Tag Archives: vulnerability

Letter 1: Losing a Baby

This post is written in the format of a letter to my son.

I think you may know that two years before you were born I lost a baby. That was the most devastating loss I have ever experienced. Even though I only knew about his existence for three days, I already loved him dearly and when the pregnancy had to be terminated because it was not viable my heart was broken.

I can’t even think of the words to describe how I felt. Devastated is the only word that keeps coming to me. Even now, more than 20 years later, I sometimes cry when I think of losing him.

I had seen his heartbeat on the ultrasound. He was real, as real as any baby that has already been born. He was a part of me, literally. And it felt exactly like I had lost a part of myself.

People tell you that you can try again, but that is no comfort at all. Any other baby will not be the baby I lost. As much as I love you – and I do love you more than you can probably imagine – you are not the baby I lost. I love him, too, and I grieve for him.

Intellectually, I understand the physical reality of why the pregnancy could not continue. It was an ectopic pregnancy, in the fallopian tube rather than the uterus, and not only is that unviable for the baby, but also put my life at risk.

And, none of that matters to me. I can remember being in the doctor’s office after finding out the news. I called your dad and just fell apart. I lost it. I couldn’t understand how when they can implant a fetus from a test tube in a uterus, why they couldn’t move my baby from the fallopian tube to the uterus.

Again, intellectually I get that it’s not possible. But when you’re facing losing someone you love so very, very much, you search for every imaginable way to avert that loss.

It all happened so quickly. I’m not sure if that was a blessing or a curse. I like to think it was a blessing. If I had gotten used to the idea of being pregnant and having this baby growing inside me over a period of time and then lost him, I don’t know how I could have withstood it.

I can’t even imagine how people who have a baby that is stillborn or dies shortly after birth can stand it. It’s inconceivable. But they do. I’m sure I would, too, but I can’t imagine surviving a greater pain than the one I felt. I hope that can help you understand how incredibly devastated I was.

And now for the silver lining in all of this. Without this experience, you may never have been born. This pregnancy was not planned. Your dad and I had been going back and forth about having a child and were in a phase of thinking we didn’t want to have a child when I got pregnant.

Having been pregnant with this baby I lost got me off the fence. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind from that point forward that I wanted to have a child. And I am grateful for coming to that understanding about myself.

I believe this pregnancy was divine intervention – a message from the Universe. I came to believe that there was purpose in this loss. And believing in that purpose has helped mitigate the grief.

I still sometimes think about the baby I lost, and sometimes I still feel the grief. But in addition, there is a huge amount of gratitude for the message he brought to me. I wanted to have a child. No doubt, no waffling, no question.

And so you came into my life.

Letters to My Son

A little over three years ago my teenage son and I had a blow-up. It wasn’t even about anything very important, but it was the culmination of a lot of anger on both our parts that had built up over several years. He was living with his father and visiting me at the time we had the fight. I told him to leave, which he did gladly, and I have not heard from him since.

At the time, I had no way of knowing that fight would turn into the estrangement that it has. Over the years I have made multiple attempts to start down the path of reconciliation, but have not received any response from him.

Today I had an a-ha that brought together and integrated different realizations that I have had over the time we have been apart.

In thinking about the fact that I haven’t missed him very much during this time, I realized that was because the relationship that we had was superficial. I long to have a close relationship with him, yet as he was growing up I was unable to be authentic and vulnerable with him. That authenticity and vulnerability is the very basis for an intimate relationship. Not surprisingly, he was not authentic and vulnerable with me, either.

So, I haven’t missed him because there was nothing much there to miss. And, I’d like that to be different.

Of course, I realize that there are two people in a relationship, and I can only do my part. But I also realize that if I’m not willing to go first and put myself out there, he probably never will. And, even if we never reconcile, even if I never hear from him again, I want him to know me. I want him to know who I am on the inside, which I have hidden from him most of his life.

To that end, I decided that I would start sending him stories from my life. I’m removing the mask of perfection and detachment from being emotional that I’ve worn with him.

I’ll let him see times I was hurting or scared. I’ll let him see times I did something I regret. I’ll let him see times things didn’t turn out the way I wanted.

And, I’ll also let him see the joy and love that has been in my life.

I will be sharing these stories on this blog as well because its purpose when I began it nearly five years ago was for me to show up authentically. There may be stories related to my son that I choose not to share because it would violate his privacy. But beyond that, my intention is to be an open book.

I remember when I first began blogging how terrified I was to be seen. The feedback I received here was a huge support in me being able to continue being more authentic and more vulnerable.

Today I find it almost amusing how scared I was to “expose myself” in the beginning. Today I am mostly comfortable letting people see me with all my foibles and imperfections, yet there are still times I hold back from being fully seen. Here is my opportunity to change that.

Thank you again for your continuing support!