I was wandering the shelves of CVS when I stumbled upon a pair of adorable itty bitty socks perfectly themed for the upcoming Halloween season, fit for an infant. They were distinctly pumpkin and bat-themed, with little wings sprouting out the side. I quickly placed them in the cart. In the next moment, the illusion was shattered and I threw them back onto the shelves, the sock burning in my hands.
There’s no proper way to lose a child that you were planning on keeping. It’s one thing to lose a fetus when you weren’t planning on keeping it, but it’s another thing to lose it when you are planning to keep the child, regardless of how far along the fetus is, when you have already begun to carve out a life for them. I lost my child very soon after making the difficult decision to keep them.
It’s a very isolating grieving process. The father was not in the picture for me because he didn’t want me to keep the child. The moment people hear that you suffered a miscarriage there is only one emotion they flock to: unease. There’s unease in how they approach you and how they handle you and the topic. They put on “kid-friendly” gloves. You’re faced with mostly pity, and because of my young age, an expectation for me to be relieved or grateful. They echo those sentiments without waiting to hear what I had actually wanted to do. My option to grieve was taken from me as easily as my child was.
If I choose to correct them, there’s only confusion. There’s an expectation of understanding that it was not a child, which is only true if you’re not already planning on keeping the child. Only true if you haven’t already made the decision to watch them grow, or pictured them in your life. Only true if you haven’t already begun to see the seeds of a new life grow in your mind.
There’s little scenes you see playing out in your mind that will never come to fruition.
I don’t know how to properly lose a child. I do know it’s been a few months since a rainy afternoon on Friday in May, since I heard someone ecstatic to learn I lost a child I was planning on keeping. It’s been a few months. I don’t think about it daily anymore. It’s little things like wandering the shelves of CVS and stumbling upon some baby shoes that are perfect. It’s a quick glimpse and the sudden fleeting thought that these would be needed until the next second hits and it’s over — the realization of everything that has happened comes back. That brief fleeting thought inconsequential and as easy as breathing. It’s the little things like unpacking my things into my dorm again and two pieces of paper falling out. I open them to see little doodles from back in April, nothing major, just some name suggestions given by a brainstorming between me and the other parent, along with a little depiction of me and the child in its poorly-drawn glory. I think it would’ve been a boy. Next to it falls out a baby rattle in the form of a caterpillar chosen by me and the other parent. Finally, I found some pregnancy tests I took. I’ve recently found the perfect box for these trinkets, gathered up these reminders, and locked them away, a reminder of what I have lost.
I know I probably won’t stop seeing him anytime soon. I’m starting to accept that I might never stop seeing him in my life. It won’t be daily like it was in the beginning or even every once in a while like I do now. It will be a compilation of glimpses into the life I never had, the path that was stolen from me only existing in fleeting moments.
There will be another moment, but eventually it will be months or even years apart, and I think part of moving on and grieving properly is just accepting there will be no end to seeing him in my life regardless of how much I want there to be a stop. It’s accepting that it will simply exist as part of my past instead of what could’ve been my future.