This is a guest blog about the story of baby loss. About baby ANGEL, taken too soon.
written by Jhankhana Vahanwala
Sometimes it’s the small talk that kills me. Those little questions from people in the grocery store line, bank tellers, waitresses, new acquaintances. “What do you do for a living?” “Are you married?” “Do you have kids?” It’s not that I mind answering those questions, even honestly. It’s my daily reality, it always hurts and talking about it doesn’t make it harder.
But the reaction is hard.
My baby girl was born in Sept 2014, Insert other person’s smile and nod. But she actually passed away the same day we learnt we are going to have a baby girl... Their face falls... Silence or awkward apologies.
I wish I could tell them that even though she died... SHE LIVED.
I wish I could flip those two sentences and show people the overwhelming joy that came with loving her in her short life in my womb. I wish I could tell them, “My daughter died, but let me tell you about her life, let me tell you about the joy she brought me and still brings me. Let me tell you about... ANGEL."
ANGEL is our firstborn. The first baby we got to hold and know. A few years before delivering her, I lost our first baby in a miscarriage. It rocked my world and shook my faith so hard. Darkness descended for months, and God felt far.
Years later, we were blessed to be pregnant with Angel. We watched her grow and flourish. At 23 weeks, her heartbeat was strong, but my waters broke early, and she was born sleeping.
A beautiful baby girl. Calm faced and old-souled. We never got to bring her to the nursery that we lovingly labored over but instead she was sent to heaven.
So we’re left here, sorting through the memories of those 5 months of carrying her and trying to navigate the waters of grief rather than parenting a sweet lil girl.
When I think through the past two years, I’m overwhelmed by the wide array of thoughts and emotions that have filled me. Darkness, sadness, bitterness, despair, sorrow, longing, numbness, and confusion have slowly made room for hope, memories, joy, peace, love, and faith.
It happened so slowly that I can hardly say how or when. I’m healing and, although I’ve lost a limb, I’ve learned to move again.
Slowly at first. Exhausted with every small movement. Pained constantly.
Gradually, the pain lessened. I began to move more and push my limits. Some days it still throbs but not every day. There will always be an obvious loss in my life, but I’m still moving, growing, and coming alive.
If I had a chance to go back and tell my despairing and hopeless self, this is what I’d say to the self that thought “I can’t heal from this.”
You will heal. Slowly, but that’s okay. It can’t happen quickly, and you won’t want it to. The pain will always be a reminder of loss, but it will also remind you of such great love. You’ll hedge yourself in; protect yourself from too many distractions and people. You’ll seek support from those you trust, some old friends and some new friends.
You’ll allow yourself to be honest with your thoughts and feelings, meeting them head-on and working through them. You’ll actively walk through grief, often stumbling, and you’ll begin to process through your experiences. You’ll get to know yourself better than you imagined. Your relationships will be challenged, your marriage will be shaken, and your identity will be questioned, but, you’ll make it through. You’ll help others that are hurting and they will, in turn, comfort and heal you in new ways.
Triggers and flashbacks won’t always ruin your days. It may feel like they won’t stop, but they will. And you’ll dream again. The night time dreams will return, and sleep will come. The daytime dreams will begin again, too. Thoughts of hope for the future, and blessed memories from the past. You’ll come alive.
And I am alive. I have lost a treasured child, but I have allowed her existence to change me for the better. My soul has become deeper and more beautiful in the pain. I’ll always be healing, grieving, missing; yet I’ll always be moving, growing, and coming alive.
Love and Light - Jhankhana Vahanwala aka Ze
Jhankhana Vahanwala owns and runs "Momentoes" a 3D Hand & Feet Casting Company and a blog at Life and Lemons.