Some people hear about the death of a baby and think nothing of it. That it was just another passing moment in our lives. That since the baby didn’t have much time, the baby didn’t really have an impact. Many of these people don’t understand why I choose to remember my children and not just forget them. This is such a strange endeavor for them. Yes, some may have been raised that way while others may never have known a type of loss for a child.
Personally, the first death that I have ever experienced of someone close to me was my children. Prior to their death, I don’t know which side I would have participated. I hope that I would have been the ultimate supporter; the person that helped them to remember and honor their child/children. I consistently have to defend myself and the memory of my children. I contemplate often on why I have to defend myself and all the things that I want to say to these people. Here are some of them:
They are my children.
I did everything in my power to let them be healthy. Eat right, doctor appointments, exercise, etc. No, I did not get to make my children do these things as they got older, but I made myself do these things for my children while I was pregnant. These are the same things that any other parent does for their children throughout their lives. Just because my children’s lives ended at 1 and 2 days old doesn’t mean any less.
Yes, my children are dead and it is sad.
So are many mothers, fathers, spouses, aunts, uncles, dogs, cats, etc. People go around every day remembering these people, or animals. If I bring up my dead cat, no one gets uncomfortable and wonders why I don’t forget him. They understand that the memories I had were great and wonderful. Yet this is an animal. When a parent dies, it doesn’t make the parent no longer exist. It isn’t weird that a person goes to visit their parent’s grave all the time or have their ashes on a mantel. Yet it is weird for a parent to honor their child or go visit the grave of their child.
I have happy memories too.
I remember the exact moment I found out I was pregnant. I remember exactly how I felt when I saw the circles on the ultrasound, the moment I found out that I was having a boy and a girl. I remember going shopping and looking at what we wanted to do. Buying that first elephant and putting it in their room with a smile. The moment that I realized Jaxton hated to be touched. When someone would try to feel my stomach, if they even got near him he would kick their hand right off my stomach. As I write this I smile at these happy memories. Yes, my eyes have welled up, but they didn’t well up from just sadness. It was from that moment of extreme happiness that I felt when I did these things.
I earned my stripes.
Many women give birth to these children that people want us to forget. Some go hours on end in labor, have cesareans and some almost die. I was the latter, both a cesarean and almost died. Imagine going through all of this knowing that your child has already died or is going to die. If I pretend that my children never existed, it’s like telling myself to be ashamed of the way my body looks now, the fact that I had to do something that would have killed me in the earlier stages of the world. Instead I should be looking at my body thinking, I did all of this for my children, who I love.
For my living child and the one growing inside me.
One day, whether younger or older, they will wonder “what if it was me that died instead of them?” Would I want them to think that I would have just pushed their memory under the rug? That they were just a moment in my life to forget because it didn’t work out as planned? No. I want my children to know that love doesn’t just die when someone dies. I want them to know without a doubt, that if they were to die at any stage in life, I will continue to love them. I will not forget them and I will make sure that the world knows that I love my children. I hope this day never comes again, but I also know that these things are what children start to think about when they come to realize death exists.
The most important reason is because I love them.
This isn’t a past tense love. My love for them is there every day. To love me, means to love everything about me and I love my children. I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for Devyn and Jaxton. They changed me the moment I got pregnant and they changed me again the moment that they died. If you do not see the reason why I remember them, then you don’t see the person I really am. Because the person I really am is also a mother to children that have died.
We all love our children. We loved them as we got to know them. I mostly got to know Devyn and Jaxton while in my stomach and for a short time outside of it. We wondered who they would be. We worried about how to keep them safe, if they would hate us or we would be good parents. Now we wonder if we are doing right by them. Some live their lives for the children that have died. To disregard my children is to disregard me. I have lost family and friends because I choose to acknowledge my children in my daily life and in the number of children I have. I have also gained better relationships as well as some new ones in this life I have come to be a part of.
My daughter is going to grow up knowing about her big brother and sister. When my daughter is able to understand that she has 2 siblings that have died and an older half-brother, will people correct her when she says that she has 3 older siblings? Will people tell her that she is wrong or that they didn’t count? It will be her choice to say what she wants to say about all of her siblings and no matter how she chooses to say it, she won’t be wrong. I will do what I believe to be right by my children, all of them.