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An Open Letter to the Mom Who Has Lost a Baby:

I know you. I recognize you in the slope of your shoulders, the grim line of your lips, the tension in your back. I see your heart, mama, and I hear how it beats for, longs for, your baby to be here in your arms again. I see you trying to hold it together at work, at home with your other kids, with your family members who are pregnant "and it was surprise!" I hear the fights you have with your spouse when they are too silent, and too sad to be with you in the way you need them to be. I can feel the hot tears that well up any time you see a baby, or a pregnant belly. I know that you sometimes are deeply envious of women who seem to get pregnant and assume there will be a baby at the end. You are jealous of the naivete and innocence you used to feel prior to your child's death. You feel like you're stuck on a ride you can't get off, or you've been inducted to the "The Club I Never Wanted to Be Part of." You feel like your chest is cracked wide open, as if your essence, your soul, is pouring out of this wound that you are certain will *never* heal.

Sometimes, you feel tormented by grief, like your ribs are rubbing your heart raw. You are doing the best you can, and it doesn't feel like you can handle much more.

Here's the thing: You do deserve for your baby to be here, and it's so freaking unfair they aren't. You aren't crazy. Your feelings of resentment, anger, sadness, jealousy and bitterness are okay. You may believe you will always feel this way, and I'm here to tell you that you will feel differently someday. It won't feel as raw. You will have a good life. But, it will be altered, forever, by the tiny person you don't have with you here in this physical realm.

Healing starts with dreaming and building a life that is good enough. It means finding joy in little moments. It can mean rebuilding trust and intimacy with your partner outside of HAVING A BABY (I used all caps here because I know that's how it feels in your mind right now). Healing can look like creating in other ways, giving space to your grief with art, movement, words, music, gardening, etc. When we give ourself space to move through our feelings, the intensity will lessen. It will mean dealing with your guilt you feel about your baby dying or pregnancy ending. It's not your fault that tragedy happened in your life. With help and time, you will become better.

You won't ever forget your baby. I've talked with men and women in their eighties who still tear up when they talk about the children they've lost. A parent's love doesn't diminish with time or distance.

Know that I am thinking of you always. I know you because I am you. I've come through the other side, and I can confidently say, "You will, too."

Take exquisite care of yourself,

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