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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 little light, followed by the darkness

I haven't had many really bright, light, happy days yet since losing our son Raspberry 3 and a half months ago. I crave them so badly. But yesterday was actually an OK day, maybe because I took it as a day off after having worked all weekend. I exercised, I ate three real meals, I did some reading, I talked to a couple of friends, I walked outside, and I did just a little work. But today I find myself knocked way down. I have that pain in my chest again. I don't want to face the day. I don't want this reality. I want our baby and the life we had imagined. I want to be pregnant again. It is so unfair.

Do you find that you have lower lows after you've had momentary relief? I wish there was a way to soften the fall. How do you get back up again? I want to climb back into the temporary comfort I felt yesterday. What I really want is to claw my way back to who I was before we lost Raspberry, back to the resilient, hopeful, confident woman I was. She is lost.
March 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteph
Dear Steph,

I am so sorry you had to lose your little Raspberry. It is so unfair! We lost our son Arav a year ago and I will never stop missing him.

When I think back to the time when I was only 3.5 months out from his death I remember that I thought I was doing so much better than in the very early weeks, but now I realize that I was still in a haze. When grieving, especially when it is still so raw, it takes so much energy to just function (get up, take a shower, go to work, talk to people) that I was completely exhausted after faking a "normal" day. Yes, those feel good and are a wonderful relief, but they are EXHAUSTING! I think in my case the lower lows you are speaking of are the physical and emotional result of spending a lot of energy on something that was normal before. I don't know if I have advice for you. It sounds like you are doing awesome considering your circumstances.

This is how I try to deal with the ups and downs: Now, a year out (except for the lead-up to the anniversary) I am feeling ok most days and can do my job properly, but I still need regular days off and alone time to recover from intense work or social activities. I love having people over, for example, but it still tires me a lot. I try to plan for regular breaks, because I have learned that I need them. When I get tired or overwhelmed at work I find a quiet spot (even in my car if nothing else is available). When I have guests over I schedule dinner early enough that I have time to relax before I go to bed. When we have guests for a few days in our home I make sure that I get some time alone every day and let myself off the hook from playing the entertainer for a week. I simply can’t do it anymore. I don’t necessarily tell them the true reason, but it helps to give myself permission not to be the 24/7 hostess. I try not to schedule too many activities on the weekends. I work hard on staying in touch with friends who are important to me and cut back on people who are not a positive force in my life. This might sound crude, but basically, I decided on a no-bullshit policy for my life after Arav died. Part of that happens anyway as we are getting older, I guess, but especially while going through such a hard time, I have started to allow myself to take control over who gets my now very precious time and energy and who can wait. I hope that I am not unkind when making those decisions.

I also try to give myself time and permission to actively grieve. It seems to help to set aside time for that and then have a conscious transition back to “normal” life. It helps me to light a candle when I want to think about Arav. We still have a onesie in our bed to cuddle. It helps to set aside time for reading Glow or other grief-related sites and cry my eyes out. It helps to attend a support group where you can be real about your feelings and nobody expects you to move on. It helps to read funny books or watch feel-good TV shows. I joined a pretty intense workout group a couple of months after his death to reclaim my body. We went on a nice hiking vacation about 4.5 months after. This is probably my advice: Take the breaks you need to do what feels good or necessary and tune out of the noise and expectations of the world for a while.

Maybe you will not be exactly the woman you remember yourself to have been before, but you will not only be less. Less happy, less spontaneous, less whatever. You will be more in many ways: More caring and compassionate for the truly troubled in the world, more focused on the important things, so much more full of love for the child who makes you a mother forever and more grateful for his short time on this earth that changed you completely. And from surviving all of this and still standing you will gain a new confidence. Going through the death of your child and coming out alive on the other side makes you fucking badass in my eyes. I am certain you will realize and allow yourself to see this over time.

I am sending you lots of hugs from one badass mama to the other,
Arav’s Mom
March 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterArav's Mom
Steph, I am truly sorry for the loss of little Raspberry. I too lost my beloved son Brandon about 3 1/2 months ago on Dec 15. I lost my favorite person in the entire world but also lost so much more and yes I definitely have a half decent day sometimes and the next day is just horrible; happiness just feels like a long way away if even a possibility. I want to be pregnant again somehow but even though I am tracking ovulation I am too sad to do anything about it most of the time. Please know you are not alone in this. Sending you love.
March 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCristiane