Friday, January 6, 2012

The First Could-Have-Been Birthday


It's here.  Today is the first day that Eve could have been born safely.  Her due date was January 20, but the safe window for her birth was from January 6 to February 3.

Today is the first could-have-been birthday.

There will be another tomorrow, and the next day.  A month of could-have-beens.

I don't know how I will survive.


Now it seems impossible that I was ever pregnant, that there was ever expectancy, joy.

I can't believe that this happened -- that this is still happening.

There is a sharp line drawn in the sands of my life.  On one side, my life before I learned that babies could die, that my baby could die, inside me.  On the other, this new life where everyday is a new opportunity for pain.


The first life, it is abhorrent to me.  How could I have been so naive?  So unaware?  So foolish, it seems now.

I hate looking at photos from before.  At anything that reminds me of before, of that life that is no longer -- journal entries, art, blog posts, Pinterest pins, scribbled notes in my Bible, our dogs.  I find my former optimism revolting.


And so here we are -- a world where babies die, and babies die often.  Where one in four pregnancies ends in death.  Where every year approximately two million women lose their babies, and I am one of the 26,000 whose babies are stillborn.

Where a heart that had so recently been opened by God's healing is now broken and bloody.  Where prayer is a joke and God feels far away.  Where my days are exercises in fear and panic and pain.

This life no longer feels like a life.

I want to break things.  I long to smash every delicate thing near me, to ruin every mug, bash every window.  I want to shatter like I have been shattered.  I want to destroy like I have been destroyed.


Other women whose babies are dead, they tell me that it will get better.  But I think that "better" is the wrong word, because to me "better" means "fixed."  But this cannot be fixed -- the only thing that could fix this is Eve alive again, Eve never dead.  That won't ever happen, not in this life.  And so I will never be better, I think.  I will only become more accustomed to it, to living with a part of me gone.

No matter how agile he becomes in his recovery, a man who lost a leg is still missing a leg.

A woman who lost a baby is still missing her baby.

This change, this losing, it is forever.


I am a different person than I was.  Perhaps someday that person will be an improved version of the person I was before, of the person that I am now.  But regardless of how it turns out, I am not the same.  I will never be the same.

I could have held my daughter today, in a different world.

That world is dead.



  1. oh beth, i soooo get it....i am so sorry eve didn't make it.....big hugs, and thank you for your authenticity xx

  2. This absolutely breaks my heart. I have no words of encouragement; nothing I say can take away the pain. But I will pray for some measure of peace, for some miraculous comfort, to be yours today.

  3. Thanks, Callie. xoxo

  4. beautiful as usual!

    as one of those other mothers, let me tell you what i think better to function.....then progressively better....

    you will be happy won't ever be as naive as you were before but that's a good thing.... you appreciate the miracle of will become a better version of you.....and you will feel like your old self again....just a better version! (if that's possible!!)

    i am sorry this is so hard for you. i would not think of every day for the next month as a possibility lost or else you will drown yourself in your deep pool of grief.....focus on her due date and get through something meaningful on that hubby and i released a heart shaped and a happy b-day balloon by the tree my family planted in my son's may not be much but it was enough. and actually the day before was the day i broke down....the anticipation is the worst....the day of, i was happy!

    and always know that every day you get through, you are one day closer to holding Eve again! and that she is ALWAYS with you!

    love and hugs to you!

  5. Thanks for your sweet words, Penny. Today is turning out to be not quite as heavy as I expected. One day at a time, that's how this goes, huh? And I didn't mean to be snarky toward other babylost mamas saying that it gets "better" -- I just meant that for me, other words fit with what they mean more closely. I totally agree that the coping will improve...but the loss will never be unlost. I will have to think of something to do on Eve's due date!

  6. Your words are dripping with the pain of raw grief....the grief that only a mother aching for her baby can express. I remember well feeling as if the world I knew was gone...the stark reality that I would never be the same. We would never be the same. Nothing would ever be the same. I also remember wanting to throw something...break it shatter into a million pieces just like my broken heart. Knowing that nothing really could relieve that canyon of grief...because nothing could bring my children back. I wondered if I would ever feel normal again...or find joy again. I felt guilty in the moments when slivers of joy would seep through in the form of a laugh or smile. It was a time of much agony and little relief. And, though I didn't always feel was a time when I was being carried...even in the pit when I was too weak to reach up and cling to the Lord. He held me anyway.

    I won't say it will get better...but I will say that it won't always feel like this. For now...your heart is aching...and you are in the thick of it's mercy. Your heart will always have tender places...and will always carry the spot where Eve's footprints are evident. You will not be the same...but your heart will heal. You may always walk with a limp. But, there will be some beauty...even in this. I hate even typing that right now...knowing that right this agony it is impossible to see past the pain. And, this is the time to allow it all to wash over if we have a choice, right?! A life this precious is worthy of missing...worthy of the tears...the hurt...the anger...the waves of grief that for now will knock you to your knees and beat you senseless some days. But, this season of intense pain is not forever. Having said that, please know that time and healing...none of that will ever change the fact that you are Eve's mother...she will always be part of the tapestry of your life...always part of the person you are...always she will have a sacred part of your heart.

    OK...enough of my words that I fear have done nothing to help and seem trite in the face of this grief. Please know you are not alone and you are being covered in prayer. I hope you will join us for the Walking With You segment coming up...and hope it is of some comfort in this time of great sorrow. ..

    One step at a time....

  7. Thanks for writing this, Kelly. Your words are anything but trite. Thank you. And I do plan to do WWY -- AND today was waaaay better than I thought it would be! Praise God. <3

  8. There's not much one can say to a post such as this, the rawness and emotion moves me to tears. Your anger is a normal natural stage of grieving, how long that will last is personal to you, be aware that there are 4 more stages and you need to keep talking, sharing and ask for help, never feel you are alone. I have lost 2 babies but early in pregnancy, that was devasting enough, so I cannot begin to comprehend what you are experiencing. Take care of yourself sweet pea x

  9. I'm sorry that you lost babies, too, Pippa. So sad...even if they were teeny tiny, they were still yours. Thanks for your sweet words.

  10. Beth, I'm so sorry. I still have days where I want to break things like I have been broken. And the raw pain still creeps up on me. It is a hard HARD road. And I'm sorry you're on it too. I wish I could make it better for you- tell you that it won't hurt as much one day. But you know I'd be lying. It will always hurt, I think. They're not here. : (
    Beth, I will pray for you and with you, that God will be near in your raw pain. That his love and care will be evident when you need him. He's with you.

  11. Thank you, Ebe, <3

  12. Beth... I so wish i could wrap my arms around you. I don't even know where to begin. The words you speak are exactly what I remember feeling. It is tragic that our innocence is lost, and that our happiness and optimism all seem a bit naive. I hope as these days that could have been... are gentle on you.

    I can't say that it does get better, but much like what you said- we learn to live with the pain. We are forever changed, and better souls for having known our children. The pain just becomes more tolerable as the years pass. Be gentle on yourself sweet friend. Grief can be so unkind.


  13. i didn't think you were being snarky : )

    and if one day at a time is too much....take it one hour at a time....if that's too hard, one minute.

    and i totally agree, our losses will NEVER be unlost!

  14. very beautiful words Kelly!


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King