As I sit in Elliot’s room and think about the past five months, I can’t help but feel proud of how far I’ve come. I have done a lot of soul-searching recently. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my life as it is now, my family, and what I want my future to look like. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is that I can’t control many of the outcomes in my life. To some extent, I already knew that, even before Elliot passed away. But it really hit me when Ben and I went home without her.
Coming to the realization that I don’t actually have control over certain things was incredibly scary. I did my best to provide a safe and healthy environment for Elliot. I could not have done anything different to change the outcome. It has taken me (what feels like) a long time to understand, believe, and accept that. I have also accepted that my life will never be how I once imagined it. I am a loss mother. I cannot change that. There is no going back.
Until recently, I didn’t know how to look forward to a future that doesn’t include Elliot physically. After months of confusion, anger, profound sadness, and many tears, the fog is finally lifting. I can see a new life; one that includes many challenges, still, but also happiness and joy. It is possible and okay to be happy and sad at the same time. It took a lot of self-examination and self-acceptance to get to where I am today.
It is no secret that Ben and I want to have more children. When Elliot first passed away, I felt guilty for even thinking about having another baby one day. I worried that wanting another baby meant I wanted to replace Elliot. I didn’t want to betray her like that. I understand now that having a second child would not be a betrayal to Elliot. She wants us to have more children.
Elliot can never be replaced. I will always miss and love her. No matter what, a special piece of my heart will always belong to her. She will always be my first baby and she will always be an important part of our family. She is very much a part of our daily lives and will always be included in everything we do. Parenting a deceased child is incredibility difficult. Ben and I have learned that it can also be rewarding. You may wonder how parenting a decease child can be rewarding. I honestly don’t know how to explain it. It’s one of those things you have to experience to really understand. We cannot see or hold Elliot, but we feel her all around us. She likes to send us signs, all of which we consider to be beautiful gifts from our little girl.
My heart will always ache because I cannot hold Elliot in my arms. I still have lows. The sadness seems to be getting deeper and more intense with every low. But those moments are less frequent and don’t last quite as long. Elliot has given me the strength to work through them.
Even though my motherhood didn’t turn out the way I thought it would, I have fully embraced it. I hope I get the chance to parent a living child someday. I have opened my heart to that possibility again. The thought of having another baby is scary because I know I have very little control over how things will turn out. But the excitement and hope outweigh the fear. I will do my best, as I did with Elliot, and pray for a different outcome. I am ready to open my heart to another child. It is filled with so much love. I have Elliot to thank for that.
In this moment, even with so much uncertainty about the future, I feel much closer to clarity, acceptance, and peace.
Thank you for helping me through this journey, Elliot. I love you baby girl.
The cover image is a photo of a clay heart and a couple with a baby. Ben and I made these when we attended our hypnobirthing course. They still sit in Elliot’s room.