Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Living Children

I have two living children, one from "before" and one from "after." Charlotte was 16 days away from her 3rd birthday when Ben died; James was born 20 months after Ben's death. I remember writing in my journal at some point after losing Ben, that I wonder if Charlotte will grow up to think of us as always being sad. Will she always feel she missed out on getting to know us as happy people? Will there always be a sense of something missing - whether that be her brother or something in her parents? I'm afraid she'll feel that we were never wholly there for her after Ben died. I realize she won't have much, if any, memory of life before Ben - I guess that's what worries me. We were different people then, different parents. I'm afraid her life will be forever tainted by Ben's death, and she'll feel cheated out of us because of it.

Maybe I'm not making any sense, but I wonder what she'll think and feel in 10 and 20 years, about what might have been, what was, what wasn't. Part of me died the day I lost Ben, and that part of me can never return. I hope she can forgive me if I'm not the mother I could have been.

6 comments:

Kami said...

There are many ways you have changed, I am sure, with the loss of your son. You may not realize it yet, but not all of those ways are bad. You have a strength you never knew existed or you have created strength where it didn't exist before.

I am much happier than I used to be since we lost our son. You can find yourself again. Not that I don't worry that the scars of infertility and loss won't leave their permanent mark us and therefor also on our children (if we are fortunate enough to have them). I also think that kids are so resilient. They will probably just accept you the way you are and never wonder "what if?" 20 years from now, Charlotte might wonder why you never thought you were a good enough mother when she always thought you were great.

Monica H said...

I still feel that I may not love my future children as much as I love my first two, even though they are not here. I feel like I am cheating my second son, because my first son was my first love. Again let me remind you, neither one are here with me. I feel like I am cheating my husband because of the life we now live. I feel like he deserves much more than the f*cked life I have given him. As far as your daughter knowing about Ben, it's your job to keep his memory alive. He will never be forgotten by her or you or anyone who shared the love of Ben. Don't be so hard on yourself (easier said than done, I know). Just surviving your loss and still parenting your children makes you a great mother and I'm sure your children will agree with me.

Tricia said...

My living children are both after my loss but I have these same thoughts...is this new me enough?

Thanks for sharing.

niobe said...

The death of a child casts a shadow over so many lives. But I'm sure that, despite your sadness and your feeling of being diminished, you are and will continue to be a wonderful mother to all of your children.

I think of my grandmother, who lost all her babies, except my father, and how her grief over her missing children became intertwined with her love for her living child. Noone could have possibly loved her living child more or been a better mother to him.

Angel Mom said...

I could have written your post. I know without a doubt that I used to be a better mother before S died. Sadly, my oldest daughter K was too young to remember her *Before* Mommy. Now, all she knows is this. My 3 younger children will never have the mother they deserve. I, too, wonder how this will affect each of them. It makes me so sad to know that when S died, the mother I was then died as well.

KETM said...

I have had a lot of problems parenting my 2 year old since we lost our daughter in April. I had a miscarriage before him, and my mother basically told me I had to put away the grief from that and function. Now I find myself doing the same thing with my daughter's death, putting the grief away to function. I find myself setting expectations either way too high or way too low for my son, though, and I worry that my inconsistency is damaging. I also worry that my tenseness and worry is going to damage him. I have no choice but to compartmentalize and try to force things into a tight schedule, or I just don't function.