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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 > Sadness transforms into anger at my lack of control

Seven months from the loss of Riyad, I feel I am really moving through my grief. I am glad that the pain, although still coming and going in waves, resolves faster. I will burst into tears every few days, really feel the raw wounds of his death--and it resolves within hours, and I can go about my day. I function much better now, and certain things in life even excite me. I feel genuine happiness sometimes, I can genuinely laugh at things. I even get weird moments where I feel an intense gratitude for life (but my son is still gone) and pleased with my husband and family (but someone is missing). He is always in the back of my head, no matter what I am doing. That will never change.

What I have been feeling lately, more than sadness, is anger. I get bouts of bitterness every single day at my situation; at the fact that my son died, and all of these babies surround me. I am angry and jealous and I fully acknowledge it. I have no shame, I don't care! My son is dead, and my sister in law is pregnant again, with a due date of November 13--the day before my son's due date!--and she doesn't know the gender yet. It might be a boy. And I absolutely hate her for it, when I used to really love her before Riyad died. I hate all of the mothers around me who had perfectly, healthy babies when my son and I had to be struck by lightning. I hate many of my friends and family members who never had any pregnancy losses. I hate the people who give me stupid platitudes like "everything happens for a reason," "if you relax you will get pregnant again," and "God has a plan." God does NOT have a plan, my son's death happened RANDOMLY, and there is NO scientific evidence that relaxing will get me pregnant again.

I am angry at people who can conceive in a cycle or two, effortlessly. I have been trying to conceive again since February, and really trying hard since about April. No potential rainbow pregnancy yet. It is a mixed bag, because I am sometimes happy I am not pregnant yet, since I had time to lose a little more weight, to feel less raw about Riyad's death, and rationally process the possibility that I may have a happy ending with another pregnancy after all. But, every cycle that passes without a subsequent pregnancy stabs my soul like a dagger, and I am back to hating everyone, just more intensely. It makes me want to kick and punch and scream and throw breakable things every single day!

I do calm myself down: walks outside, guided meditation, and writing have worked wonders for me. But the anger is still there. And I am owning it. It's better than feeling raw, weak and powerless. It's better than debilitating sadness that renders me a useless, sobbing heap in my bed.

The hardest thing about all of this is the work I've been putting in, to accept that there's a huge portion of life that is really out of my control. We are led to believe we can control everything, including the outcomes of our pregnancies! Knowing that I was really not to blame, knowing that there was no way I could have saved my son--that I have no control at all in any of this, is oddly empowering.

Above all else, knowing that we are loss mamas who went through the worst pain imaginable--losing our children, at different gestations--and we are still standing, breathing, walking, existing, each and every day, is empowering.

Amidst all the grief, the sadness, the anger, the pain--I hope you can all feel powerful today, if only for a moment. <3
June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
The whole process of grief is such a rollercoaster. The loss of my daughter, Eleanor, has been so difficult,. I feel however that had I been on my own in the universe after her death it might have been better in many ways.
I surprise myself by how angry I am - we are in the midst of an inquest procedure - which to some extent encourages the anger and blame.
But also how bitter I sometimes feel - I am not normally a bitter person however I often am now.
My sister in law - a very good friend of mine - had IVF about six months after me - was encouraged by my "success". Her baby, my Nephew - who is lovely - was premature but is so well and healthy.
I have been to see them in their home but can't bring myself to welcome them here. Rationally I know it is not their fault and that my nephew deserves as much fuss and celebration as I would have expected if Eleanor had lived. But I just can't manage it.
I also hate the God thing - my husbands family are very religious and that's fine but I had to take my husband to A and E with pneumonia recently. My husband is paralysed from the neck down and so is very prone to chest infections. It was his second admission to hospital in just a few weeks and his brother met us there for a little moral support. My husband was admitted to intensive care and his brother said " if God is willing he'll live" I know this was not to do with the loss of Eleanor but to me that means God was not willing to save her. That stang!
Anyway - I don't think this rant helps any one but maybe me!
We are all in such a nightmare, the grief will not stop but I have to believe it will change for all our sakes.
Feeling powerful is an interesting concept, often we feel powerless and our babies died in circumstances out with our control. But we are all in our own way, powerful. We are trying to live with and befriend grief. We are trying to live despite the awfulness.
I went to yoga classes for pregnant women while carrying Eleanor and our teacher would ask us to do warrior pose. She said it was one of the most powerful things she would see - a room of pregnant women doing warrior pose!
We are all warriors in our own way , big or small

Thinking of Riyad, Eleanor and all the other babies tonight xxx
June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKE
Nada - Huge 'amen' to what you wrote. I am so angry as well. In some ways, I feel it's a sign of processing the grief over time; in the earlier months, I was too shocked and upset to feel the intense anger I do now. I get doubly bothered when I think back to how I felt about other people's pregnancies and babies before my daughter died. I was genuinely so excited for everyone, and I adored all the children in question. The secondary losses were such an unwelcome surprise on this grief road... like realizing that not only do you miss your own child with every bit of your being, but now you've lost the ability to honestly share in others' joys, too. I have a lot of anger directed toward non-tragedy-stricken people as well. It just doesn't seem fair. I feel like if I am going to lose my child on the literal last day of my beautiful 41-week pregnancy, then the rest of my whole life ought to be easy. But it's not. And it won't be. And there's no limit to how many other hard times we'll endure, just as losing my daughter unexpectedly was not at all the only absurd, 'Is this my real life?' situation I've been dealt. Losing her is by far the worst, though.

All the platitudes are unwelcome in my brainspace, too. I become borderline non-responsive when I am fed the lines like you mentioned. I find it additionally difficult that along with feeling so uniquely handpicked for hell and a life of unspeakable tragedy, when I do occasionally attempt to interact with the rest of the human race I am confronted with a laundry list of awful lines to somehow react to. No wonder a lot of us spend so much time in our homes, alone with our grief. Sometimes I even get salty when someone refers to leaning on certain people for support, etc. All I can think is, 'Really? I avoid people like that like the plague! Those people are exactly why I spend a lot of time by myself!'

I think one of the hardest things about our lack of control is that many, MANY other people (or in my case, pretty much all of my friends) DO seem like life is going as they planned. So then, even if only through my observation, I can get tricked into thinking that humans typically do have a whole lot of control over their lives - and that I am somehow unlucky, stupid, or cursed. Unlucky, yes - but these other people are equally LUCKY their lives are going as expected, not smarter or more in control. But it's hard to accept that it's just luck and randomness, when we SO consistently see things going according to plan in others' lives. It can make me feel like mine could have gone as planned, too, if I'd only done X, Y, or Z. I always have some kind of rebuttal besides the probably-more-accurate 'I don't have the control I think I do.' It's a really, really hard pill to swallow.

Thinking of you, Nada and KE - and Riyad and Eleanor.

P.S. KE - I liked your wording of 'befriending grief.'
June 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCameron
Yes, I just wanted to share that I feel it too. The God I would like to believe in would never take a baby from their mother. God doesn't bless some or none or all in my book. It is random and painful and I'm so thankful for your honesty.
Sending you love and hugs and silent acknowledgment that our babies were unfairly taken too soon.
June 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEliW