By: Julz Richterman
Saying “thank you” used to be easy. You always supported me, even if you didn’t agree with me. You let me make my own mistakes, celebrated with me when life went well, and stood by me when it didn’t. None of this changed when I said I wanted to go to a fertility clinic and become what some people refer to as a “single mother by choice.”
When I became pregnant, you were arguably more excited than me. We spent hours discussing all my new pregnancy symptoms, and all the activities we would do with the baby over the years to come. Time lasted forever because we were so eager to meet the little one; however, one ultrasound managed to stop time altogether.
It was the beginning of an over 24-hour waiting process to be told the baby had severe congenital abnormalities and would not live. As always, you were there for me every step of the way, from calming me down during complete breakdowns to taking me to appointments to distracting me to helping around the house and yard. You were there, unwavering, even when I said I wanted to try again immediately.
I became pregnant 3 months after losing my baby. We didn’t talk about it. We spent hours discussing anything else. We didn’t speak about the future. You didn’t ask me about my pregnancy symptoms. You wanted to be excited, but you saw my anger. Honestly, I did too, but I couldn’t stop myself.
I wanted to say thank you for making me dinner, but what came out was my anger for the empty chair at my table.
I wanted to say thank you for the baby clothes and toys, but what came out was my anger for the milestones I will never see.
I wanted to say thank you for putting the crib together, but what came out was my anger for a crib that shouldn’t be empty.
I wanted to say thank you for setting up the baby equipment, but what came out was my anger for the dreams that vanished.
I wanted to say thank you for loving me, but what came out was my anger for every parent that got to keep their child, while I didn’t get to keep mine.
My anger was not fair to any of us. I saw the eggshells I made you walk on. I felt the silence I put you in. I saw the pain in your eyes when you couldn’t fix it for me, even though I couldn’t fix it for myself. I wish I could’ve stopped, but the world doesn’t prepare you for losing your baby. It doesn’t teach you what to do when there’s no one to blame.
I wanted to say thank you for making a grave where one didn’t exist. I wanted to say thank you for making space in the nursery for both my babies, the one I lost and the one I have. I wanted to say thank you for never forgetting your lost grandbaby is and will always be part of our family.
I wanted to say thank you for showing up for me every day, for not letting my anger recoil you, and for knowing what I needed more than I did.
I wanted to say thank you. I couldn’t then, but I can now.
Thank you, Mom, and Dad, the two people who define what being a parent is!
About Julz Richterman
Julz is a freelance medical writer specializing in the mental health and technological aspects of fertility. Her 10+ years’ experience as a healthcare professional did not prepare her for the loss of her baby at the end of her first trimester in July 2021. She lived firsthand how limiting and broken the system can be, even for someone who knows how to navigate it well. However, she also experienced the continuous and unbroken compassion from her healthcare team, family, and friends.
A year after losing her baby, she gave birth to her rainbow baby. She credits both her children for giving her the courage to leave corporate life and start her own business freelancing. Now she uses her experience as both a healthcare professional and patient to ensure everyone feels connected and supported by making pregnancy loss and infertility conversations less taboo. To learn more about her, please visit her LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/gabrielle-julz-richterman.