Why Couldn't I Have Held Him?
I share a lot in this space. The good, the bad, and the ugly. No holds barred. It's the main reason I don't reveal myself here, so that I can be totally honest.
But this is something that I am not sure I should share. In fact, I may type the whole thing and then not publish it (if I do publish it then I apologize in advance because I'm sure my thoughts will be all over the place).
Why? Because I'm not sure you will ever think of me the same way after reading it. Not that any of you know me in real life (well except for 2 of you, 1 being my husband). But I fear that those of you who have gotten to know the "virtual me" will never see me in the same light.
You see, I am not like the rest of you.
I know this because I have read many of your stories on your blogs. I know what is "normal" for a grieving mother. I know what most other Baby Loss Mom's have done when their babies were born still. I have read how you held them, and kissed them, and told them you loved them. I have seen the photos of you holding your babies even after they were gone. I see the love and sadness in your eyes as you treasured this final embrace.
I know exactly how you were all feeling in those moments. I felt that way too. But there is one huge difference between your birth stories and mine.
I was unable to hold my son after he died. And for that I am ashamed.
Not because the doctors wouldn't let me, but because I just couldn't. Mentally, I was not in a place where I could even comprehend holding a dead baby. No matter that he was my dead baby. No matter that he was my firstborn son who I loved more than anything. I just couldn't do it.
They tried to talk me into it at the hospital. But each time the brought it up I went into a panic. I kept screaming, "No, No, No!" There were no other words that came out of my mouth. Just those words and a flood of tears. Each time they would back off as they could clearly see that I was on the verge of a total breakdown.
After several days, I was mentally able to see him. The midwives set everything up in a special room. They dressed him in the outfit my husband had picked out. I wasn't even able to pick out his own outfit at that point. When I finally saw him I almost collapsed with sadness. If it weren't for the wall that I propped myself up against I would have ended up in a heap on the floor. He was absolutely beautiful. But still I couldn't bring myself to hold him. I did touch his face, but it was cold from the refrigeration. That one touch would be the only contact I would ever have with my beloved son.
Tonight I was hit with a tsumani of regret.
Why couldn't I hold my son after he was born? Why was I so hysterical right before his birth that I had to be sedated? Why couldn't I just hold it together? I am normally such a strong person, why couldn't I handle this better? Why did I continue to act with such hysteria after his birth that I was unable to hold him and tell him how much I loved him?
Logically I know that we do the best we can in times like these. That we do what we are capable of. But in my heart I regret not having the strength to see past my fears of what a dead baby would look like. He was my only son after all. And now I am starting to feel like I have somehow rejected him. Even though I know that he had already left his earthly body before he was born, I still somehow feel like I have failed as a Mother.
Why couldn't I have held him???
*Originally posted at my blog Finding My New Normal.