A Letter to My Wife After We Lost Our Son
To my wife, Kelly,
The last two months have been difficult for me as I’ve watched you fall apart and suffer. Not only have you experienced postpartum depression, but you’ve also had to endure the incredible grief and loss of our son, Mateo Aslan Wise, who was born stillborn at 25 weeks gestation. I can only begin to imagine how you feel, as I too grieve and mourn Mateo, and I too have experienced depression in my life. But nothing can compare to a mother who must hold her dead baby boy in her arms and find the courage to bury her son. Your courage, your love and your perseverance inspire me.
I know hormones rage inside your body, and for weeks your body didn’t know you weren’t nursing our son. This just added to your feelings of helplessness, depression and loss, but you survived it, and you are still living. You’re teaching me the only way out of hell is through it. I could learn so much from you. I, who continually fall apart, loathe my existence many days because of grief and living with a mental illness, must look to you for a source of inspiration and support, but also be a loving and supportive partner. I’ve not always done this perfectly, and there have been many nights you’ve comforted me; however, I am trying to be strong, brave and live again.
Postpartum depression is real and can be difficult to manage. Therapy helps, but that alone isn’t enough. In your darkest moments, please be gentle with yourself and remember you are not alone. Like any mental illness, postpartum depression can be treated and managed, and you can live a purposeful and meaningful life again in spite of it, and heal through it.
Kelly, you mean the world to me. I am honored to have you as my wife and the mother of our firstborn son. I wish Mateo could grow up in the safety and comfort of your arms, bask in your love and see how strong and courageous his mother is. I believe he is watching over us now and knows our love.
Love matters. You matter. Mateo matters, and I matter.