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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 > Damaged goods

My sister in law is pregnant. She didn't want to tell me directly so my husband did. I'm happy for her, she has a 1 1/2 year old and has been trying to get pregnant again for about 8 months. But it still hurt. It made me feel defective. She can have babies easily and my son just dies at the last minute of my pregnancy. My husband was excited saying maybe I can get pregnant around the same time as her. Uh yeah, I was pregnant the same time as his niece last year and she has a beautiful girl now and my son is dead. I'm TERRIFIED of getting pregnant again around the same time as my sister in law, if it even happens soon. Because I might miscarry or have another stillbirth, and here she'll be with living baby number 2. While I sit in the corner feeling broken and incompetent, grieving alone, and the rest of the family celebrates another new baby. My husband doesn't understand how I feel at all. It all just reminded me that my son is gone again and I feel like I keep disappointing my husband, even though he says he's never disappointed by me. I don't want to hurt him again by TTC and losing another child somehow while everyone else can just magically keep their pregnancies going.
March 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
Dear Nada,
It is only natural to feel this way, specially if your linking your little Rhyad to her former pregnancy. But the truth is that what happened to you does not necessarily mean it will ever happen again. Remember my case... I have now, my no. 1 and no.4... Just because she already has one doesn't mean she is always lucky and you are not!
You will have you're happyness soon! I'm confident about this!
Don't overgrieve yourself... be gentle to yourself! It was NOTyour fault and you are not flawed!
Sh**t happens, its true, but YOU are strong enough to overcome it and attain your bright future! It will come!

March 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarta
Nada, that is a ton of grief and anger and pain! I think writing is good for you. You write well, you write clearly. Does the writing help clear your thoughts?

There is no way to deal with all of that grief and fear at once. Let's break it down and see what you have and go from there. Here are items I can read from your words. I may be right or I may be way off, so keep that in mind.

1. Sister-in-law is pregnant - AGAIN;

2. Family is going to be happy about a baby - AGAIN;

3. Your husband does not understand your emotions;

4. You fear disappointing your husband;

5. You feel broken and incompetent because your son died;

6, You feel alone in your grief and fear;

7. When should you TTC and how will you handle it;

8. Your son is still dead and it hurts, beyond words.

What did I get right? What did I get wrong? What does the correct list look like?

Looking at the correct list or my list, what jumps out at you? Which items hurt the most, right now? That can and will change, but right this minute, what is weighing on your heart?

Again, look at your list and breathe and see if any answers pop up. Do you look at something and think, "Oh, I could do so and so about that." Or, "I am totally clueless about how to even get a start on that one."

This is one tool for getting that overwhelmed, out of control feeling back to where you can deal with the problems, to where you can start gaining control again. Many of those items need to be broken down further, individually, so you can really look at them. Which ones feel important today? Which ones really set your mind spinning?

I am not a writer. I am a list and chart maker. A new notebook and a couple of sharpened pencils help me order my mind. What helps you? Where do you start when you straighten up the kitchen? Where do you start when you straighten up your mind? Your heart?

Riyad's death is a tragedy. It is not sad, it is not drama, it is not something that you just work with a bit and it goes away. It is wrong, always wrong, that he is not here. This is the worst thing that most people cannot even imagine dealing with, and you are living it. This is hard. Don't sell yourself short because you think you aren't living right or well yet. Loving Riyad is a lifetimes work. So is missing him.

Sending you a bit of peace and a smile, in case you need some!
March 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.
Dear Nada, I feel for you so much. My sister in law is also pregnant and her baby is due in about 3 weeks. My daughter was born and died in November and we always thought they would be cousins together. We are both older mothers so all the other cousins are much older.
Now while I am still happy for her and I worry about the baby being OK I also feel ashamed and I hate to admit it jealous. Not of her baby but of her still being in that lovely time in the last few weeks of pregnancy. My sister in law and I have always been good friends it was through being friends with her that I met my husband. At the moment we are not quite so close which is also sad.
I am obsessively making gifts for her baby because weirdly something stopped me making much for my daughter.
My mother in law - with whom I get on very well- has found it easier to never mention my daughter to me and is incredibly insensitive - -talking about pram choices, cribs and so on.
I feel that I have done so much in my professional life but cannot successfully do the most basic of things - give birth to my child . It is such an emotive thing and when a new baby comes into the family it is such a cause for celebration. Women are feted for giving birth and when you don't do that successfully no one really knows how to react.
I know that I will have to grit my teeth and smile. It is not her fault. It is not the new baby's fault.
My sister in law has decided to have a c section at 39 weeks I only wish I had decided this - not that any doctor ever suggested it!
Anyway I am going to take the bull by the horns so to speak and drive up to visit the next day. Not going to be easy.

There is no real reason to think that we won't be pregnant again, and hopefully day by day get through the nine months. And then why shouldn't we have healthy babies. Easy to say but difficult to hope for. If that day comes then we will remember our little lost ones with even more love if that is possible.

Wishing us all hope
March 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKE
Dear Nada,

I feel you 100%. Everywhere I look, it really feels like everyone has achieved the life we were working towards and nearly had. We went for a walk in a park yesterday because the weather is finally warmer. It is always a relief to be outside but the young families with babies were EVERYWHERE. We can't hide from them. I'd have to give up all my friends if I really wanted to hide from them effectively. It is really tough. So many friends have had babies in the last 6 months-- these are all kids that would have been friends with our Raspberry. It hurts my heart. I hate it but I've had to basically quit facebook because every time I see someone else's joyful family, it it just a harsh reminder of what we lost. Even as I sit here and write this in a coffee shop, there are strollers and carriers full of babies EVERYWHERE. How did that happen? Intellectually I know they were there before but I didn't notice it... now it's all I see, in the same way that now all I feel is that hole in my heart.

I also feel an anger towards my body, which is sort of what I was gathering from the title of your post. Why is it that everyone else can do it so easily or unintentionally? I always believed pregnancy was a natural process for the most part, which is is for most people. I hate that we fell into the 'rare' few where nature's course was cruel. I understand your sense of disappointment.

I keep wanting to either connect back to the things that used to give me joy and make me happy before or to discover something new that makes me feel more alive or a fuller person (other than aspiring to another pregnancy which is its own loaded goal that feels too lofty and unattainable these days). I have only been marginally successful-- have you been able to find any of those familiar or reaffirming things? They don't take anything away from the frustration and anger and sadness and loss and feelings of disappointment to ourselves and our partners, nor the lonliness of this experience, but it's like trying to sprout a new bud. I haven't figured this part out yet, just curious if you have, one month ahead on the this rocky path.

Sending thoughts of peace.
March 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteph
Dear Nada;

I can 100% relate to how you are feeling, I am so sorry we are living this terrible ordeal. I also have a sister-in-law who is very pregnant, due on mid April; she lives in the house behind ours AND has an almost 2 year old son. It is so unbelievably hard. I know the family will be, as they should, fussing over this new baby and I just hate how they never got to fuss over my little guy in person (we were all living in different countries). I think all we can do is to keep a distance and respect ourselves first and foremost. I told her I don't know how things are going to be in terms of being around her baby, and if I feel like I can't be around then I just won't. I am also not going to attend her 2 year old's birthday party. We have to live with this pain day in and day out and we shouldn't add to it in any way.

Wishing you peace.
March 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCristiane