Diana Blinkhorn is a mom blogger and maker of messy haired baby girls living in the beautiful city of Tampa Bay, Florida. She is passionate about empowering women and finding joy in the little things. You can connect with her through her blog, The Gray Ruby Diaries.
This day was just like any other. I opened my front door to walk down to the mailbox, the warm Florida sunshine beating down on my face. I lingered by my neighbor’s garden to cherish the wonderful smell of her jasmine.
I opened my mailbox and sifted through the bills and the ads to find a square envelope. This piece had my name written in calligraphy, a sign that this was the best kind of mail. I opened the card as quickly as I could. The excitement building as I pulled this light blue card out of the envelope. My eyes scanned the first few words and then my heart dropped. My knees buckled. I felt like someone had walked up to me and punched me right in the gut. Gasping for air I read ...
A baby shower. The due date just a week after my own. Wait. I didn’t have a due date. There was no life growing inside me like it once was. The reality I had been trying to avoid was now suffocating me.
Two months prior, on Christmas Eve, I said goodbye to my second baby. The first goodbye had been just two short months before that.
It felt like yesterday that I had sat there, clenching my husband’s hand, as the doctor told me there wasn’t a heartbeat. I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. No matter how many babies I have or how many years that pass. That woman’s face, as she gave me the heart-wrenching news, will be etched into my memory forever.
Sometimes I find it hard to put into words. I was over the moon happy for my friend and her new bundle of joy. I truly was. All I wanted was to celebrate with her and bask in the sunlight of her joy. I just couldn’t. I could barely make it through the grocery store checkout without bursting into tears. Having a lump in my throat every time someone asked if, after five years of marriage, we wanted a baby. Completely signing off to avoid the weekly pregnancy announcements on Facebook. The pure fear I felt looking into my husband’s eyes. Not because of anything he did, but because of the failure I saw in myself when I looked at him.
I could barely keep my head above water.
How could I possibly attend this baby shower? Be faced head-on with the one thing that reminded me of so much hurt?
What made it even worse was that no one knew about this big, heart-wrenching secret. I look back on this now and wonder why I suffered in silence for so long. I think a lot of it had to do with shame. I felt shame that I couldn’t be a mother. That my body was failing me, failing my husband, failing my baby. I felt so much pain and so much guilt for my pain.
I remember my doctor making a comment in hopes of lifting my spirits: “This happens all the time.” In that moment I felt more alone and confused than ever. Does that mean that I should be OK? That I should feel less lonely? That I am undeserving of this grief that has overwhelmed me?
So for months I hid in my own skin. I think I relied solely on muscle memory to get through each day. Not allowing myself to grieve and not really feeling anything at all.
Until this day.
The sun beat down on my back as I watched my tears hit the cement of the driveway. It was so warm this day, as most Florida days are. On this day the scorching sun felt comforting, its rays wrapping me like a nostalgic blanket.
On this day, on my driveway, as God whispered into my ear and wrapped me with rays of sun. As I laid my grief before Him, my strength grew. I felt comfort and I knew that my healing could only begin once I chose to come out of the darkness.
I felt liberated.
I didn’t have to hide anymore. I didn’t have to feel bad about the days I spent mourning the idea of holding my beautiful babies in my arms. I didn’t have to go to the baby shower and hide behind a smiling face. I didn’t have to be alone, but I also could be if I chose to.
It took me four lonely months, but I finally understood what it felt like to allow myself to mourn. I learned that hiding from the pain doesn’t make it easier.
God didn’t promise me days without pain, but He did promise strength for the way. I didn’t have to be scared or ashamed anymore.
Now, six years later, I am still reminded of this.
I am lucky to have three beautiful little girls by my side each and every day. That doesn’t mean my joy makes me undeserving of my sorrow. I still think about those two beautiful angels constantly. I still mourn the lives that left too soon. I do that without shame or guilt and most importantly, I allow myself to feel it all. When I tried to not feel the pain of loss, I ended up not having any feeling at all; at times, I felt numb.
My love for my angels far outweighs the pain I felt after losing them. Time, prayer, and reflection have given me that gift.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I think about all of my babies, in Heaven and on earth. I thank them for making me the mother I am today. I thank them for teaching me to appreciate the gift of motherhood. I thank them for being a part of my life, even for the short time God intended for them. On Mother’s Day I am reminded that I have been blessed with love and sorrow and each of those is a gift I am thankful for. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers who have spent those days mourning babies that never saw their arms, and to the mothers who haven’t allowed themselves to mourn just yet. I pray for your strength, to step out of the darkness and that one day, if not already, your love will outweigh your sorrow.