It’s hard to believe our oldest son, Max Anthony, would’ve been celebrating his eighth birthday today. I’ve been blogging here since the loss was a fresh wound in our lives, and we have certainly come a long way since the raw, early days after the devastation of losing our son.
Having a stillborn child is one of the most mystifying paradoxes. To give birth to death.
It seems silly…to give birth, to death.
It still doesn’t make sense to me, and I’m sure it never will.
Birthing our lifeless son changed my innermost being, shook me to my core, and changed mostly everything about who I was as a person. I became a constant worrier, eternal pessimist, superstitious, plagued with post-traumatic stress, and graphic flashbacks of his birth.
So, why am I telling you my story? Why do I share my story every year on his birthday? Why am I any different than anyone else who has battled through a horrible fertility journey? I’m not any different than my fellow mamas who have lost babies. No matter if the baby was 3 weeks gestation, 30 weeks, 40 weeks…or passed on later in life, we are all walking along on a parallel journey that no mother should ever have to experience.
I’m telling you my story because I am still here. I didn’t jump off of a cliff. I didn’t end it all. I made it through the horror, the pain, the catastrophic flashbacks. I’ve come out on the other side of the dismal tunnel, and I’m here. I’m missing some pieces, but for the most part I am in tact.
When my husband suggested that I should get a job a few months after we lost Max I wanted to punch him in the face. I had come to the conclusion that he was heartless and didn’t understand the grieving process. The reality is that he saved my life. My husband saved me from spiraling deeper down into a black hole of solitude. I had mostly cut myself off from the world. I didn’t see my friends, I didn’t answer my phone…shit, I barely even showered more than once a week for a few months.
I will say it again.
My husband saved my life.
By getting me up and out of that somber bedroom, he gave me a purpose again. Max was my purpose. I was supposed to be a mom. I still was a mom, but in that awkward situation of being a mom without a baby.
When my world fell apart and I was left holding nothing but a miniature urn filled with my baby’s ashes, I had no purpose. I had zero reason to get up each day. No reason to want to shower, answer the phone, put on makeup, put on clothes, or leave the house.
Getting a job gave me a purpose. This job, even if it sucked and I hated the environment I was in, it helped to pull me out of my hell hole existence. I was accountable, I was needed, I was necessary for the function of a business.
My husband has told me that when you’re on the road through hell you don’t stop to admire the scenery. You just keep going. If you stop, it’s over. You. Just. Keep. Going. So, that’s what I did. I kept going.
…and like a little energizer bunny, I’ve kept going, and going, and going. Here I am now today with 3 beautiful living boys. A career I love. A husband who loves me. I survived the loss of our child, and I pray the same for anyone else faced with being in the same horrifying situation.
Happy 8th Birthday in Heaven, sweet boy.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt