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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Aimee M

Dear Aimee,

I am sorry that you feel sad. Although I can never fully understand your emotions and all you have been through, I have been by your side through all of this, and I want you to know that it is OK that you still feel conflicted feelings about what we went through.

I can imagine that watching one of your best friends go through labor might make you feel all kinds of strange emotions, not necessarily directed at her, because of course you are happy she had a great labor -- no one wants their friends to hurt, and no one wishes the kind of pain you went through on anyone else. But I can imagine being right up close to it -- the first delivery of someone close to you since your own -- might awaken those feelings inside you that you have not yet been able to heal. And that is OK. It will take years to heal -- maybe never. You won't ever forget and get "over" what happened. But you will learn how to maneuver around it so that you can LIVE. And that is why I am here. I will carry you over the hurdles that are too high for you to jump yourself, I will be holding on to your hand when you are scared, and your baby and I will continue shining light on you so that you can see when it feels dark inside.

I can imagine that you might feel feelings of jealousy and hurt, especially since her delivery was in the same hospital as yours and the doctors/nurses did not mess her up. It seems like everything went great, and it should have been that way for you, too. But you should know that the things that went wrong with your delivery were not your fault. You are not weak; you are not messed up or broken. You are strong, and the things that happened with your delivery are NOT YOUR FAULT. You did not somehow deserve them. The doctors messed up -- plain and simply. Their negligence literally almost killed you. And it happened. And it's OK now.

It is over now. Do you realize that? It is over. You are done with it.

I can imagine that watching your friend go through labor might bring up those emotions again, but remember, you are done. And I can imagine that you were also very scared for her yesterday, too, because you think that labor is something bad, something dangerous, but it is not. It is a beautiful process. She was not in danger. She is OK now, and so are you. So is your baby, and so is her baby.

Furthermore, I can imagine you felt mixed emotions to see a picture of her newborn lying on his mother's chest with the rays of sunlight shining onto them, just like heaven. So joyful and beautiful! Perfect bliss and love. It is hard not to insert your emotions into that scene. We don't have a single picture of you and your baby for weeks. You did not get to lie in the sunlight with your new baby. All of the photos we have of your newborn are her alone, lying there alone, shaking, scared, in a room nowhere near her mommy. No one even has pictures of you. Heavens, no. You were too scary, too gross, too dying, too out of it. You probably feel like you may as well have not existed or been a part of the delivery because the only photo of you is one you took yourself on your cell phone on the Thursday after she was delivered, right before you went into the ICU.

I know that it hurts you that you did not get to be with your baby. I know that seeing your friend with her new baby reminded you that you did not get that experience. I cannot imagine how it must feel to have someone living INSIDE your body, and then taken out and taken away. It must feel like having your soul ripped out of your chest. Actually, much worse than that.

That all being said, I can imagine how upsetting it is for you to think that your baby did not get to lie on your chest and hear your familiar heartbeat. But do not feel guilty about that. Your baby is OK. She has always been strong. She does not hold it against you. She does not think you are weak. She thinks you are an awesome mom who fought so hard for her. She knows how hard you fought for her, and that, in and of itself, creates a stronger bond than any child born in "perfect" conditions. Your baby's first knowledge of you was that you would do anything for her, even beyond what is humanly possible; the doctors said people cannot survive after losing 70 percent of their blood, yet you made it. Your baby is not the only miracle here. Think about that. Your baby never felt alone, because she has always been connected to you, and she always will be.

You don't have to feel guilty about what happened because it was not your fault. You tried harder than anyone else could have in that position, and I am so proud of you. Your baby is, too. In fact, that is why I think she is such a fighter today -- so motivated and powerful and incredible. She has watched you be that way from day one. What a great gift to give to your daughter. You are so passionate about teaching her what it means to be a strong woman, and look, you embodied everything she needs to know within the first few days of her life.

Although the physical and emotional pain was and will always be hard on you, the lasting impacts that it will have on your baby are more profound -- more important. You have taught her how to be a strong woman, and how to overcome anything.  In that, you should never feel weak, because you are the opposite. When we are weak, we are really the strongest.

Aimee, you don't need to be "over this." You are doing great. It is OK if you feel like crying. It is OK if sometimes you need help. But remember, you don't need to go through all of the emotions of your delivery again, because you have already overcome it. You can cry, but you should make sure some of those are tears of pride.


Danielle Jimenez said...

WOW! I have felt just like this many times too, Aimee! I thought I was just being silly when I was jealous of other women getting to be with their baby after birth. I had to have an emergency c-section and don't remember a whole lot after 3 hours of pushing. It sounds like you had something far more intense though. I love your letter!

Aimee said...

Childbirth is a really intense experience with so many expectations hanging around it. It never turns out how we expect it to, which I guess is a foreshadow for the unexpected paths of parenting! ha.

Laura said...


Laurel said...

You are so right, it IS okay to cry, it is okay to cry until it physically hurts, how else are we supposed to move past the pain and mend. I thought your letter was so honest and heartbreaking all at the same time. Keep loving every part of you!

Iman Woods Creative said...

You are the definition of Mother. Your daughter is the definition of light. Through pain you gave birth to light.

Amberama Machete said...

You are so beautiful and an inspiration and I am truly blessed that I know you!

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