Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Kristin Jennifer

My first baby was born thirty-five years ago today -- she never breathed her first gulp of air or emptied her lungs with a gusty cry. She was stillborn two months early. In those days, there were no ultrasounds to warn us that something was terribly wrong. By the time we realized there were serious issues, I had already begun my labor, and she was born quickly in the middle of the night. I was given anesthesia, and never allowed to see her or hold her -- in those days they didn't know how much a mother needed those final moments to touch and love the baby she had carried in her body and heart for all those months.

From the perspective of years and wisdom, I realize that with the severe mental and physical disabilities she had, it was probably a blessing that she didn't live. The doctor told me she was "imcompatible with life", and I have assured myself over the years that she is better off with God. On her birthday, though, I can't help but mourn what she could have been -- wondering what color her hair was, and her eyes, and thinking that if she had been healthy, she would probably have been a mother herself by now.

I will close with deep love, and wishes for a wonderful birthday in Heaven today, and with a poem that has touched my heart and perfectly describes the anguish of all mothers who hold these precious lost babies in our hearts forever.

The Lost Children

the ones we never speak of --
miscarried, unborn,
removed by decree,
taken too soon, crossed over.
They slip red mittens in our hands,
smell of warm wet wool,
are always out of sight.
We glimpse them on escalators,
over the shoulders of dark-haired women,
they return to us in dreams.
We hold them, as they evanesce;
we never speak their names.
How many children do you have?
Two, we answer, thinking three,
or three, we answer, thinking four;
they are always with us.
The lost children
come to us
at night
and whisper
in the shells
of our ears.
They are waving goodbye
on schoolbuses,
they are separated from us
in stadiums,
they are lost in shopping malls
with unspeakable pools,
they disappear on beaches,
they shine at night in the stars.

By Barbara Crooker, from Motherhood: Journey Into Love

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