Each year, October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and in 1988, President Reagan declared October Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This post is dedicated to my dear friend Zoë, whose son was born still on October 23, 2013.
I suppose you aren’t really a baby – you’d be turning 8 this December, a big second grader who rides the bus to school and probably has homework assignments. I bet you’d be a great reader, too, since your dad and I both love a good book. Maybe you’d be reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe this year. I remember that was the first book that caused me to stay up all night just so I could finish reading.
We were just 12 weeks along when I lost you, so I don’t know if you were a boy or a girl. In dreams, though, you were always a boy, with your daddy’s green eyes and funny square chin, with my round cheeks and dimples. Kind of short and squat, but in those dreams, you always looked so handsome to me. We talked about naming you Robert or Roger, family names. In the journal I kept for you during those few weeks we were together, I always called you “bean.” I wonder whether that nickname would have stuck?
Your daddy and I split up, of course. A few years down the road, but still, I think, at least in part because we lost you. It was hard for me to focus on your daddy because I missed you so much, and after you were gone, daddy realized he didn’t want any babies at all. Don’t worry, though, sweetie, I’m not mad at you. Sometimes mommies and daddies can get along better when they are apart, and it doesn’t mean that I love you any less. Plus, now you have two amazing sisters, and I just know that they would love you so much. Especially Bubba, she’s always looking for someone who can play rough and tumble with her, and for a reading buddy. I can just imagine you two cuddled up on the red couch, you coaching her through Hop on Pop.
Sometimes I miss you so much, sweetie. I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. But, of course, with the girls still so small, I can’t really give into that urge, at least during the day. The nights can be hard, though. Sometimes I go long stretches without thinking about you at all, then, when I remember you, I feel so guilty. I still wonder, sometimes, if I could have done anything to save you.
Do you think you’d still want snuggles with me? Second grade, you know. Maybe. Every now and again, anyway.
I’m so sorry, little man. I’m sorry I never got to hold you. I’m sorry that my body, which fought so hard to sustain you – nearly a month between when we found out something was wrong and when you left me – wasn’t enough to keep you alive.
There’s a part of me that has been empty ever since you left. I guess I’m still holding a space open for you. Just in case.
I miss you, Little Bean.