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

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Another Poem

Hosted my daughter's 8th birthday party this morning, and it was fun until she melted down completely at the end and turned into a spoiled brat. I'm feeling really down now, upset with her, sad, disappointed, feeling like I've raised a brat. Ok, so I'm feeling sorry for myself, I know, but, to change the subject entirely: A friend of mine on Facebook put up this poem by Langston Hughes the other day, post-inauguration, and it is too wonderful not to share. Hope you enjoy it.

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll sit at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

-- Langston Hughes

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today's the Day the World Changes

All right, so my title for today's post may be a bit of a stretch, but can I tell you, I am proud today. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, black, white, tan, or whatever color you identify yourself with, whether you loved Bush or hated him, think Obama is a leftie socialist or the savior of the world: you know, today is a day over 200 years in the making.

I've never been one to go around gloating about how America is the greatest nation on the earth (too much arrogance in that statement for my taste, and as the wife of a man who is not from this country, and the mother of two children who can claim citizenship in that country, I'd rather see the world through a bigger lens). I've never really understood patriotism and love of country; perhaps that is my own personal failing, I don't know. I understand loving people, but the concept of loving my country is nebulous for me, at best. Maybe it's the Democrat in me (despite the very Republican upbringing) that sees the flaws as well as the good, the part of me that knows nothing is perfect and there is always more to strive for.

Today, for the first time in my life, I can say with all honesty, I am proud to be an American. Obama has a tough road ahead of him, a country full of potholes and craters created by others. Change takes time, and it is not Obama's road alone - we must all participate in filling in the cracks, listening to each other, working together, finding common ground.

But today, I am going to revel in this moment, in the pride and hope I feel. Change has come, and may America be better for it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Winter/Holiday/New Year's 7x7 From Glow in the Woods

I suspect most of you read the babyloss blog "Glow in the Woods." This month's questions for mamas to answer were recently posted on their site; my answers are here:

1 | Welcome to 2009. What have you left behind in the year just past? What do you hope to find in the year to come?

I've left behind my hope of having another child. I turn 40 this year, and as much as I want another baby, I'm too frightened to try again. And getting too old, and a dozen other things. I've had a terrible time accepting that the baby making years are over for me, but they are. I'll miss them more than I ever thought possible.

What do I hope to find? Peace. A connection. Me.

2 | We've just come through the season in which our culture touts cheer and peace and family togetherness rather relentlessly. How did your child's death impact your experience of the "holiday" season, personally or culturally?

Ben died the day before New Year's Eve, and was born NYEve morning. The holidays suck. And yet they don't, because I have two little ones, alive and well, who bring their joy into my life, their excitement about Santa, presents, candles, secrets and surprises. But this time of year I'm 100 times more aware of what I'm missing than all the other months of the year. The silence this time of year...the silence of the snowy winter landscape, the silence from family members, who won't say his name - and, oh, I could complain bitterly about this, and have, about wondering what they think, do they remember, why the hell they can't say his name.... If they only knew how much it hurt.

3 | If you celebrate in any way through December, are there ways you include or acknowledge your lost baby/babies?

We have an ornament with his name on it that we put on our tree. We light a candle on the day of his death, a candle given to us for his funeral, lit only once a year. We give money in his name to charity. It's not enough, not for me, not for my husband. But what else can we do?

4 | Through the year are there any holidays, seasons, or parts of what were once cherished rituals that have changed for you because of your child's death?

Christmas and New Year, obviously. New Year might as well not even happen - it's just the marking of one more year further away from Ben. All the holidays are different without him, wondering what might have been, what he would be like now, wondering what life would be with him, instead of his little brother.

5 | Do you do anything to remember your baby/babies' birth and/or death day? Or will you?

Not much. We light his candle, give money to charity, but we grieve silently and alone.

6 | Is there anything about the winter season (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere right now) that lifts your spirits? Is there anything that especially brings them down?

Christmas brings me down and lifts me up. Because of the babies I have with me, who saved me from complete despair, the lights, the presents....

7 | During your hardest times, how have you found your way forward

One foot in front of the other. Cleaning like a maniac. Cursing at the top of my lungs. Moment by moment.