Three out of four of my intended mothers have had either stillbirths or premature deliveries which resulted in neonatal death between 22 and 28 weeks. Or both. No one could possibly come close to knowing the intricacies of babyloss unless they have lost a baby. Still, I read the words of loss and try to understand because they are raw, beautiful, and profound. The comments left from one lostbaby mama to another – the virtual squeezes of hands linked through this tragic commonality – say yes, me, too.
Though they all grieve differently, I see many parallels among how they have been affected. Aside from the obvious and expected sadness, one theme which seems to run concurrently through the babyloss blogs is the idea of what I think of as the line. It is the rigid, jagged divide between the Before and the After, like the hardened, indelible slash that remains after dragging a stick through wet concrete. This dividing line fractures time and everything after it is vastly changed from what was before it.
Before, the image in the mirror might be considered confident, bold, and lively. The fundamental, cataclysmic shift of the After might render the griever a stranger to her own countenance.
Before the concrete line friends may be abundant. After, they might
fall away and disappear. The family of Before might shrink away from
the After, unsure of what to do or how to do it, or worse, unwilling to
The only Chance I've ever known is the After.
After the miscarriages.
After the devastating second trimester loss.
After the second devastating second trimester loss.
I didn't know her Before, but I know the After and wonder how anyone could have ever fallen away. If this is the After – this determination despite the battle weariness, this fierce love despite the losses, this desire to find a reason each day to smile even if through tears, this self-devotion to continue to live and contribute and breathe and be and feel – then those who cowered behind that concrete line and couldn't be there to join her in the After are fools.
Their loss is my gain.
And now, I can see her tiptoeing ever so gingerly around new lines drawn in the concrete, etched in place by happenstance and whispering of the possibility of a new, more vibrant After.
Such frightening enormity in such a small word. No matter how it is held, it is there.