Guest Post: Learning how to love myself again
Written by Aubrey's momma, Julie Shapiro
I blinked and it was March 1, 2021. A new year, a new season, but the same heavy sadness inside of me. In the weeks after Aubrey died, I convinced myself that all I needed was a few weeks to start feeling stronger. But here I am, months out, wondering how much more time would need to pass until I started to feel that strength. Then I looked in the mirror and caught myself…yes, it’s a new year, it’s a new season, and I am 100000x stronger for carrying this heavy sadness for the last 4 months.
It is so incredibly easy to be mad every second of every day. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I have a mental running list of each person who has said something insensitive to or about me since my loss, even if it was not intentional. I know every single person who didn’t reach out, or those who reached out too many weeks later. I can’t help but be angry at every person who got to be pregnant at the same time as me, but who gets to spend their weekends snuggling their babies instead of standing graveside. I am angry at every single person who will never have to endure the pain of losing a child.
But what does hating anyone do? That is not the type of mother I am, or the example I want to lead for my child. Whether she is physically here with me or spiritually with me in my heart, I will always be a mother- Aubrey’s mother, and for that I need to be sure I am always setting an example for her.
On the days when the anger towards others is overflowing inside, it is hard to not turn that anger into hatred towards myself. Why was I unable to get my baby here safely? Why did I not know something was wrong? What did I do in live to deserve this; why am I being punished? The first few weeks after Aubrey’s death, these were the questions I was pondering nonstop. But recently someone said something that resonated so deeply: the best way for me to love Aubrey, is to love myself.
I know my daughter is watching me, and I do not even want to imagine how sad it makes her to see how much self-resentment I have. I do not want her to feel like she made me hate myself. I want her to see and know that her mother is a tough cookie, and that she will move mountains in honor of her baby girl.
So for these reasons, I will continue on my journey of learning to love myself as Aubrey’s mom. I spent every moment I had with her loving her, protecting her, making memories with her and plans for her. I am an amazing mother to her, and everything that I was able to control, I did so with a mothers love. While she is not here for me to snuggle, I know she is always with me and sends me no shortage of signs to remind me that. Just this morning, I unrolled my yoga mat to see it was covered in pink glitter. A special little sign, since I went to bed last night with a promise to myself that March is the month I will learn how to love myself again.