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To My Friend Who Doesn't Know Why I Can't Hold His Baby

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Dear Dan,

I love you. I love you as a sweet, strange soul that makes the world a kinder place. I love you as one of the few friends who called when Lily was sick and one of only a few who dared to hold her after her surgeries.

• What is PTSD?

I love you as my husband’s best friend, who sees him as I do — perfectly imperfect. I love you as the man who married a great person I have grown to love, too. I love you as my own friend.

That is why what I have to tell you tears me apart — I can’t hold your baby.

I may not even look at him.

Some nights I cry about it. When I hold babies I have nightmares for days of Lily dying. When I see babies, my blood pressure rises and my mind tells me the baby is going to have a seizure and die. No matter what I tell my body, no matter how much hypnotherapy and counseling I do, my body remember watching helplessly as my baby slipped away for 10 unbearable months.

My poor second baby, Lola, had a mother that cried a lot, slept terribly and had to fight every second to stay present and close to her. Paul has similar discomfort, though not to the same extremes. We haven’t talked about it with most people because it seems like we should just move on after 6 years.

But, our bodies remember and won’t let us forget.

It wasn’t until almost all of the baby was gone out of Lola that it started to get easier to be her mother. I think some call it post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We are not sure when we will get relief from it or if it will ever get easier.

So, I am so grateful others are moving into our place as you await the arrival of your sweet baby and we will continue to hope and pray something changes for us. But, please know we love you and would give anything to be right in there with you. We can’t and we are sad about it.

With love,


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Originally published: June 1, 2015
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