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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 > If your baby was sick?

The baby I lost was born sick. I always hear other loss moms talking about how perfect their baby who died was but that's not what happened to me. There wasn't a terrible accident, my baby was not ever healthy. Sometimes I feel more shame because my baby wasn't perfect. I don't know why it bothers me but I wish I could say my baby was. And I sometimes feel like his death is less than because he wasn't. Am I alone in feeling bad about myself even among other loss moms?
June 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJaneW
I doubt you are alone. Every one of us finds ways to blame ourselves. We all find ways to try and justify ourselves, too. My daughter was born in 1991 and lived less than an hour. She could not breathe. She also had a club foot and a cleft palette. She wasn't perfect. Her problems obviously meant she couldn't live. It means I have an "answer" to why she died. Now, why she developed those problems, who knows. No answers there.

Your loss is not less than anyone else's. When you reach these depths of loss and grief and pain, there is no measure. There is no chart, no scale. No way to compare, except to understand that this was the worse thing that ever happened to any one. You lost your beloved child. I am so sorry for your loss, your pain.
June 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.
My baby wasn't perfect even though her heart problem was not visible from the outside. She was dead, and that looked very disturbing. But what I felt for her was perfect: the strong bonds of parental love, the protective urge, the need to keep her close.

I think about how she would have never had a chance of a normal life if she survived. With such a dysfunctional heart, her brain function would also probably be terribly impaired. And I sometimes wonder whether I am deeply mourning the girl she really would have been, or the girl that she could have been without her illness, the one I imagined before I learned of her problem.

It is all deeply confusing, and it's not unusual to have conflicting feelings. For me there was a lot of ambivalence from the start, and only later, when many months passed, did I start focusing only on the positive aspects of having spent time with my baby. But in the beginning, it was important to me to also be open about the negatives, including the fact that my baby was most definitely not perfect.

Hang in there. You are not alone.
June 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAna