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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.

parenting after loss > I couldn't celebrate my daughter's birthday. Feeling guilty.

I lost my son almost 4 years ago. I have since had a girl. I love her with all my heart and I appreciate her every second. For some reason this year the beginning of spring has hit me especially hard. It's always hard because it brings memories of my son but I haven't felt like this since the year he died. His birthday is on April 4th and his death anniversary is just a couple days after. My daughter's second birthday was on March 19th and I just couldn't have a party. We did last year and I didn't have any issues but this year I just couldn't. The fact that she still doesn't know it's her birthday helped me justify it. I still dedicated the whole day to her and got her a little cake. But I feel like a bad mom. I can't keep doing this, I know her life is worth celebrating and she deserves it. This sucks. It sucks to live in this bitter sweet roller coaster. I kind of wish their birthdays were a little farther apart but that is not going to change. I feel like no one understands me and the people around me, if anything, they judge me a little. I really feel so alone.
March 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGabriela
My kids are two weeks apart as well, with my rainbow born 11.5 months after my son. Last year, we couldn't do her birthday the weekends surrounding the real day, and I decided to push the party back by three weeks (instead of just two) because I will NOT give her a party for HIS birthday. She had her party a little early this year, and I think that's probably the way to go in general. Then all of her festivities are done before it is his turn--that's how it would have been if he'd been able to live anyway, with each kid getting their own block of time.

I don't know if that helps, but I get what you're saying.
March 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJM
Gabriela,
I am so very sorry for the loss of your son, and so glad your rainbow girl is here with you. It sounds to me like she had a perfectly lovely, not overwhelming birthday with her most favorite person - you. Grief means there are times we are just not up for hoopla, which is fine and normal, so you made a beautiful day that you could enjoy with her. The important thing to remember is you did honor her birthday. Expectations around any type of occasion or holiday are still a bit much for me, and my younger daughter will be 5 on her next birthday, which is also the day she died, and is also one month and one day after her older sisters birthday. (I completely agree with JM that each child gets their own special block of time) Every year is different, some pretty ok, some even pretty normal and enjoyable.

Please go easy on your grieving heart. My and my husbands trick is to start with zero expectations, and give our selves permission to just do or not do whatever we want. Then we just build from there, on a good year we do more, on a sad year less. It's all good. And don't worry, when your baby girl gets older she will get excited about things and you can be pleasantly caught up :) it's all going to be ok, Mama, don't be so hard on yourself and do yourself a favor, don't worry about what others think, or what you think they think. Just stay out of there. You are you, your children are your children, and you are a caring and loving mother.

With love to you and your whole family,
Jen ( Joseph, AdiaRose and Imani's mom)
March 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Thank you so much to both for your words. They made me feel better. I really needed to hear them.
April 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGabriela