Far away in a small-town graveyard in Tennessee, we buried our baby.
A place that resembled the region I grew up in, with rolling hills, and massive oak trees. A few short weeks later we boarded an airplane and flew back to Fort Wainwright, where the numbness wore off and the grief began. The biggest trial of my life was picking myself back up again. Having to navigate a world where I had given birth and lost my son within ten whole days. A world that no longer looked or felt the same. Falling into a deep black hole of grief. Searching for help only to be told by behavioral health that “I would get over it eventually!”
I was surrounded by my family, but feeling completely alone. By the time the numbness had fully disappeared every single bone in my body had begun to ache. An emptiness engulfed my very being. It was something that I had never felt before. My arms longed to be full. I had given birth and left the hospital without him. There was no longer that tiny baby I had grown for 34 weeks and held until he took his last breath. The natural cycle of motherhood had been broken. Leaving my soul wandering, and unable to fully comprehend what to do.
After an off-base referral, I found myself sitting in the waiting room of a new therapist. One I had prayed could help me find myself again. Blinded by my own self-guilt it took me three visits to realize I was sitting across the hall from the woman’s abortion clinic. I had been sitting in a room begging for answers and understanding as to why I could not keep my baby. All the while a couple of walls away there were mothers who were making the choice that God made for me. It was then I realized I was seeing a glimpse of hell. Sick with emotion, I decided right then not to return. Finding anyone to work through my pain seemed to be nearly impossible.
My eyes were always holding back the flood gates of loss. My body began to show signs of depression. I had sunken blank eyes, and my hair was falling out. I could not even look at myself because all I saw was a failure. A woman with a scar down her stomach, and a hole in her heart.
It took over a year, a PCS move, and a new behavioral health office to find a therapist that I needed. Although God had placed a rainbow in my life to save me, I still credit her with so much. She understood that I would never get over losing my child, that the grief would always be there. But she helped me find a way to manage it. To find peace with God’s choice in taking my son. To have an understanding that I did nothing wrong, and to allow myself to enjoy this life once again. I had shut down so long ago trying to calm the immense pain.
So, I had to work hard to be the best version of myself again for my living children. I often find myself wondering about the others who are like me. Mothers who have lost a baby and struggled to find the help they need. Crossing paths with therapists who are far from sympathetic. Continuously feeling defeated and lost, unsure where to turn. Finding themselves with no support from others who may understand. I am 1 in 4 women who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant. I have survived the unimaginable like so many other women. I am strong! I am brave! I stand with every mother who has lost their child. You are never alone!