By: Kayla Leibner
I know you’re not the kind of mother you imagined you would be, but that doesn’t make you any less of a mother. In fact, you are the strongest kind of mother. Your baby lives in heaven instead of in your home. You hold your baby in your heart instead of in your arms. It’s not what you planned. It’s not what you wanted. It’s not what you could have ever possibly imagined.
I’m sorry you’re here. I’m sorry you know what it’s like.
In moments when you’re dying to say your baby’s name – say it. Other’s may feel uncomfortable when you mention your child, but you can’t feel guilty about that. You live with the discomfort of living life without your child every day and saying your baby’s name may be what provides you with some comfort – you deserve that.
In moments when your emotional burden is so heavy that you don’t know if you can go on, take one more step. Feel the anger. Feel the exhaustion. Feel it all. Let it out. It’s okay to feel anything you feel. There will be moments when your body and soul feel completely shattered, like you can’t go on. But you will. It won’t be easy but know that you are not alone. There are many of us out here – loving you, going through life just like you, here for you.
In moments when you feel conflicted, it’s okay to practice self-preservation. At times you’ll be caught between feeling abandoned and lonely but wanting everyone to leave you alone at the same time. I’ve been there. You can choose to indulge in the peace and solitude, or you can surround yourself with people who will lift you up and love you where you are. It’s okay for you to decide.
Unfortunately, you’ll find that not everyone can be there the way you need them to be.
Some relationships will fade, others will vanish completely. However, you’ll find that some of your relationships will prove to become closer, more faithful, stronger, and more supportive than you ever imagined. You’ll even build new relationships with parents who are grieving, just like you.
In moments when you want to keep your body busy in order to keep your mind busy, do it. In moments when you want to lay in bed all day and wallow, do it. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Just remember to check on yourself so that you know you’re creating balance in your grief journey.
Nothing can truly prepare you for what you feel after you lose a child, but from all that I have learned, I think one of the most important lessons is that it is okay to not be okay.
You don’t have to be okay. You’ll make progress as time moves forward, but you’ll still have hard days and debilitating moments. It’s okay to feel betrayed and angry and everything else that you’re feeling now. It’s okay to feel everything you feel weeks, months, and years from now. And you know what else? It’s okay to talk about it. It’s good to talk about it. Everyone processes grief differently – and the same goes for parents working through the loss of their child. Personally, I’ve found that writing about my babies helps. There are many other things that can be used to help a grieving mom work through her loss – painting, gardening, volunteer work, or other hobbies, to name a few. It can take a while to arrive at a place of being ready to do these things. That’s okay, too.
Take your time. Take care of yourself – body, mind, and soul.
Blessings and Love, Another Strong Mom
About Kayla Leibner
Kayla is a Christian, a wife, a mother, and a preschool teacher. She and her husband, Ben, have been married for five years and live north of St. Louis with two of their children, Jace (12) and Kiley (4). They also carry two of their children in their hearts – Melody, and Jamie. Kayla and her family have deep and strong roots in their faith and have relied heavily on God and His comfort in their journey of loss and grief. Kayla hopes that her writing would be of help, comfort, and encouragement to families who are suffering this same tragic loss.