Saturday, December 7, 2013

unaplogetic


Last night I posted the following on the facebook page I maintain for this blog:

We went to J's holiday party for his work this evening. When asked how many children I have I said three without hesitation. And when we were talking about babies I included Charlotte. I talked about my births and trauma during labor and delivery. I was honest about my experience. In the middle of the conversation I wondered if I was saying too much, but most of his co-workers know our story. I want to make space in these conversations for all my children. So I do. I'm open about what we lost. I'm honest and unapologetic when I talk about her. And I think that's okay. This is who I am. If you ask me about my children I will tell you about all of them. And I will show you a picture on my phone that includes all three of my children because it's important to me to include her. I refuse to pretend Charlotte didn't exist because the fact of her death is uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable to talk around and over the subject of her. I refuse to ignore what happened, and the more resolute I become the less the world expects me to. I hope my determination gives others the freedom to speak. It's okay to talk about our children and how much we miss them.

I wanted to share it here as well because I can't stop thinking about grief, the holidays, and how hard this time of year is. Earlier this week I wrote about how to cope with the holidays and grief for the 12 Days of Christmas series on the blog All That Love Can Do. There's some great remembrance ideas and giveaways going on over there, go check it out!

You might not be able to, or you might not want to, share your grief at a holiday party, but I want you to know I'm willing to listen. This space is always available if you want to share your story.

In fact, I would like you to share your story. When we go around the circle at the in person support group I attend the impact of hearing everyone's stories one after the other is huge. The strength and tears in our voices shakes the room and reminds me I am not alone.

Every baby matters. I want to hear about yours.

13 comments:

  1. Angela, thank you for inviting us to share our babies here. We lost our first-born, Tyler, a few hours after birth because of complications during labor (a harrowing labor and emergency c-section). This was on Aug. 20th, so this is my first Christmas with grief instead of my baby boy. He was almost 9 pounds and had dark hair like his dad. He had the cutest little lips. When I was pregnant, we called him "Joey Bag" (like a kangaroo baby). I'm really missing him today and the life we were supposed to have. I'm thinking of all the babies who aren't here.

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    1. I'm so sorry Tyler isn't here. Thank you for sharing your sweet boy with us.

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  2. I'm so sorry for your loss, Stacey.

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  3. Thank you. I needed to hear this today after returning home from a vacation where it was very obvious that many friends and family did NOT want to talk about Noah. I had an induction in October after we found out that Noah had severe hydrocephalus and a severe dandy walker cyst that superheated the hemispheres of his brain and prevented the cerebellum from forming. We were told he would never breathe on his own. After a 2 day induction he was born still on 10/19. We held him all day. This is my first holiday season without him and it is incredibly hard.

    Http://Missingnoah.wordpress.com

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    1. The first holiday season IS incredibly difficult. Thinking of you as you face your first Christmas without Noah. Thank you for sharing his story with us.

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  4. I see nothing to be apologetic about! She is your child, a very big part of your life. If it makes anyone uncomfortable, they shouldn't have asked :) i love reading your blog.

    To the other ladies that commented- I am so very sorry for your losses. You are in my thoughts.

    Katie @ Being Dawson's Mom

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    1. Thank you for your support and thank you for reading.

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  5. This is kind of unconventional, but I read because I am grieving someone else's child. My cousin and good friend's third baby died in utero at 20 weeks and was born a few days later. I have only seen pictures, but Grace was beautiful. She left a hole in her family. Her older sister, older brother, and younger brother miss her. As do many others.

    Thank you for sharing about Tyler, Stacey. He was born the day before my son Emerson. There is nothing fair about who lives and who dies.

    Thank you for sharing about Noah, Lauren. I can't imagine how hard it would be to navigate the waters between remembering your son and respecting other people's way of dealing/not dealing.

    Thank you for always sharing about Charlotte, Angela. It gives me a window into the lives of women around me who have lost their babies:
    Alison missing Grace
    Melani missing Annabelle
    my Grandma missing Janice (after 55 years)

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    1. Thank you for loving and remembering the babies your friends have lost.

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  6. ...and how weird am I? I figured out yesterday that I keep returning here to read all about you, and Bennett, and dear Ainsleigh, and somehow still hoping to read about what Charlotte has been up to this time. I've never had the privilege of meeting you, but I just can't imagine Charlotte not being where she is supposed to be. Can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to not having her in your arms - and I hurt for you.
    Love from Holland, Mary-Ann

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    1. I can't imagine it either. I love this comment, thank you so much.

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  7. Hi Angela, I have been reading your blog for sometime. You are an excellent and compelling writer. Ten years ago I lost my son, my only child, to cancer. He was 35 years old and fought hard. It was so unbelievably tragic for all of us. Then we adopted a little girl who was 9 -- she is now a junior in high school and the joy of our lives -- a wonderful person. She grieves for her birth parents and we grieve for our son but we are so happy together. It is possible to hold two strong emotions simultaneously. We often remind each other, good things can come of bad things. We moved two years ago and began meeting people who didn't know our backstory. Eventually people ask me if we have any children and Aina if she has any brothers and sisters. I say that I have a daughter who is a junior in high school -- sometimes I add that we adopted her when she was 9 years old -- and a son who died as a young adult several years ago. And she usually answers the same but not always. She is more reticent about it than I am but then she didn't know him although she feels that he is her guardian angel. People stand stunned for a moment and then usually they say I'm so sad for the loss of your son but so happy you adopted a daughter. I say something like, exactly. Of course, I don't accost people with this story and I don't share with people I take a dislike to when I meet them. But losing my son and finding my daughter is ME so take it or leave it. Bravo for remembering Charlotte -- I will never ever forget Tim either. Hugs, Linda

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    1. Your story is incredible. Thank you for sharing it with us. Remembering Tim with you.

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thank you!

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