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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 > A boy named Riyad

I'm having a hard day, or week, or maybe the beginning of a hard month.

The most difficult part about this grieving process is not just the guilt that I constantly cycle through. It's the fact that I had a baby, a full-term baby, I loved him, and he died inside of me. The fact that I can't celebrate my baby in public the way that people celebrate their living children. I can't constantly talk about Riyad and how beautiful he was, or how much love I felt when I saw him, but everyone else can talk about their infants and the milestones they constantly hit.

I got a tattoo, Riyad's name, on my back two days ago. My husband got it with me. It was wonderful and lifted my spirits temporarily because I got to keep a piece of him with me, forever.

I don't really know what I'm trying to say...I guess I would just really like whoever is reading this to remember my son today. To think about him for one minute. And I will think about all of your beautiful, wonderful, incredible babies, who are deeply loved and missed, and gone much too soon.
March 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
Nada, I am holding your son in my heart. Your beautiful Riyad. I understand what you are feeling -- I too got a tattoo of my Evelyn's name on my body in December and though it doesn't change what is, I like knowing it's there and cannot be taken from me, as she was. I understand wanting to share your child but feeling as though it would be unwelcome. I wish I could put a picture of my daughter up at work like other parents do but I know it would make my coworkers uncomfortable. I wish I could talk about the newest thing she is doing, the milestones she is reaching or surpassing, share her photos with the world without fear of feeling the "otherness" that pervades my soul, the "otherness" that separates me from most everyone else in my life. You are not alone. Riyad, I am thinking of you sweet, precious boy. Your mama Nada loves you so much.
Sending love to you and your family.
March 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Nada, I'm thinking of your Riyad right now. xoxo
March 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew's Mom
Nada, We lost our children within a few weeks of each other, I think of my daughter Eleanor at almost all moments. I think of Riyad and how much you love him too. There is a calmness in just loving them. Wishing us all peace xxx
March 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKE
Yes, I will think of your son Riyad. I will remember that all of this pain and loss is not because you are being weird or a drama queen or anything, but because your son died. Because he was here and alive and loved and now his is gone and dead and loved. I will remember that whenever you mention him.

I will remember that when any of you mention your children. That they are real, and really loved and missed. That there is more to their story than loss.

I read that the word "Riyad" translates as garden. How did you pick that name, Nada? What does it mean to you?
March 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.
Nada,

I think of you and Riyad often. It's very, very cruel and difficult to go through each day without our living children... especially when everyone around us gets to keep theirs. I see you, and I recognize your grief and acknowledge your pain.

Love to you and precious Riyad.
March 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNM
nada,
this is absolutely one of the hardest parts about living beyond such a tragedy-
to have our words and feelings censored by the tragedy itself.
its hard to talk about our babies, to find the right words to say, or to say them without crying or having words start to break up from the unexpected emotional tsunami that can come when we actually have the rare opportunity to talk about them...
and its hard for others to hear about anything related to death and loss.
its also so hard to keep it pent up inside. I live with this years later, because I continue to love and miss my daughter and son,
that never goes away, but talking about them is nearly impossible at this point.
I come and read and write here for this very reason- I can share and listen and never feel like I am making someone feel awkward, and if I cry while writing, no one knows but me, and even if you could see me crying, you would totally get it.

riyad is a gorgeous name. I know absolutely how much you loved being pregnant with him, and how much you love him now... it was the same for me. I think you should go ahead and share as much about him as you want to here... I have done this before and it has helped...
no one knows what my babies looked like or how I loved them, and sometimes when I write out the words, it is so freeing, like ripping the duct tape off my mouth and just singing out loud about my beautiful kids that died before they even got born.

