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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