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It's Confusing to Grieve Someone You've Never Met

Photo Credit: Ria Blom

To My Baby,

I remember the feeling that enveloped me when I found out about you. The joy that bubbled up inside me and spilt out of my eyes, my shaky hands when I held up the test to double check and triple check and then check again. My heart overflowing in my chest as I paced backward and forward in my office. I remember looking down at my body, one hand wiping tears from my eyes and the other hand on my tummy. Two little lines instantly pulling me out of the worst months of my life and illuminating a new path, a new meaning, a new role. Hope that everything was going to be okay. The months that followed were the sweetest I have ever had, we shared our dreams for you, asked each other questions about what you would be like and whose nose you would have. Picked out paint colours and expensive prams. A new and beautiful phase in our journey as a couple. I had never met you but I could see your big green eyes and your dark hair. I could feel you laying on my chest and hear your sleepy snuffling. We already loved you so much even though you were just a bump.

The day we found out you were gone was earth shattering.

I can’t explain it in a way that portrays the magnitude of what washed over me but five months on and I am still drowning. My baby, once referred to as a daughter or son, a grandchild, a cousin—now given a new name. Not names we had imagined for you, but instead referred to as ‘remains of pregnancy’ and ‘products of conception.' Cold and unkind names for you, my darling. An unimaginable pain, and you were out of my warm body and into a sterile container. Not laying in my arms as I had imagined but laying alone in a lab for testing, leaving me empty and shell shocked. It’s a confusing thing, to grieve someone you have never met. It is also a very lonely feeling to be shouldering an acute pain that you feel you are not entitled too. My baby reduced to well-meaning minimizations of what I carried and what we lost. We were young, there would be others, at least we knew we could conceive. The unconscious implication that amongst this catastrophic loss I should somehow feel gratitude. All I wanted was to talk about you but was gagged by a silent obligation to preserve other people’s comfort.

What I quickly learned was that no one wants to hear about an almost mother's almost baby.

I locked myself up and swallowed everything I was feeling. Others have lost more I thought to myself, driven by a deep, long held fear of people’s perception of me, petrified that any mention of you would be construed as a bid for attention or sympathy. Little did I know that by denying the loss I was feeling, I was also denying the precious gift I was given. I failed to honour you and what you brought into my life for those few months. So for you little one, on what should have been your birthday—I will always carry a memory of the fantail that sailed into our home on the day you left me. I can feel you everyday and I hope I make you proud.



Thank you Ria Blom / @r_i_a.b for sharing your story. Shared with permission.

Pregnancy and infant loss can leave grieving parents feeling isolated and unsure how to navigate the heartbreaking circumstance of living without their precious baby. Unexpecting delicately helps grieving parents navigate the complexities and heartache of life after loss.

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