I am the mother of four boys. Four precious "perfect-in-every-way" little boys. One of whom happens to have been born still.
My son Lennon was stillborn at thirty one weeks and five days. His life, and the weight of his existence on my heart, measures equally to my living children. Yet, so often, I am confronted with people who wish to ignore him entirely. My son Lennon was not a stillbirth, as many choose to see him as. He was a baby, made from love; wanted desperately and prayed for each day. The manner in which he was born does not take away from who he is to us. It may feel more comfortable to ignore my son's existence. To me, however, every time someone counts my children, my pregnancies or my blessings, I feel wisps of anger rise from within. Knowing the purposeful inaccuracies that I am forced to politely accept at the end of each encounter. I've long since stopped longing for others to choose to mourn my son with me. Now I only wish that I will not be made to pretend along with you. That I won't need to sacrifice my heart, my need to acknowledge him, to ease someone else's discomfort. You see, I live a life that is always tinged with loss. My happiest moments are painted with bright brushstrokes, then painted over with shades of grey. These shades are added when my eyes scan my three happy, living children. Only then to feel the wind taken from my sails, as I'm made aware of the painful reality that one will always be missing. My every breath is marked by the knowing that I will always live without.
I do not ask that any one share this burden with me; I merely ask that they don't force me to pretend that the burden doesn't exist. I don't ask that anyone share in loving my son; I just hope that they don't ask me to not show that love by sharing him. I don't ask that any one change the way they choose to grieve (or not grieve) my son, I only ask that I am not forced to pretend that my grief is something to get over and move on from. Recently, I've realized that although my son's life has changed me irrevocably, it carried less weight to those close to me.... those who do not want to, or do not choose to, treasure the soul that I was blessed to hold for nearly thirty two weeks. I don't wish to change anyone's heart. Including my own.