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glow in the woods

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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 > Instead

The thoughts in my mind are usually dark and angry. Not about how it happened, but the what. I cannot believe this is how my life turned out. I want to have children so bad. I want to be a mom so bad and it happened, but instead of holding my boys here on this earth, instead I get to think of them in heaven. On good days I can think of how lucky I am, how fortunate I was to bury them and hold them for a short time.
ButI often think of how angry I am. How little things annoy me to know end, how bitter I've become. I have happiness for pregnant women and my friends who are having their babies, but I long for it to be me. I wish I could emphasize my instead...
Instead of a baby shower, I had a funeral. I received hundreds of cards and gifts for my sons, with their names engraved in trinkets and memory boxes, instead of tiny outfits and boxes of diapers.
Instead of cradling my babies in my arm to feed them and sing them to sleep, I have their names tattooed in black ink where their tiny heads rested for their short time here on earth.
Instead of a diaper bag, I carry a cemetery bag, complete with flower clippers and a blanket for nice weather, instead of teething rings and wipes.
Instead of baby talk, I pray to Heaven.
Instead of congratulations, I hear apologies.
I am the other kind of mother. The instead. Instead of babies, I carry pain.
February 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
Stephanie, I am so very sorry. I feel your pain. I also lost my son, he was born 3 months ago today. Beautifully written poem.
February 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCristiane
I think the exact same thing about the cemetery bucket instead of a nappy bag..

Instead of sudocream on my hands I have the smell of cigarettes..
Instead of taking my baby to get her vaccines or to mothers group I have to walk in to the same building, pass all the newborn posters, to the office where I work..
Instead of fussing over our baby, bonding as a couple while giving her a bath and getting her ready for bed, we have dinner, sit on each corner of the lounge and both play/ look at our phones..
Instead of cuddling my baby I cuddle a pink f*cking teddy bear while I try to go to sleep, ready to wake up and be slapped in the face again by this harsh reality of child loss.

I'm so sorry Stephanie, please know that you are not alone. You are a beautiful mum who was cheated, just like me and the rest of us here.
February 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTilly's mum
Oh can I ever relate to this. 9 years on this journey to build our family, 5.5 months following the loss of our only child, and the insteads are all-consuming. The otherness I feel is almost too much to bear at times. Instead of the life we had planned for, wished for, waited and tried and tried for, we have a life without our daughter. So many people say, "she'll always be in your hearts" but we don't want her in our hearts, we want her in our arms. I often wonder how satisfied these same people would be if they had to settle for all of the insteads we have been dealt. How they'd cope if they had to settle for a child in their hearts instead of in their arms.

Wishing us all peace in our hearts, however it may come to us.
February 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Oh Melissa I really feel for you.

People always say that to me too, and that she'll never be forgotten, and I think the same, "I want to be mothering her on earth!'. Sometimes I feel as if I 'made her up' or something. I think the insteads are really hard to live with, the first month or so after Tilly died all I kept thinking was that she should be sleeping in her bassinet and she will cry soon, I would even check, I was so proud when I brought that bassinet and would play pretend before she was born.

Hey and if we ever forget what a mother to a living baby does, we're reminded by everyone around us with babies. It sucks and is not fair and I don't know how any of us stay sane and go back to our old lives when we really don't want to we want to be mothering our babies on earth.
February 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTilly's mum