Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No, I don't have any children.

That is what I told the manicurist today.

I swore that I would never deny my son and his existence. Little more than a week after his birth, I've already done it.

I don't even know why I was there. All summer I kept saying I needed a pedicure but there was no time or money or I was on bedrest. So it never happened. Dh went to see his family and was kind about me staying behind - a universal relief, I think. He was candid, saying that he knew I didn't want to share my grief with them, that we weren't on those terms. My mother was at work and so I was at a loss. I thought I might as well go do that.

I sat there and tried not to cry. What was the point? Gabriel is dead. Who cares what my toes look like?

And then I moved to the manicurist and she pushed up a sleeve. Of course I still have bruises from the blood draws. I always do. They gasped and asked what happened. I said it was from the hospital when I had blood drawn. They asked if I had been sick and I said yes. They asked if I was well now and I shrugged and nodded.

Then it came. The question I knew would come someday and that I was prepared to answer . . . someday. Did I have any children?

And I said no. No, I don't have any children.

And I screamed inside my head 'Yes, God yes, I have a son and his name is Gabriel and he was born last week and he died just after his birth and I am completely shattered and I don't know how to live the rest of my life without my son.' And I felt like a coward.

When I was done, I sat in the car and I cried and cried and begged him to forgive me.

I'm still crying hours later.

But I couldn't do it. I couldn't throw my son out there as casual conversation. I couldn't take my precious son who was born only a week ago and parade him in front of a stranger who doesn't know and doesn't care and won't remember me or him. He is too special and precious for that. I could not protect him long enough for him to live more than a few minutes, but I can protect him now, at least a little.

And yet, denying him . . . how could I? My sweet baby boy. . . I am so sorry.

I don't know how to navigate this. Who to tell and when. On one hand, I want to shout about him from rooftops, so everyone knows about Gabriel and how much I love him and how devastated I feel without him. And on the other hand, I cannot share him or my grief with just anyone. It is not for the world's consumption. It's hard enough without watching people look away, step away, as if you were contagious, as if the bad dead baby luck might rub off on them if they touch you or look you in the eye. And yet. . . Gabriel.

I want to curl in a ball and let the pain pour over and around me and bury me.


Lindsay said...


Alyssa said...


Stephanie said...

Oh honey, your son is bright and shining in our hearts and yours. I am sending you my love.

Ibis said...

You will find a way to talk about him when you're ready. It's okay to just keep him close to your heart right now.

Meegs said...

I wanted to tell you about: http://www.glowinthewoods.com/ I don't know if you've heard of it or not, but its for parents who have lost their babies. It won't make things better, but it will at least let you read words that actually mirror how you are feeling. It will show how other parents of angels are dealing with similar situations (including that question).

My thoughts are with you, your husband, and your beloved son.

Kristen said...

It is ok to hold him close to you and not talk about him. Thinking of you lots.

Jenn Collins said...

Beautiful lady, you need time for your heart to heal. You haven't done your little boy any disservice, you haven't denied him. You have just endured - survived - what any woman would agree is her worst nightmare. Your wounds are fresh. When your heart begins to heal, you'll talk about him fully and unabashed. The words may come out timidly, in pieces, or they may flow out of you like a dam breaking.

You just need time.

shotzie said...

It's okay to keep him to yourself right now. Eventually you'll be able to talk about him, but don't feel bad for not being ready to do that yet. You take the time you need to wrap your head around it all.

Your post below said about feeling like you should move on because it's been a week, but I don't think grief can be confined in time frames like that. I'm sure it's hard when the world is moving on and you feel stuck trying to figure out how you're supposed to go on without Gabriel. You just take the time you need and do whatever helps you get through each day.


Christy said...

No, don't feel like y ou have dishonored your son. That is so hard and you are not alone in that feeling, that guilt. I did it, too, and felt comfort when I read about others' stories and they did it, too. It is all awful. You are going through enough, you will mention his name when you feel right. I wish I could give you a hug and cry with you.

MSC from GP said...

I had a very similar experience at the dentist's office today. They kept asking me if I had any changes to my medical history and commenting on my sore gums (which I don't normally have) and I just couldn't open my mouth to speak that I had just given birth a week ago.

I'm so sorry for your loss and hope that your memories of Gabriel eventually give you peace.

MSC from GP