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Stillbirth


I will be here to carry some of the weight, like I carried your train on your wedding day.

by Heather

Stillbirth | A Practical Wedding

By Heather

I admit that my stubbornness kept me from texting first when I didn’t hear from you that day. Because I always instigate conversations, and this time I decided that you owed me. When your message finally arrived I gave it a full five minutes to sit while I finished up the dishes. Then I read it.

When a sentence fills the world, it causes the air to ache in your ears like silence after a loud noise. Please don’t freak out, but It knits little versions of itself into your deepest places, so that you feel the angles of the seraphs on the inside. I had the baby yesterday and I remember sitting on my kitchen floor and seeing the sentence, black and sharp and too bright on the screen. she was stillborn.

In that moment, I thought about you when you weren’t even a fully formed face in my mind, but a figure in my periphery. You were burying a cicada on the playground in fifth grade. And then my mind jumped forward, through thirteen years of sleepovers, silliness, shared secrets, heartache, and triumph, to your wedding day two years ago when you leaned into the May morning with an unmovable grin on your face, me stooping over your heavy train and laughing as my nervous hands lost their grip on the silk. I thought about the past six months of pinned nursery décor, name ideas, sewing projects, little outfits from Target. I thought about your daughter, still just a glimmer in your mind’s eye made suddenly too bright and real.

Later when we talked about it, you told me that she had your lips. You could see your lips on her face, which surprised you because you didn’t picture that detail when you envisioned your little girl. I know that after this you will never be just you again, at least not the way you were before her. But I also know that the self is defined most by what we take from others, or what others take from us.

Dear friend, I’m sorry for all the times I felt jealous that you hit milestones first. Or superior that I was waiting for mine. Because no matter who was the grown-up at any given time, we grew more or less into the women we hoped we’d be. As you pick up your life again, more adult than either of us ever imagined becoming, I will be here to carry some of the weight like I carried your train on your wedding day.

Photo by Corey Torpie (APW Sponsor)

Heather

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  • http://thevanillabride.blogspot.com/ Sonarisa

    Crying at my desk. Thank you for sharing though- this post is incredibly necessary.

  • InTheBurbs

    This beautiful…thank you for sharing!

  • scw

    this is beautiful. I hope your friend gets to read it.

  • Emma Klues

    Damn. Saw the preview on Facebook and thought I could handle the content while at work. Content, yes. Writing, no.

    • Sarah

      Exactly.

    • Alaina Bos

      I feel exactly the same way. Just totally lost it. There are no words…

  • Kat91314

    Tears…..but so grateful that she has you there to help her pick up the pieces :-/

  • CJ

    This makes me cry, really rings true.

  • Aubry

    OK, so I’m crying. I have never cried when reading anything on here, though a few came close. And this piece is about something entirely outside of my experience. lovely writing.

  • May

    Oh bloody hell. People out there are plumbing the depths of human emotion, and I’m just sitting here in my underpants, crying into my fruit salad.

  • Amber P

    Haven’t read anything on here in a while. This one hit me in the gut. Thanks for sharing this beautiful and tragic story with us. It’s a wonderful reminder that life doesn’t always go how we expect it to and of how important our support communities are. My heart breaks for your friend. Sending love and light to you, and her, and her greater family in this tough time.

  • Stella

    Oh my goodness! I wasn’t ready for this. Beautiful piece, thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com/ Rachel Wilkerson

    Chills. And tears.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    My daughter is being rather cranky today (getting two teeth will do that to you I guess). But this just made me hold her all the closer.

    I’m holding you and your friend gently in my heart today.

  • Jess

    Yes. These are the words. I am here and helping to carry the weight as I have before and will again. And you will be ok. Different, but ok.

    I’ve been trying to find these words for weeks. Thank you.

  • http://melissablemur.com Melissa

    Wow, thanks for sharing this, Heather. And bless you for being such a good friend.

    This July will be five years since I had to write a similar text for my sister to her close friends. The experience did changed her, to be sure, and there came a point where the only helpful thing I could do was sit and be silent while she grieved for “Star” (so nicknamed because he had already commanded so much attention from the entire family as the soon-to-be first-born of the first-born).

    I’m typing this with a sweet valentine from my three year-old nephew displayed quite proudly on my desk. He is a miracle and our little prince. And yet, as my sister will tell you, the pain never goes away; you just get used to it always being there. She still very much misses her little Star.

    • Sarah

      My grandmother had a baby that was stillborn. I remember her speaking to my mum about it when I was a teenager (some 50 years on) and hearing her sadness and anger.
      My heart goes out to every family that experiences stillbirth. Heather, you’re friend is lucky to have you. A beautiful piece of writing.

  • Laura

    I don’t know what to say except hugs for both of you. Friends are basically the only reason we can keep on walking after times like these. Mostly because they carry us during the parts where we can’t walk.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny/Adventures Along the Way

      This is so very true….

  • taylorkalander

    Beautiful post. All of the good thoughts to you and your friend.

  • KW

    Thank you for being with your friend as she goes through this. And if nobody has said so, it is OK for you to grieve too. With such a close friend, I imagine you were going to be the little girl’s honorary aunt and imagined all sorts of fun you could have in that role.

  • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

    I don’t know what to say except that this is beautiful. Thank you and lots of hugs for you and to pass on.

  • Cara

    “Dear friend, I’m sorry for all the times I felt jealous that you hit
    milestones first. Or superior that I was waiting for mine. Because no
    matter who was the grown-up at any given time, we grew more or less into
    the women we hoped we’d be.”

    This. No more words. The end.

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny/Adventures Along the Way

    This is a beautifully written, very moving piece. Heather, thank you for walking with your friend through this dark time.