Learning to Live After The Loss of A Baby

Learning to live… learning is described as,

‘Knowledge acquired through experience, study, or being taught.’

Unfortunately in the case of losing a baby our knowledge is gained through experience. Experiencing every mother’s worst nightmare. When it happened to me, it was not even in the realm of possibilities and utterly shattered my soul. My brain could not even fathom the thought that MY baby could and ultimately would DIE.

Something happens in that moment when they tell you everything is not going to be okay – I could literally feel my heart tearing apart in my chest and I was screaming from the pain on the inside of my body, yet on the outside I was frozen solid, as a block of ice, just silently staring blankly at the doctors.

From that single moment in time the entire world you ever knew is gone.

Experiencing such a tragic loss changes you to the core of your being and there is no way you can ever go back to the world you were just surrounded in. The first few months are pretty blurry for me but I instantly felt like I had this invisible bubble surrounding me, and everyone around me was tiptoeing around this crazy bubble, and trying not to do or say anything that could cause me to have a serious mental break. Everybody is SO CAUTIOUS around you and all you want is for them to be blunt, real, in-your-face, honest.

In my experience, it was my 1st baby. I was clueless and petrified and just wanted my baby to be okay. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I was filled with so much love, purpose, happiness, joy, and a true understanding of why I was put on this earth when he was born. I wanted nothing more than to be his mommy, and after losing him on his 4th day on this earth – I was completely lost and heartbroken. 

Learning to live after losing a baby is a daily struggle. I will NEVER sugar coat this topic because I feel like people should express how and what they are TRULY feeling and not what everyone just wants to hear. There is not one second in my life that passes that I do not think of him. Constantly wondering what he would look like, how he would giggle, what kind of man he would someday be… It is always and will ALWAYS be on my mind.

Getting pregnant after losing him was extremely scary and emotional. It was not a fun-loving pregnancy by any means… I was terrified 100% of the time and had doctors appointments 2-3 times a week which is super fun (said nobody ever). When my 2nd baby arrived all of the same emotions flooded my body and I knew in that moment the only way for me to authentically live again was to be the mother to his sister that he would want me to be.

It has been 8 years since I lost my baby and I am STILL learning.

Grief over the loss of a baby is a life-altering experience that has absolutely no warnings or time-constraints attached with it. It is a roller coaster of emotions you were not even aware you had until going through something so horrendous. It can sneak up on you in an instant and incapacitate you physically & mentally.

Through these eight years I have found that being completely authentic and true to what I am feeling on the inside helps me to cope and face the world on the outside. If I am having a bad day I let people know and explain why. I am completely honest with his 3 younger siblings whenever they have a question and I openly talk and express my feelings about him.

Some people who have not experienced loss think it would be easier to just ignore the fact he was born and just pretend like it never happened. But HE did happen and it hurts worse to try and hush or hide him away. He is my baby and I am so PROUD of that fact.

My family was, is, and will always be my backbone and have literally been right by my side every single moment of this journey… My husband, My mother, sisters, & brothers have been incredibly important to my grief process and keeping me sane and brutally honest. They are my heart.

Finding a group of mothers & fathers who were also dealing with the loss of an infant helped to heal my soul in ways I still do not understand. These total strangers become kindred spirits with our shared stories of pain and loss, and through this 8 year journey I have met a few more along the way. You instantly know upon meeting them that they have felt that same pain and despair you have felt and it bonds you together forever. These are my soul sisters.

Going through so much pain and despair has absolutely opened my eyes to viewing this world with a little more clarity than before. I love with my whole heart, I laugh from the bottom of my tummy, and I stop to take it all in and be grateful for the beauty that does surround me. I do not have the luxury to take my life or my children’s lives for granted. I will love them with every inch of my soul as long as I am alive, and do my best to raise them to be kind and loving human beings.

He taught me my purpose and how to truly love.

If you have lost a baby and are reading this please know you are not alone. I am not a professional by any means, but I have the knowledge of experience. Allow yourself to grieve and have terrible days, and uncontrollably cry, and scream to the gods or goddesses, and curse like a sailor if need be. Let yourself truly experience the pain so when the time comes your heart will be able to truly see the beauty.

DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO, NOT WHAT SOCIETY EXPECTS YOU TO DO.

In honor of my son, I choose to learn a new normal, not to mask my hurt & pain, but to be open and  honest with myself and those around me about my feelings no matter how uncomfortable it makes them feel. I choose to wake up every day and feel this pain in honor of him and to take the pain to truly see all the love and beauty in my life. To know his life, no matter how short had a significant impact on my heart, his daddy’s heart, his sisters’ hearts, his baby brother’s heart,  and everyone who loved him so dearly.

Grieve how ever feels right for you and your soul. You can learn to live again – you just have to take the pain and heartbreak along with you on your journey, which will then lead you to experiencing the love and the beauty on this Earth like you never had before.

What ways have you found to better cope with your loss?

How did you begin to live authentically again?

 

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8 Responses to Learning to Live After The Loss of A Baby

  1. Shannon April 26, 2017 at 9:40 am #

    Never in a million years did I think I’d understand your pain but, here we are.
    Thank you for sharing, Katy.

    • katyjohnson
      katyjohnson April 26, 2017 at 10:16 am #

      You were a big reason of why I wrote this… Sending you all of my love and hope that this in someway touched your heart. Thank you so much for reading!

  2. Laura Haggerty April 26, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    Beautifully written and encouraging. Just three years from losing our second daughter. It was harder than ever to have our double rainbow baby- with the insane amount of doctor appointments and comments you hear- like why are you afraid, this baby is okay. I was so freaked out I could not even visit her gravesite the entire pregnancy. Glad you shared – you would be a great resource for the local group, Kids Joining Eternity.

    • Katy Johnson
      Katy Johnson April 26, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

      Thank you so much Laura. It was definitely not easy to write so your words mean so much to me. I can COMPLETELY understand the gravesite because I did the exact SAME thing! I just couldn’t do it while in constant fear of the baby in my bellies future. Thank you for reading and sharing! I’m definitely going to look into the group as well!

  3. Elijah McClendon April 27, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    A great author is someone that can make you feel your own feelings while understanding theirs. You have written an amazing article. You made me cry a cry I have been holding in for too long. I thank you so much for that. I applaud you for having the strength and wisdom to share. Much love and appreciation.

  4. Katy Johnson
    Katy Johnson April 28, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    Elijah- I could never truly express in words how much your comment means to me. To know it resonated with you makes my heart extremely happy and is the exact reason why I wrote it. Thank you so much for that, and all my love to you & the family. ❤

  5. Jessicad April 30, 2017 at 11:55 am #

    Katy,

    I appreciate your post so much. I am 5 years down this road and there are so many moments where it feels very lonely and hard. It helps to talk about my angel but I know how hard it is for people to understand. I don’t wish this pain on anyone. You definitely know who your friends are when going through this darkness. Writing about it helps me and honoring his short life by continuing to talk about him with family and those willing to listen also helps. Much love sent your way!

    Jessica

  6. katyjohnson
    katyjohnson May 1, 2017 at 8:22 pm #

    Jessica – Thank you so much for reading! Lonely and hard are putting it gently and just reading your words makes me feel instantly connected to you – you get it. I would love to read your writing some day if its available to read? Sending so much love to you, your sweet angel, & family.

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