A Letter to my Son

From the broken version of your mom.

I’m sorry.

I haven’t been the best mom. Because my trauma not only took something away from me, but it also took me away from you. After our loss, I became a shell of myself threatening to crumble beneath the weight of each day. You didn’t realize this because I was physically present, but my body was really just a vessel harboring an invasive melancholy. There were so many moments during those first few months that I was there, but I wasn’t really there. And I’m sorry for my absence.

I’m sorry for all the times you proudly presented a block tower to me and I was too consumed in the trenches of my grief to give you the praise you were seeking. I’m sorry for all of the happy moments that I let pass me by because I felt like I wasn’t entitled to joy. There were sunsets and car rides and tender good night kisses that felt like moments I should cherish, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to.

Thank you for continuing to pursue my praise and affection in the form of play-doh sculptures that look like “turds” and matchbox cars arranged in careful rows. These small expressions of yourself are what generated some of my first smiles after our loss. Your actions were purely driven by your desire for my approval. You wanted nothing more than to see me smile and you were willing to do whatever it took. Thank you for reminding me that I was worthy of being happy.

I’m sorry for ignoring you. I’m sorry for hiding behind my phone and seeking comfort from strangers online rather than leaning into you for love and support. It just felt like no one could possibly understand my pain more than the people who have gone through it themselves. So I immersed myself into all of the support groups and forums just hoping that somehow this virtual community held the key to putting me back together again. I’m sorry for all of the bedtime stories that were read half heartedly and all of the movies that you were left to laugh at alone. I’m sorry for all of the pictures that were colored hastily and games that were broken up by periods of being absorbed into my phone.

Thank you extracting me from the depths of online support groups and google rabbit holes. Your demand for my attention was all that could rescue me from the vortex that is the internet. Thank you for telling me to put down my phone and play with the green dinosaur. Nothing could give me a reality check quite like hearing the pure and innocence in your little voice pleading with me to spend time with you. Thank you for saving me from myself.

I’m sorry for taking my anger out on you. There was so much anger festering inside of me; a cocktail of hormones and anguish. The baby that was taken out of me along with my fallopian tube was replaced by a dark void. That void quickly erupted with rage. You were never the source of my anger, but a lot of times you ended up on the receiving end. I’m not proud of the times I lost my temper over mild defiances such as splashing water out of the tub or refusing to get dressed. It’s these moments where the guilt dwells. I’ll never forgive myself for misplacing my emotions so erratically. You probably won’t remember my outbursts and episodes of rage, but I will. And I’m sorry, because you were never the cause of my pain.

Thank you for all of the tender “I love you”’s and unwarranted hugs. It doesn’t seem possible that a child your age could possess the emotional aptitude to understand that I needed love the most when I deserved it the least. Your sweet gestures of affection were always offered in the most meaningful way. It’s almost as if you could sense when my heart was aching. Your little hands warmly wrapped around my arm and wet kisses planted on my nose are medicinal. You sustained me through one of hardest periods of my life.

I’m sorry for wishing my life away. I’m sorry for allowing intrusive thoughts to take over my brain and feed me lies. I’m sorry for ever considering that your life would be better without me in it. It’s embarrassing to admit that I ever entertained such grotesque concepts. I’m sorry that I ever contemplated leaving you without a mother.

Thank you for reminding me of how very loved and needed I am. Thank you for constantly fulfilling my purpose as a mother. On my darkest days you pulled me into the light and assured me that I belong here. You reinforced my worth as well as my place in this world. Thank you.

I’m sorry for my longing of another child. I bear guilt because my desire to grow our family feels as if it negates the perfect family I have right in front of me. It feels like I’ve put my life on hold for a child that isn’t even here. From canceled vacations to major lifestyle changes, everything I do seems to revolve around having another baby. I’m sorry for looking in the rear view of our 3 row SUV and feeling disdain for the fact that it doesn’t have more car seats in it. I’m sorry for feeling emptiness on occasions that should bring joy because I’m distracted by the fact that someone is missing. I’m sorry for dismissing your questions about babies and hiding the dolls that you got for christmas because my heart can’t stand to see you so affectionate and loving on them. It’s been a battle navigating between my grief of the child we lost and the struggle of trying to conceive another. It’s been pain on top of pain and I’m so very fragile. I’m sorry that my triggers have dictated how we live our life.

Thank you for making me a mother. Thank you for being the only thing that could possibly make our hardships a little more bearable. Our loss and the struggle that ensued has deepened my love and appreciation for you beyond measurement. I believe that those who know loss find a profound gratitude in life that is only attained through their unimaginable pain. Your presence is truly a gift and a miracle that I will never take for granted. The toys that inundate the living room and the small muddy footprints that track through our kitchen are reminders of how lucky I am to have a little one who inhabits our home and our lives. Thank you for being here.

I never could of anticipated the anguish injected into my life by an ectopic pregnancy. It reduced me to the most vulnerable version of myself. I didn’t recognize who I was, but you still did. You saw through the trauma that painted me into a stranger. You could see my smile beneath the layers of pain and you knew just how to turn the corners of my mouth up like the turn of a key. You forgave me for my unwarranted outbursts of anger and almost always reciprocated my ugly behavior with underserved affection. Your patience and grace are so well beyond your years that I’m certain you’ve experienced a million lifetimes. Thank you for never giving up on me and for loving me unconditionally as I put myself back together. I wouldn’t be who I am without you.

Thank you.

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