*Trigger warning for pregnancy loss*
On September 19th, 2007, I gave birth to a beautiful girl named Anais. She had ten fingers, ten toes, and a delicate face. When she was born, the doctor exclaimed, “She’s perfect,” yet she was dead…
I used to have a visceral reaction when I heard the word ‘perfect.’ I would cringe, feeling angry and focused on what I had lost trying to live to those expectations. When I heard the doctor describe Anais as ‘perfect,’ I felt offended and thought “she’d be perfect if she was alive.” My reaction was normal under the circumstances (20+ hours of labor and three pregnancy losses) but now I can see that she is perfect.
In order to achieve this positive perspective, I had to give myself permission and space to:
- Express and process through all my negative feelings and thoughts,
- Be validated for my loss, and
- Redefine life, perfection, and all its components.
Merriam-Webster defines perfect as a: being entirely without fault or defect, b: satisfying all requirements, c: corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept.
What we perceive as faults, requirements, or the ideal depends greatly on context. Some faults are strengths in different situations. When you do not meet all the requirements for one position, you may very well open the door to a better one. There are many different paths to reach the same endpoint…
Thus perfection has evolved to mean when my behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are harmonious and encourage me on the path that most honors my authentic self as well as evokes deep connections with others. My baby angels and all children are guides for me on this perfect path. Embracing loss, chaos, negativity, discovering my true self and seeing all the miracles we take for granted is perfection and a grand leap to peace.
As my partner eloquently describes “I am forever grateful for this loss. It was the beginning of my great realignment with my true compassionate self. A life not measured by accomplishment but treasured through connection. She is always with me, tempering my anger, flattening my ego and helping me keep my hand outstretched with kindness and generosity.”
Upon deeper reflection, I discovered another gift that Anais’s and my other babies’ deaths gave me, they were wake-up calls for me to prioritize and nurture myself. Anais especially as I’ll never forget her last movement…I was at work late faxing documents to a lawyer. I was an in-home intensive family therapist for the department of human services dealing with gut-wrenching scenarios. I chose to minimize my discomfort and fears to keep working. Even though I went through a period of self-blame, I know that everything that happens to us has value and meant to teach us. I could not have done anything differently at that point yet I now cherish every day a gift as you never know when it will be your last.
Below is what I sent all my extended family to inform of my daughter’s death…
Here are some resources on your journey:
“First off — we need a new word for it. ‘Mis-carriage,’ in an insidious way, suggests fault for the mother — as if she dropped something, or failed to ‘carry.’ From what I’ve learned, in all but the most obvious, extreme cases, it has nothing to do with anything the mother did or didn’t do. So let’s wipe all blame off the table before we even start.” ~James Van Der Beek, via https://www.today.com/parents/james-van-der-beek-opens-about-miscarriages-emotional-moving-post-t137092
Take wonderful care of yourself and family ❤