here's a bit about my daughter coral...
she had a beautiful, pouty and full lower lip. round rosy cheeks. her arms were long and soft, and her fingernails were like tiny pink shells.
her nursery was set up with pastel ocean creatures, her middle name, rose, was after my dad's mom's middle name. she weighed 7 and a half pounds. i threw up when i was in labor with her. we were keeping the sex of the baby a surprise until she was born, and when we found out she was a girl, it felt like my heart expanded and shattered at the same time. she is buried in a pair of yellow giraffe pajamas that my aunt gave us at the baby shower. she would be 12 this year. there so much i never knew about her, but i like filling in the blanks and fantasizing about how she would be... what color her eyes were (i guess blue), her favorite foods (i think spicy- not a picky eater) if she liked to play soccer (i think so.).

and about my son anton...
he was born early, so he only weighted 3 pounds... but long and lean and absolutely perfect. a little prince. seriously, his little features were absolute perfection. i like imagining him growing up and conquering the world with beauty and compassion. i can't bear the idea that he really died, he feels so real to me, 8 years later on. i was so scared when i was pregnant with him, and his little growing self was one of the only things that calmed me down and brought me peace, knowing that he was inside me and we had a relationship already.

i always love reading about other parents descriptions and stories about their babies who died. i would love to hear about riyad, if you ever want to share about him here. to be truthful, sometimes i can't talk about my babies... i like to keep them safe in my heart and silent to the world, because sharing them can actually bring on a lot of hurt. writing about coral's little fingernails, it leads to a lot of other painful memories... but the experience overall of being able to share about her is good, even with the sadness of missing her and the memories of her death.

thinking of you nada, and of course, your riyad.
March 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterss
I'm remembering Riyad with you today, Nada. I know exactly this feeling. It is so unfair to feel so censored in our love for our children, and for them to be denied as children, as real babies who - until they died - had just as much life ahead of them as any other baby ever did.

ss, I love your descriptions of Coral and Anton. I'm just reading quickly on my lunch and might come back here later to write more about my girl, my Anja.

Sending some love out this afternoon to all our beautiful, loved, perfect babies. xoxo
Dear Nada,

I have been reading all your posts, and that of so many others, and I always identify with every word you write. I come onto this forum and the rest of the site many times during the day since we lost our perfect son Raspberry at 37 weeks and 5 days on December 4th. I cling to each parent's story and find moments of comfort to know that I am not nuts for feeling this passion for a baby I only knew for less than 9 months and that I didn't get to introduce to our world. On some days like today, even while still feeling wracked with guilt, deep dark sadness, and growing fear about the future, it still doesn't feel real, which is made worse by this inability to incorporate our children into our lives the way that others with living children are able to. One of my first impulses too was to get a tattoo although I haven't yet figured out what exactly to have done. But I understand the longing to mark our bodies with signs of our child, to make some permanent outward sign. My linea nigra is quickly fading now. My body looks like it did at this time last year. I sometimes wonder if when people look at me they see the sadness in my eyes or the heaviness of grief in my heart; they certainly don't act like it, so there must be nothing visible anymore, which kills me. One of my colleagues last week said to me that "it's time to get back on the horse." I wanted to tell her that my horse is gone, it ran away when I lost my baby. That otherness that Melissa talks about is so isolating. And the grief is so harsh, gripping, lonely. And the longing-- for Raspberry, for an earlier time, for the kicks, for the anticipation and hope for the future-- so palpable.

Love to each of you, mamas. Holding you and your dear, precious, loved, missed children--Riyad, Evelyn, Eleanor, Coral, Anton, Anjya-- in my heart along with our Raspberry.
March 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteph
Thinking of Riyad and his beautiful mom.
March 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCristiane
I am going to write a longer post to everyone soon, but wow, thank you everyone. This is the most supportive group of wonderful people I've found in this horrific journey. I truly feel a sense of companionship I can't get in my ordinary life with the losses of our babies.

Thinking of Evelyn, Eleanor, Coral, Anton, Anjya, and Raspberry. Thank you Cristiane, Steph, JLD, ss, NM, Jill A, KE, Matthews Mom, and Melissa. You are all so wonderful and so are your beloved babies.
March 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
Melissa, the tattoos really help. It's so comforting to think that I have a piece of Riyad with me everywhere and you have a piece of your Evelyn with you, forever. I wish I could put up Riyad's picture at work, too. Thank you for letting me know that you feel the same, it helps me to know I am not alone in all of this grieving and mourning and yearning.

