In her post I love my baby no matter what, Aleina reminds us of the weight of what seems to be a 'decision' -- a weight that many of us NICU parents can relate to, having had to face the sudden, counter-intuitive quiet of a ventilator. But as Aleina writes, the word 'decision' tends to work best when applied to a situation with at least two, if not a variety, of choices. And when it comes to the ending of a child's life, 'choice' is an illusion.
She writes: Even in the initial phone call when Patricia mentioned that the specialists would be discussing my "options" with me, my head spun. What options? This was my baby. There were no options.
And then...well, everything changed. What happens when all the options are awful? What happens when life is not necessarily the best option for your own child? What happens when you have to choose their well being or yours? Just like any mother, you choose your child's.
Aleina's writing is tender, forgiving, raw and timely. This month, we consider this corner of babylost parenthood -- fathers and mothers backed into a corner by fate -- and we offer them our love and appreciation for sharing their voices.
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This season's Glow in the Woods Awards drummed up a fantastic array of writing. We always hope you visit our nominees, but this month, we're coming straight out and asking you: please go through them all. Read their words to perhaps smile, or think, or nod your head in recognition, or cry healing, balmy tears. Thanks to all of you for expressing this journey with such grace.
The following nominations for Spring 2009 encompass posts from March, April and May. To review all the winners so far, go here. Nominate any time -- whenever you find a post that moves you, send it us. We're constantly grateful for all of your voices, for all that you share in this space and with each other.
Our glowing nominees for March, April and May, in random order:
D of Klepsydra for Letter never sent | That’s when I really fell in love with this miraculous mystery person… this little being that would become a full-blown person, hopefully better than me in ways that would surprise and dismay me. I was in love with this little/big person, and I was ready to become a father.
Adrienne of Noah Steven for 3 years ago | There is no 'right way' to grieve nor is there only one way. But don't forget to grieve because in grief, you look close enough, there is beauty, such great beauty!
Heather of The Spohrs Are Multiplying for He rests under a shady tree | …it hit me that my beloved Grandma would have understood exactly how I was feeling. That we had a terrible, terrible thing in common. I missed her so much in that moment.
Angie of Still Life with Circles for Angie weeping | I felt such a pull of two emotions. One screamed like an insane women, "Get me out of here. Get me out of here." And the other wanted to pull each person to this painting and say, "See how sad she is. This is how sad I am too."
Mrs. Spit of Mrs. Spit Spouts Off for You can’t divide by zero | The ride of infertility is a long one, with many exit points. The problem is, none of them seem to be clearly marked. Perhaps we ride around and around, and for some of us, I think maybe we fall off in exhaustion at some point...
Jenni of Demeter’s Feet for Two months and sticky spaghetti | I'm able to say that I feel a little better without feeling desperate and guilty and profoundly separated from my little girl...there is some spaghetti sticking to the wall.
Jessicat of Dear Gus for Circles and spirals | I keep getting out of bed every morning, and cling to the assurances of the people who have been down this path before us that the pain of losing you will not always be this raw; I’ll develop some scar tissue eventually.
Once a Mother for Moving on | I didn’t choose to have a child born terminally ill. I didn’t choose to fall in love with her, to let her huge spirit envelop me and to believe in her ability to beat this.
Gal of Growing Inside for How do you fill your jar | A rabbi stood before hisyeshivaclass and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was…
Anne of Hello, Fancy Pants! For Hearts-on-sleeves-or-falling-out-of-two | I need a sign, a sign that says, ‘Please leave me in peace. This is my 7th pregnancy, and you can see I only have 2 living children…’
Inanna of Inanna Journey for William’s birth story: hello and goodbye | Why had I been so afraid of him? Afraid to see him, touch him, even think of him, after I knew he was gone? Death scares us so much, that constant reminder. We're mortal. We live, we die. We're transient, our time here so short.
Catherine W of Between the Snow and the Huge Roses for Things that I hope | I hope you know how much I wanted to nurse you when I was allowed to hold you. Even though I knew you were dying, I still wanted to give you life. So much.
Molly of The Unlucky Lottery for Spreading Colden’s ashes | I had carried him. It was really important to me to do it myself, to carry him as I had once carried him within me. So I took that awful little white box from the funeral home, and I opened it.