The Old Me Died When My Baby Died
By: Lindsey Dell
As human beings, I believe that we all go through stages of life. I believe that some of them are pretty standard for everyone (puberty, adulthood, etc.). I also believe that there are many things that happen to us in life that change the stage that we’re in. It changes the way we look at life and how we remember specific moments in time.
For example, I wholeheartedly believe that experiences, whether joyful or traumatic, can lead us to remember our lives in different phases. My life will forever be divided up into three phases: Pre-pregnancy, During Pregnancy, After Loss. Here’s how this works:
Friend 1: “Hey do you remember when we did (insert activity here) in August of 2019?”
Me: “Oh yep, I remember. That was right before I got pregnant for the first time.”
Friend 2: “Hey do you remember that race we ran in December of 2019?”
Me: “Of course! That was when we had just found out we were having a baby girl!”
Friend 3: “Man, 2020 has been terrible. Covid really ruined a lot of things. I really want to go out and do (insert activity here).”
Me: “I lost my daughter in February. I don’t want to go anywhere at all. Ever.”
These are mostly hypothetical conversations, but you get the idea.
I’ve written about my pre-marriage life before. It was wonderful. Tons of running, traveling to different places and running, lots of friends and a fairly busy social calendar. Now, let’s be honest. I have never really been much of an extrovert (except probably when I was MUCH younger). A friend of mine and I used to joke that our “fun-meter was on red” when we had too much social time. That really was the best way to describe it. No matter how much fun I had, my “fun-meter” always needed to be recharged at some point, which usually meant just hanging out at home alone and watching trash tv.
After meeting my husband in 2017, some of those things changed. Not a ton, but some. I didn’t run as much (not his fault…I was burnt out). I still saw my friends regularly and would still travel every now and then. I am extremely lucky and grateful that I have had the same friends throughout this entire time. Even more grateful for my husband, who has been an angel through everything (and for the most part doesn’t judge my trash tv).
Here’s the problem. While it is never spoken about, it feels to me like there is, and will always be, an expectation for things to always be how they were. People want things to go back to “pre-covid times.” And while I agree with some of that, there is one important detail. THE OLD ME DIED WHEN MY BABY DIED.
Yes, you read that correctly. The old me died when my baby died. It’s exactly what it sounds like. The me that you read about above no longer exists. On the outside, I am the same (plus a few pounds). On the inside, I don’t even know anymore. The me that used to love running, traveling, and hanging out with friends is gone. Enter new me. Still runs sometimes, doesn’t travel much, makes plans with friends but often cancels for any myriad of reasons. New me is always afraid to give the real reason for cancelling plans because new me thinks old friends are tired of hearing about how sad new me is. New me thinks that old friends want me to be the me that I was pre-pregnancy. In reality, I would venture to say that old friends just want new me to be happy and maybe leave the house to see them every once in a while. But new me has a “fun-meter” that goes to red MUCH faster than old me. New me has a massive (theoretical) hole in my heart that can never be filled. Old me had a life with amazing friends and family and a husband who all made my heart completely full. While the amazing friends, family and husband still remain, old me does not. New me wants to stay home most of the time. New me doesn’t want to try new things because there is comfort in old things.
I am just a few days shy of turning 40. There are days when I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing in those 40 years. Motherhood does not define you, but baby loss might. Realistically I know I am no less of a person in my 40 years because I have no earth-side children. But new me sometimes forgets and has to be reminded by old me. Old me wants new me to know that it’s ok to cancel plans if my heart just isn’t in it. Old me wants old friends to know that I love to be included in plans, but please don’t take offense if the day comes and new me doesn’t feel like going. New me wants old friends to know that sometimes old me is trying to make a comeback. New me asks that old friends (and family) just continue to stay by my side while the battle between old and new plays out. Old me asks that you be gentle with new me, because the old me died when my baby died.
About Lindsey Dell
Lindsey is a mother to 2 angel babies. She lives in Cottleville, MO with her husband Nathan and their 3-year-old Wheaten Terrier, Louie. They are still hopeful that they will have their rainbow baby one day.
New you has always been and will always be loved and cherished by all of us old us’s. Old you has gone through a lot and new you, she who has risen through the ashes of a life once lived, is stronger albeit in different ways than probably imagined. Holdfast in the understanding that we just want you, whatever version you are today, whatever version you are tomorrow and the next, you.
I quadruple this. Old me, old you, new me, new you. We are all snapshots of ourselves in different seasons of our lives. Old you was beautiful. New you is beautiful. All versions are loved. We just want you to find your smile and know that we are here for you always.
Thank you ❤️
I love both yous-old and new. I have experienced losses in my life that have changed me forever. I have never experienced your type of loss and I can’t imagine what that feels like. Just know that I am here whenever you need me ❤️
This article was beautifully written.
Love you mommy
As parents, there is no “Old me” or “New me”.
There is ‘You’.
All the good, the bad, the excruciating heartaches, the triumphs, disappointments, the uncertainties of life itself.
As a Dad, we feel as you feel, celebrate as you celebrate, cry as you cry.
You are me, as I am you.
As a Dad, we are strong, but we are not.
We just do an exceptional job of hiding it.
Sometimes the teacher is the student.
Our children teach us the meaning of life.
Even when life is as cruel as it can be.
We are always here for you as,
you for us.
When having a child that is no longer earth-side. An “Old Me, New Me” is a way to adapt to the new normal, loss parents have to go through. It comes across invalidating by saying there isn’t an old or new version of a person after loss especially when that is how they feel. Everyone grieves differently. Our experience changes us with any type of loss that deeply touches our lives. For example, old me used to think a healthy pregnancy meant a living baby, new me now knows complications can arise like stillbirth due to trauma during delivery. Or old me would’ve hiked this trail but new me know won’t because last time I hiked it I was still pregnant. Or old me would’ve been excited going by their maternity and baby aisle at stores, new me looks the other way instead. Or old me would’ve loved to go to my friends baby showers, but new me hurts at the thought of it.
“Earth side” , that is the best.
Can totally relate. Great read, thank you!
I am in constant turmoil with old me|new me, and so intensely now as the 1 year date that I lost my baby fast approaches. I dread the days and have restless nights. The heartache is so unbearable it feels physical. Dearest Lindsay xx Your article is so beautifully and genuinely written. It’s gentle and honest and deserves validation in every word xx It takes an unknown strength to speak up about a pain so deep and raw. Old me died when my baby died too. Sending the old and new you so much love and strength xx
Thank you! I’m so sorry you have to go through this too. Sending so much love to you.
Thank you for sharing this! I lost my baby niece and I feel that my entire family died when our baby died. Because I was not the mother, I feel like I had no support for no one. I eventually turned to God and Share! Been reading articles and attending the walks every year. This year I am attending as Ms. Missouri State Plus America 2022 because I feel like Mothers across the world should have support