Matthew's mom, thank you, I will be thinking of Matthew today as well and I'm wishing you peace.

KE, I am sorry for the loss of your Eleanor. The grief is so so raw right now. It's less raw than when it first happened, but still, some days I feel like I'm still fresh from the hospital, full of pain. I think about Riyad all the time too. Thinking of Eleanor.

Jill A., thank you for helping me realize my grief is normal. I'm not being a drama queen. I saw many of my in-laws on Sunday, who I haven't seen for months, and they primarily preferred acting like everything is just fine and dandy and my son didn't die. Except for a few people, who were excited about my tattoo, and were mentioning me getting pregnant again with a rainbow, and how exciting that will be. Either way nobody really validated my grief, or understood the fact that I am still deeply grieving, now more than ever. I have made a friend with a woman who also had a stillborn son and she is the most helpful person throughout all of this. She understands completely, she reminds me that my son died, and it's not just some trivial thing I need to "get over." She reminds me that I'm doing well, because my son died and I am still functioning. I named my son Riyad after my dad. My dad passed away three years ago from cancer. Riyad was going to be the first grandchild of the family. So I thought it was fitting to name him after my dad. I didn't think he was going to die. It now aches extra, and adds onto my grief, the namesake. If he had lived, it would have been a beautiful way to remember my dad. Now they are together, I suppose.

NM, it's very very cruel. I hate every day that passes by without my son, and I am so sorry for you and your baby as well.

ss, thank you for writing and sharing the details about your beautiful Coral and Anton. I love Coral's name, she sounds like a gorgeous baby, and her nursery with the sea creatures sounded wonderful as well. Anton, your little prince, he sounds like a perfectly handsome boy. I had the same nickname for Riyad, too, my little prince. His baby shower was actually Prince themed, with custom cookies and mini cakes, and I printed off games with a baby wearing a crown. Riyad was 6 lbs and 12 oz, and beautiful as well. He had his dad's lips, but full like mine, and he had my fingers and toes. He had a round face but prominent features, and my thin nose. He was the perfect mixture of my husband and I. Alot of black hair, which I was happy to see, because the heartburn I had towards my third trimester was for a good reason. I had a little prince outfit for him to go home in. I never got to put him in it, I was in too much shock at the hospital to even register until later I wanted to bury him in it. He was 20 inches long. I am short and petite so I was stunned to see such I was pregnant with a pretty long baby. Thank you for letting me write about him, and sharing your children with us, too....it does tug at my heartstrings, and make me sad, but it's nice to talk about him as well.

JLD, thank you. I am so sorry for your sweet Anja. Yes, it's not fair at all. I feel like his life was cut so unjustly short. People used to joke about him to be while I was pregnant with him, talk about how much he must be kicking because he's a boy and they are so active, about how it's so lovely to have sons and how close they are to their mothers. Then when he died, all of that just stopped. It's hard to have that sudden stop in talking about so many joyful things, planning for so many things, planning to meet our babies. The absence is just awful.

