Content Warning: This post is about stillbirth
I was supposed to make this post on Tuesday. The migraines haven’t let up, though. And this week it’s more than that. This post is more than that.
Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. Except, I still don’t feel right calling it that. Nor is it the anniversary of her death. That would have been Wednesday. She would have been ten this year.
Grief is weird. Some years it’s September before I remember and almost feel bad that I missed it. Some years it hits me in July, and I don’t think about it again until October. I miss her. Her loss is a big part of me. One of the sharpest edged pieces broken off of my life.
Oddly, I’d been convinced since I was very young that I would lose a child before it was born. I read a book where the heroine lost her first and dealt with the grief of it, and there was something about it that felt personal. It didn’t feel like any of the others losses I’d read about but never experienced. It felt like something that was mine, that would be mine. And when Neakita stopped moving, I knew what had happened. I knew. I knew that I had finally reached a place I’d always seen coming.
Here’s the thing, though, the reason I will never stop talking about it: It wasn’t God’s plan. He may have warned me so that the news didn’t destroy me, but he didn’t make it happen. He might be using it for his glory, but he didn’t make it happen. There was something wrong in my body, or hers. They never did figure it out. Our world is broken, and something in us broke. My God did not give me a baby to take her away from me. And neither is it selfish to mourn. She may be in a better place, but I loved her and should have had her in my life for the rest of my life, and I’m allowed to mourn that. I’m blessed for mourning that, and I will be comforted.
I will never stop talking about it because too many people have been told “God has a plan” when something terrible happens to them. “They’re in a better place” when they’ve just lost someone. “Don’t cry, they’re in a much better place. Be happy for them because they’re free from pain.” Yeah, we’re not crying for them.
All of this is usually meant well. It really is. People who care about you don’t want to see you in pain, so they try to say things that will reframe the situation, make it less painful. Except it doesn’t. Often, it just makes us feel guilty about feeling the pain, or angry with God for causing it.
We need to talk about grief more openly. We need to share grief more communally. We need to sit with people who are grieving and let them feel their pain without trying to brush it away because it makes us uncomfortable.
We do this better with parents than we do children. We’re ‘supposed’ to lose parents. Everyone does eventually. It’s a lot easier to acknowledge, even when it happens tragically early. But the truth is that every time I share about my loss, my grief, there is someone standing by to say they understand. They lost a child, too. Maybe not as close to birth, maybe a lot more than one. Or maybe it was their cousin or mother or friend, but every time someone shares the pain. And there’s a light of freedom in being permitted to discuss it, an imperceptible gasp of relief that it can be acknowledged.
So I’ll keep talking about it. I’ll keep crying about it openly. I’ll keep sharing it. And I’ll continue to watch God make something beautiful out of the ugliest moment of my life.