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glow in the woods

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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 > support

I imagine our clubhouse is a secluded cemetery somewhere in the woods and the meeting time is always twilight. Here I have found a great support system and understanding but oh what I would give not to be part of this exclusive club. There are so many things I feel and think that make me wonder if I’m being unreasonable or crazy. Then I come here and I am among kindred spirits. No one recoils in horror at my Medusa like appearance. Everything I feel and think is normal for who I am now.

My sister in law recently had a baby at the same hospital that I gave birth to and lost my son 6 months ago. I did not visit her and my mother in law was angry with me. My mum was also angry and tried to pressure me to go. I don’t understand how they cant see how this would affect me. I don’t even drive past that hospital let alone go inside, I don’t hold babies, I don’t want to make small talk about how big the baby is etc. Of course I am hap for them but they must understand that for the sake of my sanity I have certain limitations.

Today I overheard my father in law on the phone telling someone that they now have their 10th grandchild. I wanted to scream at him that M was their 10th grandchild. But I ended up swallowing my words.
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who remembers my son was even here or even cares that he was here.

My sweet M, gone but not forgotten and forever loved by your mum.
July 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterM's mum
Dear m’s mum
I am so sorry to hear about your loss and that we have to meet in this place. All I can say is that I totally understand what you’re writing. My daughter Alicia died 1,5 years ago and I am still avoiding certain places though going some streets has gotten easier in the past. Your family is Hardin judging you from your behaviour, it is still really early for you speaking from a grieving point of view. Don’t let their comments get too close to you, they have no idea what you’re going through. You’re acting completely normal, life is a pain in the ass after losing a child. Can you find someone to talk about M and remember together? Maybe that would help a little. Emphasise in your family how important M is, mention him if you can. Maybe they will realise how important this is for us mothers but it could be that they will never understand. Then let go, we cannot change people. But we will always remember M with you if you like. Lots of love to you and your child, have a little peace today.
July 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJana
Oh M’s mum...I’m so sorry. Five years out and just hearing someone mention the hospital where I delivered my daughter makes my heart race. Actually just thinking of it makes my heart skip a beat...I’m never setting foot there again. The only reason I can possibly imagine going there would be if someone I loved were dying of cancer there (it’s also a cancer center) and I wanted to say goodbye. But it would take something like that. I’m sorry your family doesn’t get that you can’t go there. Sending you a huge hug and thinking of you and M.
July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAB
Dear Ms mum,

Like others said that is such a hard thing your family is asking of you! You should be proud of your ability to say no and to protect yourself. I saw my sister in laws baby just 6 weeks after mine died and it destroyed me. He was already 5 months but I couldn’t look at him. I still avoid him and live across the country. This is such a sensitive time for you. Sending you love. I do think explaining your pain might help your family to be more sensitive. I don’t think they understand— few people really do.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle
Hi M's Mum, I'm missing baby M with you.

I completely understand why visiting that hospital would be off limits for you emotionally. When I think back to my own experience in the hospital, and trailing through those dark hallways back and forth to the NICU, brushing past doctors, the smell of hand sanitizer, feeling and moving in my body post c-section and post baby in my belly, it just takes my breath away. You not wanting to be at the hospital is very much okay and even more than okay. Your sister in-law's baby can be visited (or not) outside of the hospital, at any point in the future of your choosing. My own experience is that people don't understand this, for example my mother in law told me two months after my son died and I was deciding to not go to a cousin's wedding shower, that "at some point you will have to start going to things". But why? No one has to do things that make them uncomfortable.

I was extremely hesitant about seeing friend's babies after my son died about 6 months ago. It took 4 months until I saw a friend's baby for the first time, and it was surprisingly okay. And then I saw another last week, and that was also surprisingly okay and normal. What I remind myself of continually is that I am missing my son Francis, and these other babies are not Francis. I think about it like when my grandmother died, it wasn't painful to see other people with their grandparents. But this is different for everyone. I do seriously have some deeply rooted envy of my friend's growing families and babies on the way though. I sometimes wish I could just disappear in certain social situations.

I so feel your pain about your father in law saying that about his 10th grandchild. It's as if, for some people, our babies cease to have existed. Like, if my parent died, am I suddenly not their child? of COURSE I am. And it's just so blah to try to explain that to people who don't realize it on their own.

I feel you, and I hope you're doing okay.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAllison