To the Moms Whose Babies Didn't Live When Mine Did
In the world of social media, if you have a poor prenatal diagnosis, with a click of a mouse you can find a group of parents who have children with the same diagnosis as your child. While the specifics may vary, they are still similar. These groups are invaluable. The understanding, support and instant friendships quickly form.
In these groups we will pray for you or send positive energy, and we’ll wait anxiously for any updates you have. We will celebrate milestones with you and grieve with you if you have a bad outcome. There are no responses like, “They are in a better place” or “You are still young, you can have another.” These are sacred spaces where you can share your real feelings. “What can I expect to happen at the hospital?” “What should I really pack?” “How do I dry up my milk?”
When the baby does defy the odds, there is a collective cheer! We are like the aunts who want to see every update and latest picture and soak up your miracle.
I stay in these groups because by some miracle, my baby did live, and sometimes (many times) the only thing you have to hold onto is hope. I can give you that. When it’s all you have, it’s everything.
But what happens when your child lives and theirs does not?
Guilt. I call it survivor’s guilt. In the dark corners of my brain, the questions creep. Why did my baby live and not hers? She would have been a much better mother than me. She is much more equipped to deal with a child with special needs.
Please don’t mistake my guilt. I am one of the rare, very lucky ones who gets to hold my daughter, and I would never change a thing. I know I am blessed; for whatever reason, I got to bring my baby home.
This is what I want you to know, moms — even though my baby is here and yours isn’t, your sweet baby is not forgotten. You are not forgotten. I remember. There are certain babies you never forget. They leave an everlasting footprint on your heart, even though we have never met, and sometimes you may even live across the world.
I will say it again — I remember. You are not forgotten, and you were loved by many people.
Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images