Hope

I know mothers who have lived a nightmare.

 

The mother who fears her adopted baby will be taken back.

 

The one who waits and waits and no adoption ever comes through.

 

The mother whose baby never wakes in the crib.

 

The one whose baby dies in childbirth.

 

And others, mothers who could say, “I am a mother”

With no living proof.

 

This was my worst nightmare. For a child of mine to die.

 

I think about my ancestors, those strong Nebraska farmwives, those unknown Texas

housewives, who watched baby after baby, child after child, succumb to all

the fragile limits of mortality.

 

Now I have a new nightmare—that theirs could become

my own, one more stone on my chest.

 

I hope this is the only worst day of your life, my mother wishes me, on the day

I give birth to our baby boy

who had already died.

 

© Burning Eye

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4 thoughts on “Hope

  1. Lisa says:

    “I hope this is the only worst day of your life” – I love this. Hugs and prayers for you ❤

  2. Angie says:

    This is so beautiful, moving. I remember thinking in the hospital, waiting to give birth to my dead daughter that this is the worst day of my life. But maybe it was really the best worst day of my life. Leaving without was definitely the worst, then the days after felt so much darker and harder than the day I held her. Someone in this community once said, and I quote it often, “I wish I had known that holding my dead baby was the highlight of this effing experience.” And that is it. In the moment, you just want to end the worst day of your life, then for the next however long, you pine for the moments when you could kiss, hold, look at them, smell them…sorry for the long comment, but it kicked off that longing to hold her in me. Thank you for that on this Monday morning.

    • Burning Eye says:

      I wish I’d known, too, about how much I would wish to go back and hold Joseph longer. But if someone had told me at the time I should spend more time with our baby, I couldn’t have taken that in, couldn’t have understood it. I resisted thinking about those regrets for a few months, but slowly I’m letting myself have that wishful retroactive yearning.

      • Juliet says:

        Holding Peregrine is probably the best thing I’ve ever done and it lasted only a few minutes. I regret not holding him longer, not asking the nurses if I could bathe him, not holding him again when they offered after his bath. But I also remember that it felt like the right choice at the time, and I try to respect and forgive my then-self for those choices. I have learned from listening to parents in my support group that it is never enough. Enough would be holding them now, alive.

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