The first book I read after Nelle died in September of 2015 was Rising Strong by Brene Brown. It was exactly what I needed at that time. Brown talks about three parts of the rising strong process: the Reckoning, the Rumble, and the Revolution. Of the rumble, she writes: “The rumble begins with turning up our curiosity level and becoming aware of the story we’re telling ourselves about our hurt, anger, frustration, or pain.” Continue reading
Among the bereaved parents I know, we often say that the anticipation can be worse than the actual event. Thinking about an upcoming baby shower or family gathering can bring on feelings of anxiety, sadness, frustration, or dread. We mull over the scenes in our head, playing out confrontations, tears, or awkward silences. Often, we can get so worked up and then the moment passes without the level of emotions that were expected. And it gets easier over time to expect certain responses and manage them. Continue reading
I have had a pit in my stomach over the past few weeks. I finally realized that I was reliving a lot of the anxiety I felt in the days leading up to her birth: a gnawing fear that something would happen. This time, I feared that she would never reach one year old, instead of the fear that she wouldn’t be born healthy. I envisioned a car accident, the day before her birthday, that would take her life. I imagined the words that people would ask me, like “How old was your daughter when she died?” and I would have to forever respond “It was the day before her first birthday.” Never able to say “I have a one year old daughter.” Continue reading
Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash
After learning that I was pregnant with Nelle, I created a “secret board” on Pinterest called Baby Girl. I added photos of nursery designs, parenting ninja moves I wanted to try “this time around,” baby gear I knew I would need – a wide assortment associated with the excitement of planning for a baby. Included in my collection were ideas for a first birthday party. Continue reading
Nelle was stillborn on September 4th. A mere 16 days later was Theo’s sixth birthday.
It is a painful contradiction to find your own child’s baby photos difficult to look at, but I spent that year quickly looking away from images of his tiny newborn cheeks, fingers, and toes. All I could see in those pictures of the first few days of my son’s life were the reminders that I would never have any pictures of Nelle. That overjoyed look on my face in those photos – the induction into motherhood – seemed like a completely parallel and disparate experience from where I sat after my baby girl had died. Continue reading