The friend wanted to know about my stillborn Caleb because she'd just learned that her niece had miscarried twins. She wanted to know what my advice was on walking through that experience and if I had any tips or regrets on things to do.
I can't have those conversations without tears, but it's not painful in the way you might think.
When driving away from the hospital after Caleb had been released to the funeral home, I was broken, but a couple things were clear...
....telling my husband that this event wasn't allowed to tear us up because I wasn't willing to lose any part of a relationship after losing a baby.
.... feeling completely empty because you spend months carrying a baby and then it's just gone. In late-term pregnancy, everyone can tell you're expecting. After delivering, you just look fat. People don't see the loss. No one knew the baby so it's not like they can be expected to know what you're going through or even that there's loss. It's just gone and I felt like no one could feel that like I did. Here today, gone tomorrow. No impact made. What was destroying me was invisible to everyone else.
....gifts were dumb. They were kind, they were appreciated, but they were nothing more than a poor substitution for what I was supposed to be holding. Don't get me wrong, if you know a mother going through this, take something, take anything, but don't be offended if they don't look happy.
....an overwhelming, all-encompassing pain because this life wouldn't matter... at least that's what I thought at the time. Lives matter. Humans impact other humans. My baby was gone and I felt completely choked by the concern that his life would mean no one to anyone but me.
My tips were easy: take lots of pictures, hire a photographer you like, have a service for the baby, take your own blankets, clothing, ect., buy duplicates of what you bury baby in.
After the conversation, I cried and cried and cried. Not because I can't talk about it, but because it's real and raw and painful.
But talking about it is healing. What I wanted more than anything was for his life to matter and it does. It does. Here I am, 9 years later, with him still being thought of. He matters to me.
He was stillborn, but he was Still Born. Likely the most lovely thing I could've given him.