Lessons in loss

 photo by  Margaret Durow
Michelle and her husband Ian lost their second son, Cameron, at 38 1/2 weeks. As they move through the very early territory post-loss, she shares with us a guest post today on navigating a new normal. "Some days are darker then others," she says. "But we have to believe the future is bright."

While getting ready for bed tonight, I caught a glimpse of our honeymoon pictures. My husband and I, four years younger, were completely oblivious to what lay ahead. I had no idea about so many things.

I didn't know that I would give birth to a beautiful baby boy, Nathan. I hadn't yet experienced the joy that pregnancy would bring—the laying awake at night with my hand on my stomach, enjoying every kick, every roll.

I didn't know how powerful the emotions would feel on the day of his birth, or how that day would change my whole world.

I didn't know about the joy and beauty that waited for us.

I didn't know about the heartache that waited too.

I didn't know that my second pregnancy would be every bit as joyous and wonderful as the first, only to come crashing down without warning just a week and a half before my due date.

I didn't know that instead of welcoming a second son into this world, I would hear the words that will haunt me for the rest of my life: I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.

I didn't know that there was another side of labour and birth—that of no happy ending. I didn't know that we would have to make tearful calls to our family and friends, or plan a funeral to bury our baby boy.

I can hardly recognize us in pictures from our honeymoon. Such small, trivial things used to bring stress and worry. The future is now a question mark, and life from here on out is unknown. We are forever changed and broken.

But now, I also know that Ian and I have family and friends that love us. They brought food, love and comfort in the darkest of days. They understand that while life must move on, our lives do not. Not in the same way they once did.

I know that every second is precious.

I know that every morning that I wake up and snuggle with someone I love is a gift.

I know that every person deserves to be treated with kindness.

I hope we rediscover our honeymoon selves. Instead of looking at old photos wondering what happened to us, I will try to look and remember the peace, love and happiness, and how much we felt like kids.

Our family of three should be four. I carried Cameron for 38 weeks, and he still has things to teach me. I will look for more of his lessons. He is not here, but I still carry him with me everywhere.

When you encounter photos, memories, or people of your past, how do you reflect on your selves before and after loss? How have you changed?