There really are no words

A widow is a woman who has lost her husband.  A widower, a man who has lost his wife.  An orphan is a child who has lost his or her parents.  But what do you call a parent who lost a child?  There are no words.  There is no title for a parent who has lost a child.  That is how terrible this tragedy is.  That is how backward it is.  A child is not supposed to die before it’s parents.  It just isn’t supposed to happen.  But it does.  So why don’t we have a name?  What would you call us?

If someone asks a man if he is married and he responds “I am a widower”, it is easy to understand, he had a wife, but she passed away.  Same for a woman who has lost her husband.

How than do I answer the question “do you have children?”  I don’t, literally, have a child, but I am a momma.  I had a baby girl and she was with me for 5 months.  So how then do I answer this question truthfully with out opening up to never ending discussion of my dead baby?  How do I say “yes” so as not to discount her existence, while still implying “no” because she is no longer here? I cannot, because there are not words.

So far I haven’t had too much of an issue.  People who have asked me have been mostly at work (patient’s parents who knew I was pregnant, or are aware I had a recent maternity leave).  They will ask “oh, you just had a baby this summer right?” or “did you have a boy or a girl?” and if I don’t think I will see them again I will say “yes I HAD a baby girl.”  They don’t get it, they never assume HAD means she is gone.  They assume it means I HAD her, as in I gave birth to a baby girl.  No one has pried about name, age, or pictures yet.  I suppose if they are ever in my office again, they will realize that the pictures of her there have not changed, that she never gets any older.

If, however, it is a new a patient that doesn’t know, but one who I will be treating for a while, I tell the whole truth.  I say “Yes, I had a beautiful baby girl, she passed away in November.”  Typically they have simply said “oh I am so sorry” and we move on.  Sometimes they ask what happened, and I say “it was very sudden” and only explain more if they ask, but try to move on.  I am there to treat their child, not talk about mine.  So far I haven’t had a tough situation regarding this issue.  I know over the course of my life it is bound to happen.  Someone that I don’t want to share my life story with will ask and I will want to say no, but how can I do that?  How can I discount the existence of my daughter, my angel, my everything?  I cannot. I will not.  I will always tell the truth and when they give me that look, like “that is not what I wanted to hear” I will simply smile and walk away, while I think “I didn’t ask for this either, but it happened!”

So I leave you now with this

“Do not judge the bereaved mother.
She comes in many forms.
She is breathing, but she is dying.
She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.

She smiles, but her heart sobs.

She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS,
but she IS NOT, all at once.

She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.”
–Author Unknown

Forever Faithful,

Kaiya Rae’s Momma


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