I know I’ve slowed down considerably on the posts lately, but I’ve been taking the distraction approach to surviving this week that was supposed to mark Isaac’s much-awaited arrival. It’s easy to find myself drowning in thoughts of what we should have been doing at any given moment in time. I still look at my photos of Isaac daily, and I still find ways to talk about him and remember him. I simply needed to divert my often obsessive mind a bit and be more present. I’ve been helping my youngest sister get ready for college (while trying not to feel ancient in the process). I’ve been re-setting up our desk so that I can keep on top of the office construction project I am managing. I’ve been playing with our puppy and enjoying these lingering summer days to the best of my ability. You know . . . life. For some reason, it just keeps chugging forward.
My new reality in this post-Isaac world has had me thinking a lot about something my grief therapist said (sidenote: I will continue to recommend a grief specialist to anyone who loses their child). At the end of my most recent appointment, she said, “When you lose your parents, you’re an orphan. When you lose your husband you are a widow. When you lose your wife you’re a widower. But when you lose your child, there is no name for you, because the world can’t contemplate something so terribly out of the natural order.” I know that the community of parents who have suffered through such a loss have come up with some obvious names. I’ve seen loss mommies and bereaved parents. One that makes me cringe a bit is childless parents. I suppose that’s exactly what we are at this point. I feel like a parent and mother, but there just isn’t a baby to hold and love and nurture. Regardless, there just isn’t an entry in the dictionary that begins to describe what my husband and I became that terrible day in July.
I guess it makes sense. Everyone dreads it, but they realize that someday they will lose their parents. Sadly, one spouse almost always leaves this world before the other. These are the types of losses that we hear about or see first hand on a routine basis. No one expects to lose their baby. No one sees the extra line on the pregnancy test and thinks that they might give birth to a baby that will never cry. In part, this is because we live in a world that just doesn’t talk about this stuff. Maybe it’s time that changed. There are roughly 23,600 stillbirths in the US alone every single year. That means that 47,200 men and women become a part of this nameless club that we never asked to become a part of. Maybe we should have a name.