I want to share a story with you. A story of a mother and her child. A story of love and grief. This is Dejah’s story and I am so incredibly moved and grateful that she is sharing it with us ~
Imagine planning for nine months for the arrival of your baby. She’s been growing steadily and healthily in your belly, feeling your love and loving you back, showing you how strong she is with her kicks and her hiccups. You live for those visits with your midwife where you can hear her heartbeat, strong and steady. Everything is perfect, everything is wonderful. The crib is assembled, the baby clothes and blankets washed and folded and ready to envelop this new life that will soon come into the world. It might have been a difficult pregnancy–terrible morning sickness, swollen feet, heartburn–but the time is near and all the discomfort was worth it. Soon, you’ll be meeting your baby.
Now, imagine coming home from the hospital alone.
Empty arms, empty crib. The only sound of crying in the house is your own. And even though you have your husband and your son–and they grieve along with you, in their own way–you feel so completely and desperately alone.
No one prepared you for this. No one talks about how birth can so suddenly, so quietly, so insidiously, turn into death.
This is not something I have to imagine. This is something I know to be true. My daughter was stillborn on her due date last year. I’m that person. I’m the one who left the hospital with empty arms. And while I was there, lying in the hospital bed with my beautiful, silent daughter in my arms, I felt more alone than I ever had in my entire life.
I had to leave the hospital to the sound of other women’s babies crying. The next time I would see my baby was at the funeral home, where I wrapped her in a blanket I had made for her and kissed her cold forehead for the last time. She would never need me to comfort her, to change her diaper, to rock her to sleep. Those nine months of waiting were over. And they ended in silence.
In one thing, I was lucky: I had amazing support from the women in my life. My doula and my midwife were both sources of strength for me then and in the days that followed. They helped keep my heart open when all I wanted to do was shut it down. I’ve meet many women online and in person who know what I’m going through, and I hold each of them dear to my heart. This grief is our common bond. The only thing I know to do with this pain and sadness is to try to turn it into love.
I know there are women out there who are not so lucky, who are giving birth alone, unsupported, unprepared (for what ever really prepares you for this?). Please donate to ensure that those mamas who have been through the unimaginable know they are not alone. Stephanie’s art is beautiful and real. Her words come from a place I, too, am familiar with. I know having one of her art cards would go a long way towards helping a grieving mother feel loved.
My name is Dejah. My daughter’s name is Sunrise. You can find out more about us on my blog, where I try to make sense of it all, to turn grief into Love. I wish you all much peace and many blessings. xo
I you have a story to tell about leaving the hospital without your baby and would like to help the Donate Art project, please click the link above for more details and information.