Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is it brave?
Is it brave that I hung onto my husband and watched the nurse take her from me?
People tend to think of this as brave, as a sign of strength, but when I look back on it, it seems like weakness.

It seems like my animal core should have leapt from the bed, tearing at the white curtain, screaming in a low, howling tone, give me my baby back.

I can picture the scene, I am naked, my breasts heavy and swinging, belly that strange, 7-hours-after-birth pouch, blood streaming out of me onto the floor, probably falling in my emotional and physical weakness onto the floor, slipping, screaming, falling to my face and screaming in anguish.


This really could have happened. Should it have happened? How could I just let the other scene happen, where I just sit there, hiding my eyes, not wanting to believe the turn my life has taken?

Maybe it was strength. Maybe it was just not knowing what to do.

I still cannot believe I did it, one way or the other. Nobody should have to do this.

I thought, in the weeks afterwards, when my arms ached and my breasts were bursting and my house was filled with the heaviest, most deafening silence, of mother animals I had seen on television. The mother animals who clung to their dead infants. Stood by them. Refused to leave them. I could recall that once I had thought they were of too little brain to understand that their young were no longer living. I now know that I was of too little brain to understand what those mothers were feeling. I, too, wanted to hold my dead baby forever, perhaps had I not had the societal fear of death woven so deeply into my soul I would have tucked her under my coat and taken her from the hospital, taken her home where she belonged to be with me in her own house for a day or two before the inevitable came.

To sleep with her, to dress her in the clothes that were folded in her drawers, to share her with the family and friends that I was too numb-struck to share her with on the day of her birth.
So instead, I let her go.

The hardest thing I will ever do.


Team Harris said...

I don't know how you did it either. I can only imagine how difficult it must be. I know that my own mother had to finally walk out of the room after my brother died, just before the age of 2. I will never know how she turned and walked away from him. I think the illogical part of my brain would just continue to think, "If I just stay, maybe he'll come back. Maybe he's just sleeping. Maybe he'll wake up soon if I just talk to him enough or beg him enough. Surely he isn't really, REALLY gone?" I think I felt this way a little bit after I miscarried... if I just wanted it bad enough, maybe he'd come back to my womb... maybe my belly would still get big and he really wasn't gone. I never got to see my little guy... he was too little. I didn't have to walk away... he was simply taken away involuntarily. I don't know how you did it.

Oh... why are we asked to do this?

c. said...

I think back on the day I had to let him go, and the pain of that moment rushes back to me. No mother should have to do this. Nothing will ever break me like that one awful moment.

I look at the position of Charlotte's hands in that picture and they remind me of C@llum's. The memories all rush back. I wish I could have him with me now.

Nicole D said...

Oh honey! Your post resonates so much pain! I cannot imagine what you have gone through. I stood by my best friends side when she birthed her stillborn baby. I still cannot imagine.

It is strength that you walk every day. It is strength when you laugh. It is strength when you tell her story and share your heart. THAT is your strength.