Welcome to RMB’s Naked Pictures of Faceless People, a series of guest posts from diverse anonymous bloggers. (Read more about NPFP’s origins.) These are the posts that are jumping to get out of us, but for whatever reason — safety, embarrassment, conflict of interest, protection of loved ones’ reputations or feelings, or so on — we don’t or won’t or can’t post at our own blogs. Anyone, whether blogger or reader only, is welcome to submit or discuss a potential post by emailing me at arwyn at raisingmyboychick dot com.
Trigger Warning: There is a trigger warning on this post for stillbirth and suicide ideation.
After The World Stopped Turning
We had been sequestered in our home for days. I was so fragile that I could crack and crumble to the floor if I began thinking about anything more than breathing in and out. I had my husband, but he didn’t understand. I had my 14 month old, but he didn’t understand. I had friends who might understand, but I wouldn’t let them help me.
I ventured out of the house because the fall weather was calling to my 14 month old and I couldn’t keep him from life even though I was no longer with the living. I strapped him into his carseat tightly and took him to the playground.
He couldn’t wait to be free of me as I lowered him to the grass at the side of the car. He ran toward the slide and I panicked. I slammed the car door shut and quickly caught up his hand in mind. He smiled his sunlit smile and I tried to respond like I used to.
I climbed to the heights above the smallest slide, placed my son carefully on my lap and slowly slid down, cradling him tightly against me to protect him. I made certain not to allow any of his limbs to extend outward because a broken joint could happen so quickly on a slide.
When my feet touched the ground, he squirmed away from me and ran back to the steps. I struggled to catch him up, but he was already climbing up and there were children between us. He was at the top of the towering play structure, a full three feet off the ground, and I knew I was about to watch my child die.
I watched from my trapped mind as he fell those three feet onto the padded, recycled tire covering around the play structure. I saw with my horror-filled imagination as his head hit the padding and crushed his life away. In my imagination, I couldn’t get to him in time to save him.
As he slid down the slide and ran up behind me giggling, I was frozen in my horrible panicked fantasy. My 14 month old son would die within my imagination just as surely as my daughter had died within my body a few days earlier. She was twenty-three weeks when her heart failed. I knew she was already dead when I gave birth to her body unassisted at home.
If I was going to let my son live, then I needed to stop hovering. Walking 10 feet away from the play structure to sit on the bench was hard. I wasn’t sure I would make it without crumbling apart, but I did it. I could do that for my son, if not for myself.
I did crumble when a playgroup arrived shortly after with three heavily pregnant mothers, smiling and unknowing how painful it was to see them. I cried silently behind my Jackie O sunglasses and watched my son play. I still believed that he would fall to his death at any moment.
Once I had myself together enough to gather up my son and get back to the car, we returned to our house and I began my new plan. I was staying alive to give my son breastmilk, but if I pumped and built up a large enough freezer stash, I felt I could be free to end my life.
Unfortunately, my husband was warned by my midwife to watch me for such a plan. He told me to get some professional help. I fought against it, but agreed to do it as long as I could continue unhindered in my milk-stash plan.
I saw a therapist who specialized in birth PTSD. She helped me a little, but my body had other therapy planned for me. I discovered I was pregnant for a third time. I knew it was a boy and I knew my body can nurture and birth boys well. I may still not have been be sure whether I’m meant to stay here, but I knew this growing healthy boy was.
I look back on this time after having birthed two more thriving baby boys. If my daughter had survived, I would not have my second and third sons. I have not reconciled my desire for all four of my children to be alive with me. But, I have found a sort of peace in the exercise of letting my children run and play without a hovering mom. It is getting easier, even though it is not getting better. I no longer keep any milk stashed in my freezer.
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