seeing babies. hearing babies. commercials on TV. family, friends, peers. nothing is safe. it just seeps in and totally sucks. however, as mentioned above, there will be a resolution to this kind of infertility pain, in whatever way it may come to you... please know that. there is no point wondering what the resolution will be right now- but when it comes, the deliverance will come along with it. it is so cliché, but taking one day at a time is golden. I would wake up and think "just get me thru this day" to no one in particular.

I don't know... nothing I write is going to change anything. I do care, and I will abide with you in this dark time. you're going to get passed them. I think I may have just stopped celebrating or marking my own birthdays in my late 30's the height of loss and infertility for me. from the way outside, I can see a beauty of this upcoming birthday for you- the first as a mom. I know that sounds like the suckiest consolation prize ever, but evelyn made you a mom whether she is with you or not. I know, it still fucking sucks. I hope that you and your husband can mark the days in ways that will mean something to you both. just do what you have to do.

you're in my thoughts, evelyn too.
January 31, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterss
Oh Melissa, I'm so sorry your Evie isn't here and is instead in heaven. 6 months is another wave of HARD!!! I remember it clearly, where everyone else seems to have gone about their lives. Certain "friends" hadn't contacted me in those 6 months and I let them go. The ones that had been there for me had busy lives and 'problems' of their own. It was lonely and isolating and I remember thinking I felt as low as I did when Shelby first died- things weren't getting easier, I just felt as broken (if not more so) than when I first lost her.

Please feel whatever you need to feel, lean on us here, vent as much as you need, do whatever you can to get through the days. And......hard as it is to do this........ please try to keep in the back of your mind that how you feel now is NOT how you will feel forever. It helped me to look at it scientifically and know that the connections in my brain would not go the way they were going then forever. That my heart wouldn't tighten as often and I wouldn't be overwhelmed as easily. It's so so hard at 6 months but please know that it will ebb and flow and I promise it won't be like this forever.

We are here. x
January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum
Melissa,

Post as often as you'd like. I'm sure I'm not the only one who watches these Glow boards like a hawk and would be glad to respond any time. Feel free to spill all your thoughts, including the ones that feel ugly, circular, repetitive, or even hateful and bitter. I hit the 6-month mark not long ago, and it was rough. So was my birthday, around the same time. Like ss mentioned, for me the anticipation was as bad or worse than the actual day. I also wasn't sure which day(s) exactly to consider the anniversaries, since my girl's birth and death were a day apart. And they happened on a Sunday and Monday, but then the 6-month mark for those same dates were on a Monday and Tuesday... so I actually felt myself slipping into the sad nostalgia on the Sunday around 6 months even though the date wasn't quite there, and... you get the idea. The whole 6-month PHASE was hard, not even just the day of the week or the date on the calendar. It's all so incredibly messed up. My baby was born at 41 weeks, so every anniversary of her birth and death is also a reminder to me of how old she would really be if she had lived. She was ready to be born, and then she died right as it happened. It's so hard.

I understand the feelings of abandonment also. I know friends feel like they're "there for me," but they're not reaching out in the same way as before - and even when/if they do, I don't feel they can handle the darkness of my thoughts. And I KNOW they cannot relate, so there's always a bitterness on my end as I even attempt to describe what I feel, while knowing they don't have to really "get it," and can't, and meanwhile can carry on with their normal lives and their live children. It's not fair.

Melissa, I'm so sorry for your pain, and I know it well. I'm actually on a "vacation" right now and stayed up late looking at pictures of my beautiful girl on my phone, silently sobbing in bed next to my husband as he slept. I'm 8 months into this, and it's rough. I do have moments where I find myself being interested in aspects of my former life again. But the cloud of defeat and darkness never really leaves, even if I can see glimpses of my old self through it from time to time. This is the cruelest thing; I never would have imagined just how bad it can get.

Hugs to you, sweet mama. Please continue to post on here. We'll abide with you. xoxo
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNM