Anonymous Mom: I Lost Twins

grieving motherAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

I don’t even know how to define it. Was it a miscarriage? Or was it a neonatal death? Perhaps a stillbirth. Who the hell knows. All I know is it wasn’t just a miscarriage. I tend to use “miscarriage” because it fits much more neatly in this little box in my head, my heart and my soul that I have created just for it. Maybe miscarriage just sounds a little better.

Next week will be seven years since I felt my twins moving in my belly. It’s been almost seven years since I’ve been gloriously naive of what it means to lose a child.  Seven years since my water broke a day before twenty weeks. Seven years since I gave birth to my son…all nine ounces of him.

In a little over two weeks, it will be seven years since I gave birth to my daughter. My beautiful, perfect, precious little daughter. She was eleven ounces. My son died during birth. My daughter was ten days later and a little stronger. She lived for two and a half hours. She died in my arms.

I thought some piece of me would instinctively realize when she passed, especially since I knew the moment was imminent. But I did not. The nurse had to tell me. And just like that, the cautious optimism I had begun to let myself feel for the past ten days while they tried to give her just a few more weeks, burst.

We have since had four beautiful, healthy children. At least once a day, I hold them each just a second longer than necessary. I look into their faces and am occasionally reminded that one day I will have to explain to them that they have two very special angels watching them from heaven.  I will have to tell them, probably around the same time they are old enough to hear me stumble just a little bit when a stranger asks how many children we have. I still have no idea how to answer that question.

I hope they don’t resent me for not telling them sooner. I doubt once they find out they will be stricken with grief. I tend to think when they learn of their lost siblings, the thought of an older brother and sister will be an abstract idea for them. But I once heard, “Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies”. So, just in case, you’ll have to excuse me for wanting to prolong their childhood just a bit longer.

My loss redefined me. It redefined my thoughts, my actions, my beliefs, my relationships and my way of life. No more do I take life for granted, as I have been shown just how fleeting it is. No more do I look at the homeless man on the street with disdain. I now give him the change in my pocket. I have no idea if his problems are of his own making or if he is the victim of misfortune. And to tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter.

I no longer just go through the motions of my particular religion. I see there is a greater purpose. I won’t pretend to know what that purpose is but I do believe there is a reason for everything. The fact that my overwhelming grief did not managed to eat me alive is proof of something greater. No more do I look at my marriage and wonder if we’ll end up like 50% of all marriages do..in divorce. We have made it through something that many couples do not survive. And not just this, a few things, and yet somehow we manage to persevere.

Most importantly, I have learned, as many of you reading this have, while life’s misfortunes sometimes threaten to destroy you, you can and eventually you will grow just a little bit stronger.

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(Photo: OpopO/Shutterstock)

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    • Renee

      Thank you for sharing your story. I lost my son when I was 21 weeks pregnant and so much of what you wrote holds true for me as well. It does redefine you as a person. I’m currently pregnant again and struggle with the feelings of grief and guilt that emerge while expecting this child — very much wanted, but my son is still so greatly missed. I wish pregnancy loss (at any stage) wasn’t such a taboo subject in our society.

      • Andrea

        Is it taboo still? Maybe it is a sensitive subject, that people wouldn’t bring up with just anyone because..well…because it’s not easy to talk about I guess. If you haven’t gone through it (and I haven’t) it’s easy so say something grossly insensitive I think.

        My grandmother told me that those things were NEVER discussed back in the day. It was just not done. Not sure why, except pregnancy in general I guess wasn’t discussed much (there was a time pregnant women didn’t go out in “society”) because it implies that a woman had sex. The very idea!

      • Cedar

        I was 21 weeks as well, and I spent the better part of my next pregnancy (10 years later) in fear til I hit the magical mark of 22 weeks. Even in my different circumstances, it did redefine me – I was 20, my boyfriend took off (@$$), and then I lost the pregnancy, likely due to congenital factors, hence the fear. I didn’t and still don’t know how to define – miscarriage, stillbirth, question-mark? I don’t even know how to bring up to my children some day – my husband (not the @$$) knows and has shown more concern about the topic that the author of that pregnancy ever did. My parents know. My relatively judgemental in-laws, not so much, which makes it quite a tricky situation to bring up to the children, I suppose.

    • Andrea

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      I am not sure how your children will react to the news that they have two older siblings in heaven; but I think you are doing the right thing. You will tell them when they are ready and when you are ready. And it will be OK.

    • KatieLady

      thank you for sharing this , and how it affects you all these yrs later.. its rare to hear how it affects your belief system as well. :) <3

    • MegaMechaMeg

      I understand that the subject is very painful for you, but I don’t think it will be the same for your children. My mother lost her first child at 36 weeks and I grew up knowing about her and beyond the knowledge that it had been a very bad time for my mom I never really cared. Kids are resilliant little sociopaths, I can’t imagine that explaining to them that you had two babies in heaven would be too horrible for them.

    • Veronica Lodge

      My baby’s heart, strong and fast and wildly celebrated only a couple of weeks ago, stopped beating. I am heartbroken, in more pain than I would have ever guessed. My two sons and husband had a long list of silly names: Barto Farto. Harry Larry. Beautiful Gorgeous. I keep telling myself I will feel better after my D&C on Tuesday. I don’t know how much of this is hormonal or biochemical or whatever and how much of this is sadness because this sucks. It just really sucks and hurts and I can’t get a grip. I hope I don’t feel this way seven years from now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/carol.a.ranney Carol A Ranney

      My mother lost a baby when I was very small. I never found out til she died. But it has been something important to me, knowing that there were/are five of us, not four. I have also lost two sons and edit a bereaved parents’ newsletter.

      Broken
      Hearts, Living Hope
      Free support for bereaved families
      Download
      subscription form at:
      http://www.brokenheartslivinghope.com