Mary Blair, the woman who animated the scene “Baby Mine” in the Disney movie “Dumbo,” did so as she was pushing through the nightmare of recurrent miscarriages. In the scene, Mrs. Jumbo, the mother elephant, holds Dumbo, the baby, through a window. She is locked away from the ability to hold him in a full embrace, as she so desperately longs to. She aches and cries and yearns to hold him fuller—to hold him longer. She cranes her trunk as much as she can. But baby Dumbo is taken away, and they must separate. Mrs. Jumbo is left with an empty trunk. Its emptiness is a reminder of where her baby once so perfectly nestled.
When I was pregnant with my rainbow baby boy, my mother gifted me this Dumbo ornament as a nod to the story as well as my own.
As I tried to navigate around my 14-week pregnant bump, careful to even brush it against something as gentle as a Christmas tree branch in the constant state of paranoia my pregnant after loss mind had me in, I dropped it. Mrs. Jumbo’s trunk fell clean off. Dumbo was separated from Mrs. Jumbo. Just as quickly as it broke, I burst into tears. Having just moved into our home, so much of our odds and ends were still in boxes. I searched for hours until I finally found super glue. I placed baby and mom on my kitchen windowsill to dry overnight. I barely slept that night. I was overwhelmed with the fear that this must be some sort of sign that I would lose my rainbow, too. When I went to them the next morning, the sight took my breath away.
Baby Dumbo in Mama’s trunk was now safely and securely where he needed to be. But the crack in Mrs. Jumbo’s trunk struck me.
Mrs. Jumbo stared adoringly down her trunk at her baby, now also looking over the crack, the scar, of what once was, of the babies she won’t get to hold further this side of Heaven. Just like any other loss mom: forever gazing at her baby here on Earth, while forever seeing her babies in Heaven, just the same. All babies with her. Forever.
“Rest your head close to my heart, never to part, baby of mine.”
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