In 2015, I had so many aspirations and dreams of becoming a mother. I read all of the books, blogs, and soaked in all of the advice. I was ready to conquer this new adventure. It wasn’t until that devastating day in August when our first son, Joseph Webb was stillborn. Now what? It felt as if a huge boulder came crashing down on our life. I didn’t read the books about what to do when you don’t bring a baby home with you. I didn’t read the books about what to do with all of the baby’s things. This was a whole new territory.
So we did what we thought was healthy for us. We spoke about him when people asked. Although it was scary it helped us heal. We said his name often. We described his sweet little features such as his little button nose and his long fingers and toes. In all the fog, I am grateful I have these memories to look back on through my pictures. How do I continue to mother a child that is no longer here? Little did I know, it would naturally happen in my day to day.
Seven months later, I found out I was pregnant again with our second son. The next months were difficult and I thought about Webb every single day of my pregnancy. I asked him to send his brother to us safely and on November 12, 2016, we welcomed Woodside.
Since that day, the one word that describes how I feel is thankfulness. I was thankful to be up at all hours of the night. I was thankful to hear my baby cry. I was even thankful for the spit up and dirty diapers – if that is even possible. Woodside has been the biggest ray of sunshine in our lives and I truly believe this was because of our heartache with Webb. This is how I mother after loss.
Little did I know, our experience with Webb would help us along the way with our 3rd precious boy, Witt, who was born on April 22nd of 2019. He unfortunately wasn’t ready to be out of the womb and ended up in the NICU. In the beginning, we thought he would only spend a few hours there, but we soon discovered just how sick he was with underdeveloped lungs. I was once again leaving the hospital without my baby.
Needless to say, we experienced horrible flashbacks and were wondering, “Why are we being tested again?” But I quickly changed my thought process and remembered Webb. It was the only way we were going to get through this. Seeing your newborn baby on a ventilator, with wires coming out every which way, and not being able to hold him, was pretty heartbreaking. But we had so much to be thankful for. Witt was here and breathing. We could not afford to fall back into that dark place once again and we had to be present for Woodside at home. We left Witt’s healing in God’s hands. This time I knew we would be bringing our baby home, and after 27 days in the NICU, we did just that. This is how I mother after loss.
Because of Webb, I am a better mother, wife, friend, sibling, and daughter. I am really just an all around better person. One song that really resonates with me is from The Lion King on Broadway: “He lives in you, he lives in me. He watches over everything we see. Into the waters, into the truth. In your reflection, he lives in you”. This is how we live for Webb. We live each day for him, whether it’s through work, our parenting, or just daily tasks. In his passing, we remember that we are still here. We remember our other two sweet blessings. And we remember how far we have come since that fateful day in August.