It gets better but it’s still pretty shitty.
For those new to the blog, I’ll share this with you: over four years ago, I lost my firstborn, Ethan, due to incompetent/insufficient cervix. That means, my cervix shortened before term and since Ethan was just a few days short of viability, he couldn’t be saved. He lived two hours and peacefully died in my arms with my husband nearby. That being said, if this post might bother you, you can stop reading now.
Let’s talk about the ongoing aftermath, shall we?
I’m forever clothes shopping for Bear. He has too many shirts. He doesn’t have enough shorts. He needs more jeans. We need to invest in a belt for him. We should probably get new socks for him. Hmm…we should probably get more shorter-sleeve and sleeveless tanks for him now.
Yet, there’s one piece of clothing I could never buy for him:
It’s one of those things where I could purchase because technically speaking, he is a little brother. But if I purchase the shirt, I’m going to get the inevitable question – ‘Where is his big brother?’ and that requires an answer I don’t think I’m ready to explain to strangers.
When people hear you lost a child, they naturally feel sympathy towards you. Let’s face it – no parent should ever bury their child, no matter how old. When the same people hear you have another child or other children, they have a noticeable relief on their faces, as if they were saying, ‘Thank God you have at least that one!’
(In future reference, don’t ever say that to a parent who’s lost a child. Just don’t.)
But back to the topic at hand…it’s one of those things that you’re constantly dealing with in one way or another – the permanent effects of baby loss. When people hear about a miscarriage, be it early or late-term, they think, ‘Well, they went through something bad then but everything’s okay now!’
Is it, really?
When we mourn the loss of our babies, we’re also mourning what will never be – no first days of school, no playdates, no first crushes, no sporting events to attend, no driving lessons, no graduation dates, no weddings, no births of their children – our grandchildren.
We could be watching a movie and a certain scene will trigger a crying spell. We can hear a song on the radio and remember our babies through that tune. There’s always two sides of our lives – before the loss and after. It’s a very defining moment.
There’s someone missing, there’s something missing. I can have all of the memorial keepsakes, tattoos, special dedications to Ethan, but it doesn’t change the fact he’s not here. It’s also a factor why Bear is so spoiled. We know the pain of suddenly losing a child and we don’t take life for granted.
Someday, I’ll buy Bear’s future sibling that same shirt I wanted to purchase for him. And I’ll probably be an emotional wreck about it. And I’ll wonder aloud that I shouldn’t have to buy it at all because Bear should’ve had one already for him to use.
Until that time, I’ll go shopping for Bear. I’ll contemplate if I should get him a size 3T or 4T. I’ll probably chastised myself for once again buying him light-colored shorts as I watch him happily play in the mud. And all the while, I’ll wonder how Ethan is doing in heaven with his friends.