It’s been 14 days of missing Joen, which just so happens to land on February 14, Valentines Day. A lot has happened this week in my journey of grieving and healing. I’ve learned the importance of self care and compassion, for myself and James. In trying times like these, I see how it may be easy to drift away from society, as the world has kept on moving while our world stopped the moment we lost Joen. Days of the week don’t seem to matter very much anymore; even day is just another day without Joen.
When we first came home from the hospital without Joen, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I just knew I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. I lost the ability to see good in the world – a world which seemed so cruel and unfair to our little family. I was protective of Joen and my experience and I didn’t want to share it with anyone, thinking no one would ever understand the heartache I felt.
I spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting on what my mind, body, and heart recently endured. I remembered how strong of a person I was leading up to and throughout my pregnancy. I thought about the pain, and the beauty and love that emerged from it. I saw Joen’s face, imprinted in my memory. I knew I had to share it with as many people as I could because his was a life to be honoured.
As difficult as it was to first open up and hear myself write and say the words that were our reality, I realized it was the most genuine and loving way to remember him. I want people to know him. I want people to say his name. And I hope he brings a smile to their faces. Talking about Joen with others is healing for us because it reminds me that he is loved and that his life mattered.
My baby who was stillborn has given me the courage to build connections across the world and realize the strength of my voice. Joen, along with other grieving parents who I am grateful for, have given me the courage to share our story on social media, a platform that is wide open, exposed and can sometimes be scary.
And by sharing my story of loss and talking openly about Joen, I’ve discovered a close-knit community of loss parents who walk a very similar path as James and I, and they are some of the strongest people I know. Our shared experience of loss has connected us in a special way, and it’s a bond that’s unlike any other.
Putting our honest truth out there can make us feel vulnerable. I’ve noticed that my feelings change from one day to the next. On any given day, I could feel energized, uplifted and empowered talking about what I went through and about everything I’m doing for Joen, but the next day, I want to curl up in a ball and hide from the world and social interactions.
It’s a constant balancing act between love and loss, and I am thankful that our family, friends and a newfound community of loss parents have been helping James and I embrace these two big parts of our lives. From the connections I have already made with other parents and Mamas who have experienced and written about losing a baby, I have found comfort in knowing that I am not alone.