Lines

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
even try.

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. 

Hope.

Such frightening enormity in such a small word. No matter how it is held, it is there.

7 Comments

  1. Aunt Becky on October 3, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Hope is such an important word.



  2. susan on October 3, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    You are both very fortunate to be connected NOW.



  3. tash on October 3, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Moxie, this is, and I mean it, the most beautiful thing I have read in ages. Tears are in my eyes. I just kept nodding: yes, yes, yes. And saying over and over, Thank you. Thank you.



  4. Carrie on October 4, 2008 at 9:27 am

    It seems that many don’t know how to deal with the after unless they have been there before. Because just like you said, they don’t know what to say…but really all you want is for someone to be there even if it is to just listen. To know you have them there if you need them is more important then saying just the right thing.



  5. Chance on October 4, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Tash is so, so right. I have the tears in my eyes…it is like you can see into the depths of my soul. Really.



  6. anymommy on October 4, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    This is beautiful and heartbreaking. I know that line. Every single fiber and cell I have hopes that this is it, for both of you.



  7. Sue/ste on October 7, 2008 at 12:15 am

    The last two lines of this post make me weep.
    You’ve described the dividing line perfectly.
    Thank you for being there. For listening and for abiding.