3 years ago today, I was labouring to deliver my stillborn daughter. I was frightened, overwhelmed, traumatized, and heartbroken. It hurts to think about it.
Shortly after I gave birth to my stillborn daughter Mia, my husband and I were given the difficult task of picking a place to scatter her ashes. And though this task was both tragic and morbid, we somehow found ourselves embracing it for what it was. We knew that this would be one of the only things we get to do for our daughter as her parents. All our other parental responsibilities that we so longingly dreamed about, were stolen from us.
I’m finding it difficult to write these days. This month of June is a heavy one for me, because it is the month that would have been my daughter Mia’s due date, on the 22nd. My sadness disguises itself as many different things, and my grief twists its way around everything I touch. I sit down every morning to write to you, but no words come.
So instead, please join me as I revisit memories of a warm, cloudy afternoon in May.
Three sisters and our dog, playing by the small trickling stream, stepping on slippery rocks, wetting our feet in the cold water.
Holding hands and running through the hills made of long, long grass.
And walking bravely at the edge of it all – where the blue mountains meet the sky.
“Nature is a woman’s best friend. If you are having troubles, just swim in the water, stretch out in a field, or look up at the stars. That’s how a woman cures her fears.”
We are daughters of the woods.
We are daughters of the earth.
This experience is good for me.
It’s good for me because it turned my entire life into a giant question mark.
And I think it’s a good thing to feel like that from time to time.
I have seen how fragile life is. It was a topic that I had been contemplating before I became pregnant with Mia. It was a concept that had become illuminated in my life. And now I know it more deeply.
Last summer, I had been thinking about death and my own mortality a lot. For the first time, really. At the time I finally realized that I was walking through life like I was invincible to death. And I felt that was a foolish way to live when I understood that life is not promised to me.
Going through this journey with Mia has taught me that death is just as beautiful and just as necessary as birth.
And now, I see the gift of life.
In my mind, I picture two newborn babies. One, perhaps a child of my future, who is born alive. And the other, my Mia, who is born sleeping.
The difference between these two babies, the life that exists in one, and the life that is absent in the other, it is invisible. And yet it is everything.
My baby was born still,
in a quiet room,
with her big eyes closed.
But she was still born,
just sleeping soft,
held 6 months in my womb.
My baby was so small,
that she fit right in
to her father’s hand
My baby was
still born, but she was still held
My baby’s heart did not beat,
but mine was broken,
cracked in two
and yet all the while,
bursting in ecstacy for her
because my baby was
still born, but she was still loved.
My baby was born in quiet room,
and she did not cry,
but the roar of her presence
was so loud
because my baby was
still born, but she was still heard.
The next day
my baby was taken away,
to another room and another world
that we could not go,
but she lives on within us
because my baby was
still born, but she is still ours
My baby was set free,
in a soft stream
of cool flowing water,
my baby was born still,
but she was still born
and still my daughter.
A messy poem I have written for our girl. It isn’t perfect, and nothing seems to flow, but it is the truest reflection of what is in my heart.
Well, I always said I wanted to make my blog more personal – to write about my experiences and about life as I’m living it, rather than it being a textbook of instructions. And now it can’t be anything but intimate. I can’t write anything other than my truth, and what is at the center of it. And right now, the center of it is a blend of deep grief and gladness.
I like to write. Writing is soothing and healing for me. And so I will write.
I love this part of the story. It’s my favourite part.
For most people, the best part of pregnancy is having a baby. For me, it was going labour and birthing my daughter. For me, the best part of pregnancy was the pain. It’s a morbid and sad thing to realize, but I have not known it any other way.
I don’t know what it is to give birth to a baby who is alive and who I can bring home and watch her grow up. But I know what it is to give birth to my daughter. And it was the most beautiful experience of my life.
This is the the hardest story that I am living, and the most difficult one to write about.
I knew I wanted to share this part of my pregnancy with you too, because it is real and true and heartbreaking and a part of my life that I cannot ignore or deny.
But I am conscious that it is not only my story to tell. It is also my husband’s story, and his comfort is mine and his pain is also mine. So it is only with his permission that I share this with you today.
We had to say goodbye to our sweet baby girl at 6 months of pregnancy.