I am honored to be able to share my story with Unspoken Grief.
I feel as though I have a story to tell because I, truth be told, did not want to be a mother. In fact, I prayed that I was not actually pregnant. But after losing my son, I would give anything to have had him.
I was 19 years old, and I was in my first year of college. I didn’t have a job, I had never had a job, and I didn’t even have my driver’s license. My parents wanted me to focus on school, and I was grateful. I also happened to be in love, and I was engaged to be married. I didn’t think about contraception, neither did he, and before I knew it my period was late. We were scared. Terrified, really. He was getting college acceptance letters, and I was going to buy a pregnancy test. How had the world come to that? I was a straight “A” student, English major and budding teacher. I was ever the careful, cautious one. Yet my world was spiraling out of control, and I was so scared.
There was a little life growing inside of me. And I didn’t even have a minimum-wage job.
But he did. Tyler. The man I was going to marry, the father of my child, the light of my life, the epitome of a good man. He had only turned 19 two months earlier. It was a part-time job at a grocery store. He made $8 an hour. “I’ll switch to full-time and work nights. That way you can stay in school, and I’ll stay with the baby.” That’s what he said. He was ready to give up everything for us. He wouldn’t let me give up my dreams. The terror remained. I didn’t tell him when I knew I was pregnant.
Then, some 24 days later, terror was replaced with grief.
I remember feeling bad that day. My back ached, I felt so sick. Was this morning sickness? I still hadn’t told my mom. My mom would know. I thought about calling her. I was at school, she was at work. There’s no way she would pick up. Then a pain that wretched through me. I thought I was dying. I went to the bathroom. What else to do, right? I saw what had been my child leave me. I flushed the toilet in shock. I tried to convince myself that it was my period just starting a month late. Not true. I didn’t tell Tyler right away. That bathroom still haunts me. I went to classes like normal. It didn’t hit me until I told Tyler forty-eight hours later. He had to take in one gulp that I was pregnant and that I had lost that child.
Miscarriage. What a mean, terrible word. It sounds as though I messed up. That I failed that I was carrying a baby and dropped him.
Him. We named him Allen. In Celtic, it means harmony and stone.
I didn’t tell my parents, and to this day they do not know. Tyler’s parents know nothing. I eventually told a few close friends. A best friend knew, and in my grief he left me. We’re no longer friends. Two months after Allen’s death, I lost my cherished dog to a hit-and-run. Two weeks after that, my grandfather died. The day of Tyler’s graduation, a friend committed suicide. Two days before my high school guidance counselor died.
My world was a living nightmare. I had never been to a funeral before. On the outside, I was blonde, beautiful and smiling. Inside… I can’t even begin to describe the hatred I held for myself. Why didn’t I accept my child? If only I had gone to a doctor, I would have had prenatal care. The sound of a heartbeat. An ultrasound. I have none of these things. I didn’t even have a body to bury. My son is gone, and I had nothing to hold on to but a broken heart.
A year later, I have left that dark place. I’m still in college. I’m going to be a teacher, and I hope to one day have more children. I still hold regrets, and I have really bad days, but it’s OK. I have learned so much from the loss of the child I never planned on having.
I have learned that “what-ifs” are cruel.
I have learned how to love better than ever before.
I have learned to find the good in each and every single day.
I have learned how to give, and keep on giving, to make the world a brighter place.
I have learned how to keep faith, and I have renewed my relationship with my heavenly father.
My relationship with Tyler is stronger now than ever before. We have shared this grief, and we have walked forward together, hand-in-hand. I have no doubts about marrying him. If he could love me through the loss of my child, he can love me through everything. I can love him the same way. We have such an unconditional love for each other, and for our angel.
Every day I am grateful to my son, who taught me more than I ever could have taught him. His existence has given me new life and purpose. I will make the world a better place, in his name. I see him in the sunshine, in the birds, in the butterflies. He is my angel, a child with blond hair and green eyes. A child free from pain and hardship. I am so glad to be his mommy, and I want to tell all the mommies out there who are struggling that they will be OK, given plenty of time and love. We must not give hope, for our babies are out there. They are out there, and I know that one day I will see my Allen. We will hold each other, and our long separation will have ended.
The world may not see me as a mother, but I know in my heart that I am.
Photo credit: adapted from thecrazyfilmgirl | Flickr