You had one job: keep your baby safe. Body, you failed me.
Stillbirth is an emotional journey but it can also be a physical one. Often times, the toll it takes on a body is forgotten.
I’m mad at my body. I feel like it failed me, betrayed me. How could it have carried a beautiful baby boy for 33 weeks with no issues to not see it through to the end? How could it let something happen to this little life? Its sole job was to protect Samuel, nourish him and see him into the world. It didn’t.
His heart stopped beating one night. Doctors still can’t give us a great answer as to what happened. Their best guess: cord compression. I don’t understand. How can something you create to help sustain your baby be the cause of his death?
Why would it have allowed me to feel every little kick and roll of our angel only to take him away? Why would it start producing milk when there is no baby to feed?
I’m embarrassed. The body that once held this beautiful life that people would comment on daily as my belly grew is suddenly getting looks of pity. I’m embarrassed my body couldn’t do what women are designed to do repeatedly. What other women and friends are doing all around me. I did it once with my living daughter. Why couldn’t I do it again?
But as the days and months pass by, I am slowly reminded that this body also needs some credit. It’s confused. Most women who put in the work, get a baby to take home. Not us. We got the months of nausea, back pain, and weight gain but no baby to show for it.
Most postpartum bodies get excuses. It’s hard to give them when there’s no baby. No sign that says I just gave birth to a baby who died. This body is learning. It’s learning to recover from trauma and learning how to be strong again. It’s getting good at hiding heavy emotions and putting them away for appropriate times.
My body still remembers and it always will. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. It deserves a break and some grace. It’s in this with me.
This body has been through the lowest of lows and is resilient. Maybe it will carry life again, maybe it won’t. But it’s carrying me.