When I say that my daughter died, people will often respond: “I’m sorry I didn’t know.”
Their response makes me smile in that sad sort of way because it reminds me that when my baby died, there was so much I didn’t know.
I didn’t know it was possible to keep breathing when your baby’s breaths have suddenly stopped.
I didn’t know it was still possible for a baby to be stillborn.
I didn’t know that a life could end before it really began.
I didn’t know that you could hold your baby after they died.
I didn’t know how hard you could fall in love with someone who’s already missing.
I didn’t know they made hats that tiny.
I didn’t know how hard it would be to watch them leave in a nurse’s arms knowing they would never come back.
I didn’t know how much paperwork is involved in deciding what to do with your child’s remains.
I didn’t know what it would be like to leave the hospital with a box of memories instead of a baby.
I didn’t know that your baby can get a death certificate without getting a birth certificate.
I didn’t know they made urns so small.
I didn’t know how comforting and heartbreaking it would be to have that tiny urn on my nightstand.
I didn’t know they made so many different kinds of sympathy cards.
I didn’t know how uncomfortable I can make people by simply stating my truth.
I didn’t know how much one person can cry.
I didn’t know there were so many excuses for avoiding a person just because their baby died.
I didn’t know it was possible to live life when it felt like it already ended.
There was so much I didn’t know about having a dead baby and now, I do.
To those who don’t know what it’s like to lose your baby, consider it your privilege.
If you don’t know what it’s like to have your baby die then please don’t judge us for how we are living after our loss. You don’t need to know exactly what I’m feeling in order to love me and care for me. Because now that you know about my baby’s death, that’s what I need from you–your love and your care.
Because once upon a time, I didn’t know what it was like either. Now, I have no choice but to know.