Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Be Happy

It was entirely possible that I could have died as a newborn. My heart defect is a lethal one if proper surgical intervention is not immediately available. If I had been born even a few decades earlier (possibly even 5-10 years earlier), or in a country that doesn't have modern medical care, I likely would not be here now. I've known this about myself since an early age.

I'm extremely lucky.

But what if I weren't? What if events had gone differently and my mom and dad were the ones going to the funeral home and picking out an urn, and pouring over the grainy, faded pictures of their first child. Baby Emily who did not make it. Baby Emily who had a heart defect and died.

Perhaps it's a morbid thing to consider, but when I think about life turning out like that, my one shining thought is:

I hope my parents would have gone on to be happy.

Because really, after I died, that would have been the most important thing. I would not be there to miss anything or feel pain or I hope that the hurt they had for me, and for themselves, would, in time, fade. I would not have wanted my death to crush them. I would not want to be the sole condition on which their future happiness rested. That's not a fair condition to put upon anyone. It amounts to: "I will only be happy if you never leave".

I have been thinking about this lately because we have hope once again, that we might get to bring home a baby this year. And, although I'm hoping with everything I have that things go well and are wonderfully uneventful in terms of medical care and pregnancy progression...I also know they might not. Bad things happening to you once, does not give you a free ride the second time.

As much as I am hoping and praying things go well, I do not want to base all my future happiness upon this little embryo. It wouldn't be mentally healthy or fair to that little bundle of cells. "Little embryo...if you don't make it I'll just die!!!" That statement is neither true nor fair. I cannot make either Aidan or the new baby the only source of my contentment and mental well-being. Yes, I was a mess after Aidan died (who wouldn't be??), but his death did not take away all the other joys in my life. I must remember this. I will still be Emily no matter what happens in the next few weeks, months or years. I can and will have joy in my life. It did not all go away when Aidan died.

So, if baby Emily had died all those years ago, I would have wanted to leave my parents with this message:

I love you.

It's okay.

Let go.

Be happy.

Have you been happy since your child died? Do you feel it is even possible? What does "moving on" or "letting go" mean to you?


  1. While I can't, at all, relate to your loss, I am so moved and inspired by your persepective in this post. You absolutely captured the reason for allowing yourself to move forward, happily, in that no one who leaves us would want us to suffer on their behalf. You sound like such an amazing person and, while, I'm sure some (or all) of it is much easier said than done, I couldn't admire your strength more. I so hope that I get to follow your journey to a happy ending. Please know that we are pulling for you!

  2. I am the baby after a loss. My parents lost twin boys around 26w and back then they didn't "get to grive." My mom was expected to be sad for a few days and then move on to take care of my sister. They have done more grieving of their boys in the past 11 months then they were able to do. I know that they are happy and have "moved on" since their loss.

  3. I HAVE been happy since we lost Rylee in April. But all the happiness that we've had since then has been more heart-felt. Things i don't think i TRULY appreciated before, i appreciate now. And being 31 weeks prego with my {hopefully} rainbow baby, the happiness i have for this lil girl is something that i probably wouldn't appreciate as much had we not lost Rylee. Not to sound like i wouldn't appreciate her at all, but if it wasn't for my first experience, i wouldn't be going through this experience now :)
    To me, letting go or moving on means being able to be truly happy, without feeling guilty for that happiness later. Even a twinge. Right after our loss, I would have a good day, then feel bad for having a good day because i would tell myself HOW COULD YOU BE HAPPY AFTER WHAT JUST HAPPENED!!? And letting go or moving on for me was overcoming that feeling. :)
    Just want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers! Hope everything is a smooth ride this time!!

  4. I have been happy since my losses. Sometimes those happy moments get lost in the grief and fear - but I can usually bring myself to acknowledge the happy times.

    I have been struggling the last 8 months or so to make sure not to project my grief onto this new baby. I want him to grow up being himself, to reach his full potential. His purpose is NOT to make me happy again. I mean, he does make me deliriously happy. But I don't want him to ever think that his purpose in life was to "save" his mother from horrible grief - you know what I mean? I want him to be his own person.

  5. I loved reading this post because I have thought about these things too. For months after Jacob died, I had to tell myself that he wouldn't want me to be sad forever, to only ever feel turmoil and overwhelming grief and to never enjoy life again. I still have to remind myself of that alot, but less often than at the beginning.

    That all being said, it was hard to really pinpoint anything that has made me happy since Jacob died right away. Getting pregnant again made me happy, but then that baby died too and I fell back into the abyss for awhile. My husband has provoked some geniune laughs and smiles, which felt good. My 2 year old nephew has made me happy too. It is hard not to feel happy around him, especially when he chooses me out of a crowd of people to sit with or when he asks for me when I'm not there. But then I would think of how Jacob would never do those things, that I will never even see him smile.

    I don't know that I can let go. I can move forward though. I have to and I want to, but it is easier said that done. It was easier to do when I was pregnant with my rainbow though. The only pure happiness, the only giddy happiness, was when we got the positive pregnancy tests with my rainbow. I don't know if that will happen again. Pregnancy after one loss is hard enough. It is overwhelming to think of pregnancy after 3 losses at different stages but humans are resilient and life goes on.