18 Months

Alice would be 18 months old today. I think about her constantly, but significant events like this make me stop and think more often. I find myself wondering even more what she would be like, what our lives would be like with her here, and how she would be different than Ben. At 18 months she would be a little girl. Walking, running, talking, and keeping both Jason and I very busy. I miss her every day, but on days like this I really feel the depth of our loss, and how much was taken from us when she died. We are better people and better parents because of her though. We have a better relationship with each other and with our friends and family as we’ve all dealt with our grief together. We are living our lives despite the loss of hers and we are more grateful for what we do have. We are forever changed.

Last night while out to dinner, catching up with a friend, something happened that has never happened to me before. It was timely, and heartbreaking, and emotional, but it was a good thing too.

Our hostess, Amy, was apparently having a slow night. She hadn’t had any tables for hours. She came by our table a few times to take our drink orders, to check up on us, and to see Ben. She kept telling us how adorable he was and even took him for a bit while we were eating to walk around the restaurant while he was being fussy. (This was after I asked if she wanted to hold him, of course.) I didn’t feel weird about letting this stranger hold my baby at all, which really isn’t typical of me.

When she came back to the table at one point I asked if she has kids. She has a girl and a boy, seven and four years old. She said she adores babies but she’s done having them. I said how interesting it was that I was totally fine with her holding Ben, but anxious about other things. Jason mentioned that he has been checking on Ben during the night since being at the hotel this week (we are in Minnesota right now) and that he’s been more anxious than usual.

Typically I don’t tell people I don’t know about Alice. It makes people uncomfortable and brings everyone’s mood down. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about her or let people know about her, but when it’s a stranger that I’ll probably never see again I often just keep to myself. Jason tends to be more open than I am in this way, which is something I love about him.

All this being said, I felt like I wanted to tell Amy about Alice.

“Anxiety is so weird though. I’m not anxious about things like germs but I am about other things. Before having Ben I lost a daughter when I was 38 weeks pregnant, so there’s a lot of anxiety we both deal with because of that.”

“Me too. I lost my son.”

“Oh my goodness. How far along were you?”

“39 weeks.”

At this point we were all getting a little emotional. I had never met someone who has experienced a full term stillbirth before. I have one friend I met because of this, but we had talked online a lot before we had met in person. Amy is the first in 18 months that has ever said “me too” when I’ve told them about Alice.

She asked what Alice’s name was. Her son’s name was Max. He was her first child too. She got choked up a bit when talking about him, even years later. I could tell Jason’s eyes were teary.

And all I kept thinking was that I almost didn’t tell her at all. The conversation had actually moved on a bit when I brought up my anxiety about losing a baby. For some reason though, I told her. And I’m so glad I did.

2 Responses to 18 Months

  • Kate says:

    Always listen to those prompts. You never know who you might bless with sharing your story. What a beautiful evening for all of you. :-)

  • bridget says:

    Hi Sam. I was just browsing through my bookmarked blogs getting caught up and just read this. It reminded me of a similar story from my friend’s mom. She lost her husband, and she started to realize that when she shared her story others opened up about their own loss and that is what others needed too – to talk to someone who knows what they are going through. Both your story above and hers have had a big impact on me. This is the article she wrote for Women’s Press if you were interested in reading it: http://eedition.womenspress.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=114&PageID=38

    Thanks for sharing this, you and Jason are some of the strongest and most genuine people I know – love you guys.

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Hi. I'm Sam. I'm glad you're here. This blog of mine is a place for me to write about whatever I'd like... maybe you'll be interested in what I decide to put here. That would be awesome, wouldn't it? :)

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