Grieving (and Living) After Your Baby Dies in The Womb

Note: This is a guest blog by Beryl Young

Mother’s Day 2009 was the day I found out I was going to be a mom for the first time.

I used to imagine the excitement in sharing this story with our child – how the stars had aligned on this day reserved for mothers, to bless me with motherhood.

I began reading all the baby name books.

I scribbled down names on paper to see if they looked right.

I read names aloud to decide if they sounded right.

We finally settled on a boy name and a girl name.

Each that simply felt right: Bradley or Bella.

We wanted to find out if our child would be our Bella or our Bradley as soon as humanly possible.

We were told week 18 was the earliest we could discover a gender. I rearranged my work schedule to make sure the first day in this week could be set up for an appointment.

On this day, as the autumn leaves were tossed about in the wind, so too was our world turned topsy turvy. We discovered our child – a girl, as we later learned – our Bella – was very sick.

We would not be getting our happily ever after.

A few days before our Bella died, I placed her daddy’s hand on my belly.

His eyes lit up as he finally felt her move for the first time.

He kissed my belly and kissed my tears away.

He promised me that no matter what happened, everything was going to be okay. It’s been over two years since we said goodbye to Bella.

Even now, when the cool fall air begins to whip through my hair, and the sights and sounds of autumn blow their way into my world, all it takes is closing my eyes and the memories come flooding back – like it was just yesterday. The bare branches. The smell of pumpkin, clove and nutmeg. The raw chill in my bones.

These are my reminders of losing her during the fall of 2009.

These were my first months spent grieving my empty womb and mending my broken heart.

It was through the lens of a camera that I began to re-discover beauty in the world. The fancy DSLR camera I was given to take squishy newborn photos, instead was used to process my grief. In that instant of a lens clicking, a new chapter of my life began. I was on a mission to find goodness and understanding in the world – after a loss that felt so sad, so tragic, so isolating.

No one really knows how to talk to you or listen to you when your unborn baby dies.

But with my camera, I began to re-connect with the world – and re-focus on its beauty, instead of focusing on my lost faith.

These days, I am realizing that walking the journey of loss is not a process of moving from grieving back to living. It’s the spaces in between which are my comfort.

It has to be both – grieving and living.

It’s a delicate balance, but behind the lens of my camera is where I am am able to fully embrace each and every emotion that crosses my path.

It’s behind the lens of my camera, that I am able to let go of the negativity that doesn’t deserve a second thought. Once the snap of that shutter clicks, I am left with imagery that is mine to process and transform into a bit of beauty.

My husband was right when he told me everything was going to be okay.

Learning to live with our loss has allowed me to plant my feet firmly to the ground, walk hand in hand with grief, and find beauty in a new chapter that was mine to create.

beautiful words by Beryl Young, photograph of flowers on blue sky by the talented Beryl Young

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