Steph, I am sorry for the loss of your Raspberry. It's so unfair. You are a month behind me in this grief journey, I lost Riyad November 4th. The grief must be still so raw for you, because every month is a big difference, at least it is with me. It's still painful for me but a little bit numbed from the intensity of the first three months. Yes, Riyad's death still doesn't seem real to me sometimes. I know how you feel about that. I think when I suddenly have horrible bouts of grief, which I had yesterday, it's just the reality sinking in more that he's gone. I hate that my body almost looks the same, too. I still have some baby weight I need to shed, and I got stretchmarks with Riyad's pregnancy. But honestly, I don't regret that I got them, because they remind me of him. If I am grateful for anything lasting on my body from him, anything to remind me of him. My coworkers don't see the despair I feel either. They don't see any of that. Sometimes I want to grab one of them and shake them and tell them that my son is dead, can't they see that, and to leave me alone. But I don't. I just carry on. And sometimes it feels better, being busy. The longing is very deep. I wish I could go back in time, to the day before Riyad died, and make different choices. But I dont know if it would have helped. And it probably wouldn't have. From what I've heard from so many people, even when going to the hospital and catching their children in distress, it still wasn't enough...so there was probably no way to change any of our situations and no use torturing ourselves over that. But it's easier said than done. I hope you are finding some peace.
March 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
Oh, Nada! I am so sorry about your Dad. That hurts, too. Having the name a connection between them is special. Hard, damn hard, but special. Lots of love in that name for you, isn't there? I'm glad you have a friend you can talk with who understands, though it is sad she too has a child who died. It is nice to not have to watch what you say or how you say it sometimes. I get so tired of trying to explain, of trying to not appear odd. Peace to you, Nada.
March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.
Nada,
I too feel despair over the fact that talking about our babies is stifled in a way that is not so for people whose children have not died. We lost our second son a couple of years back and now have a third. People said things like, "Congrats, now you have two boys." People that know about our Bobby. Well, people don't get it unless they've been there. We have three boys, and it seems like most people would prefer to forget Bobby. I think of him everyday in many ways and miss him so much.
I feel guilt about our full term baby suffering an injury inside of me (cord accident) that caused his death three days after his birth. Even though I tried to do everything right through the pregnancy and would have given anything to prevent this outcome. I feel a lot of guilt about the way he was hooked up to machines, a lot of sadness still. I miss him. I never got counseling for it but am thinking of doing so now two and a half years out.
Love to all of you,
Em
March 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEm
Jill A., thank you. I have grieved my father for a good three years and I believe I have finally moved past the grief, and into peace with his death. That was before my son died. I think about my father still, and I use him to motivate me through my grief as he was a very positive and hardworking person, despite having cancer. So I try to emulate his positive attitude as much as I can. Yes, it's sad about my friend who also had a stillbirth. Her baby's death actually is what made us friends. She heard about it with me, and she reached out to me a few weeks after that. And it is definitely nice not having to censor myself or talk about any topics other than our deceased sons. She just gets it, which not many people do, apart from here at Glow.

Em, I am so sorry for the loss of your Bobby. I hate that. I know I am going to get that if I have a rainbow baby, "how does it feel to be a mom?" Well, I already am a mom...
I sometimes don't even want to mention Riyad in front of my friends and relatives, because they will say something stupid. So I keep him mostly to myself and whoever mentions him, or other moms who have had losses and understand. I am sorry that you still feel guilt about Bobby's death. Please know you had no control over a cord accident. I have been going to therapy once a week and it helps IMMENSELY. I was having a really rough period this past week about guilt and blaming myself over my son's death, which they believe was a placental abruption. I was feeling so guilty about the fact that I noticed there was a lack of fetal movement but I went in the next day...and it was too late. I kept beating myself up for not having gone in sooner. My therapist had me draw a timeline, with a bar between "Before" and "After." She had me write everything that I was led to believe before the bar--that my pregnancy was uncomplicated and normal, that I never had any serious scares, that I always went into L&D for little worries and everything was just fine, that the doctors were talking to me about packing my hospital bag and getting the carseat ready for baby. The bar represents Riyad's death, and the trauma that happened. The "After" is everything I knew AFTER Riyad's death, that I didn't and couldn't possibly have known before. Things like Placental Abruption, that he was in distress and it was too late, that there was no way I could have saved him in time, that it happened too quickly. This helped me a lot because it was a visualization of what I knew before my son's death and what I know after. Our brains try to apply what we learned after to the before, to make it seem like we knew everything and magically could have known our babies were in distress. But that isn't what happened. We had NO reason to know that our babies would ever be in distress, with the knowledge we had at the time: great pregnancies, no reason to panic about anything, especially so close to the due date.
So therapy is really helping me, because I was very stuck with blaming myself and I feel myself beginning to shift away from it...but it takes so much time and effort.
March 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada