Monday, August 2, 2010


Dear Stevie,
A couple weeks ago, Dad and I got into a pretty big fight. We were in the car, driving home from Chipotle, when he got a phone call from an old friend from college that he hadn't seen or talked to in a couple of years. I was playing around on my phone, not really paying attention, when I heard him say it:

"I'm doing really good actually."

I felt my jaw drop open, my eyes well up with tears. I shot him The Glare (you know the one, the look that says, "I'm super pissed and you need to get off the phone right NOW!"), and he wrapped up his conversation and hung up the phone. Then the following exchange took place:

Him: "What's your problem?"

Me: "Are you serious??"

Awkward silence while he tries to figure out what he did wrong.

Me: "Good to know your daughter dying has been such a positive experience in your life."

Him (getting defensive): "Whoa. What are you talking about?"

Me (practically shouting): "Your friend asked you how you've been and you said 'really good.' How can you be 'really good' when your baby just died??"

Him: "You need to chill out. Just because I don't feel the need to tell everyone in the world about Stevie, doesn't mean I'm not sad or that I don't care."

Me: "You didn't have to tell him the whole story. You could have said 'I'm doing alright,' or 'I've been fine,' but 'REALLY good, actually??' Like, this has been a particularly wonderful time in your life or something??"

Him: "You're being ridiculous."

Me (staring out the window): "Whatever."

We got home. I stomped into the house and up the stairs, then proceeded to cry into my pillow for the next 20 minutes or so. Eventually, of course, we talked and patched things up, and had a fine rest of the evening watching "Rescue Me" on the laptop or something. But slight variations of this exact same fight keep popping up all over the place lately. He isn't sad enough. He doesn't cry enough. He doesn't bring you up in conversation enough. And it's not just Dad. Our families aren't sad enough. Our parents don't cry enough. Our friends don't bring you up in conversation enough.

I get mad at people for not grieving as "hard" as I am or whatever, but I totally understand why they're not. It's hard, because as sad as Dad, our families, and our friends are about you dying, they didn't know you like I did. I am literally the only person in the world who really knew you. Everyone else knew all about you, but everything they knew, they knew because I told them. They knew you liked spicy food...because I told them. They knew you liked dancing to Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder...because I told them. They never got the chance to "experience you" for themselves.

To them, you were an idea; to me, you were flesh and blood.

They loved what you were to become; I loved what you already were.

They never held you while you were alive; I held you in my tummy for 6 and a half months.

They mainly grieve for your unfulfilled future; I also grieve for the time we did share together.

I am the only one who knows you as more than a sort of abstract thought, really. We had a physical connection, you and I, that magical bond only a mother can have with her unborn child.

It's lonely, just lonely, being the mother of a stillborn baby. Being alone on your own little island of grief has to be one of the worst feelings in the world. I wish you would have lived, even just for a moment. Long enough for your Daddy and the rest of our family and friends to have "experienced" your beautiful soul that way I did.

I miss you, baby. I miss who you were and I miss what you would have become. I am so thankful for those 181 days I got to bond with you and get to know you, my little girl. I've never looked into your eyes, or heard the sound of your voice, but I feel like I know you, the way only a mother can know her daughter.

And, dear daughter, I love who you are so much.



Curls O Fred said...

It is so very hard when you don't feel others grieving as deeply. It took my husband 6-7 months to finally realize he wasn't doing as well as he thought he was. Not to say that is how other men might react. He's unique. You did know Stevie in a different way, and that means you feel that grief in a different way, like you said. Sorry it's so hard. I know what that feels like though. Sending love and hugs.

Andrea said...

*tears* All i can say is Ditto....all those feelings, I've felt them.

Yep, my husband went on with life as usual and we had "that" argument...still do. He will never feel what I felt and he will never understand the total perameters of a Mother's grief process. You summed it up best, the outsiders just don't grieve hard enough...and they never will. SAD


Your hubby is no different from the mass majority of men whose wives stories I've encountered over the past year. We've all had "that" moment when we resented them for not "grieving as we do" and we've all sobbed into that pillow. The difference in male and female emotional ties is just so different. And you are right, it feels lonely and isolating.

All I can offer you is support and love...know that this community was what saved me when I lost Christian. At a time when I needed my husband (who like your hubby is wonderful) the most, was when he failed me the worst. Not because he didn't care, but because we are simply composed/wired differently.

Take good care of yourself and keep channeling those feelings onto this blog. Keep Mothering Stevie right here.


Jill said...

Oh my, I have so many tears reading this. I used to get upset when someone was not grieving like I was and then I realized that we all grieve in our own ways. The way you describe how you knew Stevie is so beautiful. There are so many special bonds you have that no one else knows or got to experience. Thinking of you and sending lots of love! xo

Julie said...

i am in tears, kristin. and yes, it IS incredibly LONELY being the mother of a stillborn baby.


Danae said...

My DH doesn't talk about Bailey...period. He will only talk about her if it is something directly related to her, or if I talk about her. He doesn't bring her up. My parents don't talk about her...and it hurts. It's incredibly lonely. But, you are right, they didn't have the bond like we had with our babies. Even though Bailey wasn't stillborn, the 54 minutes we had with her, no one got to see her alive except my husband...and that was so he could make the heartbreaking decision to take her off of life support. She was already gone by the time I was out of my surgery.

Although I never got to know Stevie, except through you and your blog, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you and her. Sending you hugs!

Betsy & Kurt said...

This post really, really hit home for me! I have done so much reading about loss, and everything says that the mom will always greive harder. But it never really ocurred to me until now exactly why that is. I've never thought about the loneliness in this way, and you are so right.

Dana said...

That is exactly it. We are the only ones who really knew our babies, everyone just knows about them. We felt their kicks, we felt everything and no one else in the world did. It is lonely and no one is grieving for Jacob the way I am. Sometimes my DH even asks me what is wrong. What does he think is wrong? I give the same answer every single time "I'm sad about Jacob" and he doesn't ask as much now.

No one in my family, aside from DH, said anything about yesterday being 2 months. One sister remember the 1 month anniversary of his birth, but not a peep from anyone at the 2 month anniversary. It was very lonely. Thank goodness I knew there were babyloss mom's out there thinking about us.

butterflymom said...

First of of all, Kristin...this is a beautiful post and includes so many emotions that all babyloss mamas feel. I sit 9 months removed from the loss of my little girl, and I still grieve and want people to talk about what has happened or talk about her. The loss of a baby is such a huge, life-changing event in our lives, that we feel should be talked about and felt by others who are a part of our lives. I want people to know why I am the way I am's because I lost my baby. I am lonely too...but I'm thinking of you and other mothers out there. Sending lots of love to you.

Andrea said...

My heart aches reading this. Perfectly said! It is a lonely journey and I think we want everyone to understand just a little. I've had the same moment with my husband. Wondering if he thinks about Oliver every single day, like I do. Thinking of you and precious Stevie.

Lori said...

After Matthew died, John was devastated. Truly, truly, I had never seen someone so broken (other than I was) in my entire life.

Oddly, I found that I wasn't alone and John knew just what I was feeling.

He told me he worried that he'd seem like he was doing better than I was faster than I did and I'd resent him for it. I couldn't believe that would ever happen, seeing how broken he was then, but...he was right...sometimes I do.

The man held that precious and perfect little boy in his arms as he took his last breaths...something I didn't have the opportunity to do and yet don't envy for all the money in the world knowing those are memories that will never, ever be erased. But when I cry sometimes, he tells me, "I'm sorry."

I get mad because I'm like, "Why are YOU sorry? You should be just as sad and someone should be telling US they are sorry! You shouldn't be comforting me like YOU didn't experience it!"

But then I think about how unbelievably broken he was...and how I can't imagine what it must have been like to see all his hopes and dreams die right there in his arms.

And that's the proof for me that we REALLY are wired differently and there's just no, no, NO way to know what a mother loses...or what a father loses.

So I try to extend him some grace. It's hard, because you are right--it's lonely and exhausting.

And just. so. unfair.

Thinking of you lots and lots.

cspears said...

I want to thank you for your candid sharing of your feelings. I have not experienced what so many of you have, and can not, therefore, even begin to understand what you have gone through. My friend lost her son Kamdin 3 months and 3 days ago. She has been following your blog since and finds comfort in your posts. I am so thankful that I am able to read your posts so I can better understand what she may be feeling and experiencing so I can try to be there for her. Thank you! Sending my thoughts and prayers to you and all of your followers.

Ausmerican Housewife said...

I snapped at my husband last week for putting some cutlery back in the drawer in the wrong place. He was messing up the one tiny thing that I still had control over and I couldn't stand it. Patched up a while later but still irritated the hell out of me. That and he hasn't vacuumed the house like he usually does. It hasn't been done since before Evan was born. I want clean floors!

(Some irrational post-natal first cycle hormonal ranting for you.)

This just sucks.

Brie said...

We've had the exact same exchange that you and Andy did, over and over....It definitely makes a mother feel even more alone when the father seems to go on with life as normal as everyone else does. I know my husband wishes our outcome was a hapy healthy girl, but sometimes I feel like he is ashamed or embarassed because he doesn't tell people about her or our experience.

I have to remind myself that he deals with grief and loss different than I do. He reflects in private, while I want EVERYONE to know that I too am a mom, but my baby didn't make it.

The important thing is to re-center and talk things out after a fight even if it means agreeing to disagree and not always understand each other 100%. As crazy as our husbands process seems to us ( can't they cry?!), ours seems equally as crazy to them.

Hang in there Kristin

pennynjon said...

I hate that lonely feeling. I feel that way a lot too. I have thought about that so much lately. You put it into words so well. I really feel like nobody else can feel like we do, because they didn't get to bond with our babies like we did. ((hugs)) You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I can definitely relate. After I lost my baby I felt zero emotional support from my husband. Even my parents, who are usually empathetic and supportive, just didn't understand. It used to enfuriate me when my mother asked me, "What's wrong? Why do you sound sad?" only weeks after I lost the baby. I was so angry and felt so alone.

What helped me immensely was joining a support group for others who had experienced pregnancy/ infant loss. We all understood eachother there and I am still in touch with the terrific women I met there. I highly recommend it.

Lisette said...

What a beautiful post. It describes so many of the feelings I have felt. I always have to remind myself that we all grive differently especially daddy's. I know my hubby hurts just like me but in different ways than me. It took me a while to adjust to that. Thinking of you ((HUGS)).

Erin said...

It's amazing how universal the feeling is between grieving mothers. This post was amazing. We lost our little boy, our first born, our miracle baby in March and some days I feel exactly like I did the day we lost him. Now I wonder why others don't bring him up in conversation like they used to. It's like I expect everyone to think of him as much as I do. I get upset that no one is talking about him anymore when he is on my mind constantly. There is so much comfort in your posts, Kristin. I hope you find comfort in knowing you are not alone on this journey. Loss of a loved one...a so hard to survive some days, but we're still here. We still have work to do in our lifetime!

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Franchesca said...

You said it perfectly. We loved them for who they were and other loved them for who they'd become. It was extremely difficult for me to process when my parents and hubby didn't grieve the way I did. It's understandable, but it is very very lonely. So sorry, Kristin.

thinking of you. xxxx

Lara + Chris said...

Ditto ditto ditto. This post was so well written, and I think any number of us could have said the same thing (though not as eloquently!).

Mary said...

We all greive differently. Men are very different from us. It took me a while to get that. I was so annoyed with my husband at the wake. I was sitting there trying to keep it together and I could hear him laughing it up like he was at some party. I've never told him but sometimes when I remember that day it brings up so many angry feelings. Since then I try to remember we both lost a son and we are dealing the best way we know how.

Violet1122 said...

The lonliness and emptiness, to me, is what truly eats away at your soul. I'm hoping you are feeling some moments of peace over the next few days. But I know it's just not right - Stevie should be there with you.

My DH does not talk about our losses much. I try to remind myself - I cannot make him grieve the way I want. He is grieving in his own way. But sometimes that can be really hard.

Another Dreamer said...

Oh hun, lots of (*hugs*) Such a beautiful heartbreaking post- and so very honest and to the heart of the matter.

Sometimes people just don't know what to say, or grieve the same way. When my niece was stillborn, you are right- I didn't know her like my sister, but I loved her too- and so grief became a barrier instead of a time for closeness. Because I didn't know what to say, not even knowing that anything could be better than silence. I wish there was a manual for the loss of a child- I really do.

Melissa said...

No one could have explained this better than you just did. I like the part "they didn't know you like I did" because it's so true!

shabbycottagegirl said...

They don't know how to relate-our men. They don't know that we spend every moment of everyday thinking about our babies. And if they do know it on some level they don't quite grasp the severity of it.

Thinking of you and Stevie today and always...

Antoinette said...

I have been 'there' many times kristin. unlike us, the guys dont want to speak about their hurt with other guys, unless those guys have been through it as well. anthony really doesnt allow others to see his pain, he has this "mask" i wish i could wear sometimes too. but he really started to show his grieving about 2 months ago and it lasted for a few short weeks, and i think it was the anticipation of fathers day. once that past he seems "normal" and when we talk about it my heart breaks for him because I know how not normal he feels. you are right. WE knew the babies in a way no one else did. at night when alyssa wore her dancing shoes in my belly, he was sound asleep. when she made me throw up for 20 weeks. he helped me, but didnt know that i was happy to offer this sacrifice to her. when it was time to deliver her, it was my body and my heart that suffered at the same time. it was just his heart. we are always going to 'miss' them differently because we carried their lives differently. they loved the 'idea' of what being a daddy to the little girls would be like, we already WERE mommies the minute our bodies became their homes...((hugs)) communication is KEY!!!!

Lynda said...

I feel like I could have wrote this myself. My eyes are flooded with tears for you and for Stevie.

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