A Real Look at Grief, One Month After Losing My Newborn Son

I wrote the following on the one month anniversary of losing Teddy. I was sobbing. Over the cruel reminders surrounding me, the injustice of losing my healthy newborn son, the senselessness of it all. I was thinking of editing it later, but after re-reading it, I feel like I don’t need to make any changes. It’s raw and it’s real and it’s what I was feeling. It ends with a mantra I’ve been telling myself over and over and the lyrics to an S. Carey song that has spoken to me since Teddy’s passing.

an honest look at grief after infant loss

I’m sitting here on the verge of tears, feeling so helpless yet also so angry and wanting to throw or punch something at the same time. I’ve never been an angry person. Never had rage or what you’d call a temper. But when you see the preemie sized diapers and wipes that you can no longer use because your newborn son is dead, it just kind of makes you incredibly sad and angry at the world. I’m surrounded by reminders that he isn’t here. I see an herbal bath mixture gifted to me by the birth center that I was supposed to use with Teddy at some point during his first week of life. Oh how I was looking forward to that first bath with him.

The new Solly Baby wrap I ordered as a back up (in case of spit ups) sits unopened on top of the newborn and preemie sized clothes we had washed, ready to dress him in. My body is soft and overweight and my breasts still feel like they’re about to leak milk every single day, even though I haven’t pumped in over a week. Frozen milk bags are overflowing in our tiny freezer; seeing them makes my heart drop. Preemie sized outfits I ordered the day he was born (because we were shocked at his size) are finally returned (they arrived the day he died…). The diaper pail hasn’t been emptied. It’s been over four weeks and I can’t bring myself to empty it. We were celebrating his poopy diapers just hours before he died. The meconium had switched to brown and seedy stools and I was almost jumping up and down with joy. I told Teddy I was so proud of him. Ben laughed and made fun of me, but I could tell he was happy, too.

I see a woman at Target, pushing around her two children in the double stroller we were going to purchase, the baby in his carseat on top and the toddler boy on the bottom, whining about something (as toddlers always do). I tear up and hold back tears because that should have been me.

Weight that otherwise would have been shed quickly due to breastfeeding clings to my body in uncomfortable ways; a horrible reminder of how things aren’t as they should be. It’s unnatural that Teddy isn’t here and that I’m not breastfeeding. My body is itself a physical reminder of what should have been but isn’t. Sometimes my anger fixates on this excess body weight. Teddy should be here and he should be benefiting from the weight I gained. It should be nourishing him and helping him gain weight himself, not sticking to me with such stubbornness and intensity. He would have been five pounds by now, for sure. We saw a glimpse of some neck rolls forming Sunday night, Easter Sunday. I was so happy to see that glimmer of hope. He was doing everything a healthy newborn should and he was making progress in leaps and bounds. In just twelve hours he had made a complete one eighty. I was so happy, so encouraged, so proud. My little fighter was working so hard. I told him over and over again how proud I was. With each swallow of milk I applauded him and his efforts. He was doing it. We were doing it. Soon we wouldn’t have to work so hard.

.

I did my best. I did my best. I did my best.

.

Every time I see the west

A hole fills up inside my chest

The meadow where I left you there

Has washed away in winter’s grey

Every time I see your face

It washes all the skin away

And hold you fast, embody me

You left me with the holes you see

You can stay, you can stay

I wandered off but found the way

And all these cliffs surrounding me

The holes are patched, in thanks in part to you

– ‘Meadow’, S. Carey

Follow:
Share:

2 Comments

  1. Kyla
    May 11, 2018 / 9:08 pm

    You continue to touch me everyday and I don’t even know you… I stumbled upon your Instagram and in some way, I’m sure it’s because I was meant to…

    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way but your posts and story just make me hold onto my little ones so much tighter (as I’m sure you do with your oldest boy) it makes me appreciate them so much more. And if you are able to take comfort in any of this, I hope it’s knowing that you and Teddy are making at least one fellow mama love her kids a lot more than I was before.

    • elindsey
      Author
      May 12, 2018 / 6:43 pm

      Thank you for sharing that, Kyla. Two brothers, an eleven year old and a thirteen year old, that I don’t even know have said some of the most comforting things since Teddy passed away. They were talking with their dad about Teddy, his short life, and his death. The youngest said something like, “it’s like Teddy’s life is trying to teach us something.” His dad asked what he thought it was and he replied, “that every moment counts and we need to make the most of it.” The older brother said, “yeah, and that we do the best we can with what we have.” I’m glad you are holding your little ones so much tighter. I’ve always loved my Charley fiercely but after losing Teddy, I think I cherish every moment with him even more, even the toddler tantrum because I wish Teddy could throw tantrums someday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *