I am so happy to welcome a guest writer to Glow in the Woods today. After a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy, Burning Eye's first baby Joseph was stillborn on December 27, 2012, at 35 weeks. Writing and art have been integral parts of her grieving process. I have been so deeply moved by her writing and artwork, reminding me of the urgency in the early months and the timelessness of grief. Her blog is These are the things I'm made of. Please join the conversation below. --Angie
I gave birth to death.
Our baby boy, stillborn. I gave birth to him knowing he had already died. Knowing all the labor, all the pain, would be for nothing. Wishing they could anesthetize me and cut him out and I could wake up a year later, another eight-month baby growing healthy in my womb.
But, delivery is indicated, they told me after showing me on the monitor where our baby’s heart was hollow and still.
The drive to the hospital was like driving to my own funeral.
I gave birth to death.
But I gave birth. In the end, I know that going through it was the biggest gift to my son I could have given him. To be present, to be awake, to open up my body and let him go, was the only right way to honor his passing. I gave him life, carried him for eight months, and birthed him.
Stillbirth. It is still birth.
And still, I give birth to Death every day. Every day that I wake alive, I must acknowledge Death. To have our baby in my life, I must invite Death in, too.
What if Death is a woman? A. asks.
On the eve of our baby’s due date, five weeks after his birth, we decide to welcome Death into our lives.
What if Death is a woman? A woman who is simply doing her job. After all, it’s a job someone has to do. She is older, stern but not unkind. Weathered, but unbowed by the weight of her task. Perhaps she weeps as she does her work. But she is unapologetic. Accepting.
I look this Death over. She holds our baby in her arms, partially wrapped in her cloak. Neither tender nor threatening. Was she a mother once, too?
I take one step closer.
She didn’t snatch him away, I see. She came slowly, quietly. I came because I had to, she tells me.
I look Death in the eye.
I gave birth to you, I say.
And I say, Come in.
What was the experience of birth like for you? Did you know your child or children had died? Were you given a diagnosis? Have you treated Death like a person? How do you picture Death?