My Daughter is Not Here, But We Celebrate Her Birthday

Our daughter turned 2 on May 9, 2022. Or in the words of my husband, our daughter turned 1 year and 12 months old.

You might say, “That’s awesome! Happy birthday Lynn Sofia,” maybe without realizing I celebrate my daughter being born sleeping two years ago. And I don’t want to take away that joy from you. Please celebrate life however you want to just as I celebrate my daughter’s birthday, instead of honoring her passing anniversary, on May 9th.

Over time, we do forget a lot, but some memories we still cherish every day. I will always cherish when I last heard my daughter’s heartbeat on May 5th {thinking I would get a ‘taco’ baby}. I’ll never forget my friend Morgan placing her bet of May 5th being Lynn’s birthday, because free tacos on Cinco de Mayo..duh!, and then realizing the pregnancy was actually 40 weeks long!

I will cherish the rush we went through with our first baby going to the hospital. Lynn’s godmother, Jess, didn’t believe my husband when he told her I was in labor. I’m pretty sure she told Matt to stop messing with her until she heard me scream.

I will cherish my nursing staff that, despite going into labor 2 months into a global pandemic, literally dropped everything to help me and our family. Krista, Jessica, and Lauren at Mid-Michigan’s Labor and Delivery in Midland – thank you.

daughterLet me share a few things I’ve learned over the last two years:

  1. The pain will NOT get better over time. Boom. Sorry to come out guns blazing. I remember being told All. The. Time. “Oh, it’ll get better sweetie.” No it doesn’t. Do I work through the pain better? Definitely. But I still bawl my eyes out. I still feel this indescribable pain in waves. Granted, learning coping mechanisms from my therapist and journaling my experience has really helped me, but I will always have that pain of losing my daughter.
  2. I am still a mom and I am proud of that. I know that alone confuses a lot of people. How can I be a mother when I am not physically raising my daughter? And to that I ask, What makes a person a mother? I conceived a child, grew a child to 38 weeks, gave birth to said child, and even filed her on my taxes. *In the State of Michigan, you can file a stillbirth on your taxes for a $200 refund, as of when I did it in my 2021 taxes.
  3. How do I raise my child then? I constantly talk about her and our pregnancy. I raise awareness about pregnancy loss rates and the health disparities among black and Latin mothers. I advocate for pregnancy and child loss nonprofit organizations. And I hope I create a safe space where moms in my position feel comfortable calling themselves a mom if they want to.
  4. It will be hard, but you will find a support group the more you talk about your baby. Not everyone wants to talk about death. For some, death is really uncomfortable which is totally understandable. For others though, they will talk about your child that passed as they care about YOU and want YOU to feel included. My circle of friends is very small as I only have a few people in my life that will say my daughter’s name. Don’t get me wrong. I am capable of talking about real-life events, sports {let’s go SEC}, pop culture (love me some Bridgerton), and other topics of conversation. I just want to be able to contribute if someone mentions children or refers to their amazing dad.
  5. Our babies are looking down on us and are so proud. Living our lives without the most important person in our life is so hard. I want to give up sometimes, but I have a little toddler cheering me on! I have grown so much over the past 2 years to the point where I do not recognize the old me. Listen to yourself and feel everything, but also know you can do this.