Sunday, October 9, 2011

How about a tear-stained Target gift card?

Yesterday was the due date of my second baby, Juliet, who I lost at 8 weeks. The dates always hit like anvils. This is what could have been. This is what should have been. It's a quiet grief, like the tree that falls in the forest that no one hears.

I lost this baby after an ordeal of praying and hoping and believing this baby would make it. I had already been through miscarriage hell that previous fall. On February 28 I started spotting. I knew it was over but I held out hope. On February 28 I found out my younger brother and his wife were pregnant with their first, due October 31.

Of course their baby was and is fine.

He will make his grand appearance very soon.

There have been many times in the past seven months that I've been ok. Ok with their baby. Ok with grieving and still celebrating their baby.

But today I just feel like shit.

I bought them a small gift but no big gift yet. I know I'm expected to buy like the stroller or something. I've put it off for so long. I'm running out of time. But every time I visit the Target website, I just can't do it.

Any advice?

love to all,


  1. I always shopped online (avoided stores like the devil), or crocheted a baby blanket... even buying online is still emotionally charged though. So no real advice, unfortunately. Thinking of you though, because I know that loss anniversaries and *shadow babies are difficult to deal with.

    (*I once read someone call babies born around dates connected to a loss that, the term stuck with me. I have my fair share of them in my life too.)

  2. I would give her a big gift card and be done with it. They should be more than understanding about the difficulty that will bring for you!

    My best friend has a "shadow baby" who was born on the due date of my first loss. I'm very detached from her daughter, not at all the same cuddly bond I usually have for friends' babies. I'm sure I'll always think of my tiny niece like that, too, since she was born right after my second loss. She would be five months younger than my first and seven months older than my second. I will probably always wonder about how crazy and fun it would have been to have all three little cousins running around.

    I made a gift basket for my sister-in-law, and in retrospect I wish I would have just bought her a bigger gift card and sent it in the mail. Putting together the blanket, special toys, and classic books was excruciating. We'd both be better off if she had some extra $$ to spend at Target!

    - abby @ acheerfulheart

  3. I had lost 2 babies by the time my brother and his wife announced they were having a baby. With no regards for my losses I was expected to be the happy sister; expected to share in their happiness although they refused to acknowledge my grief. I was also expected to and managed to throw the baby shower with my sister for my SIL (the whiniest, most obnoxious pregnant woman I’ve ever met!) It was difficult but I concentrated on how much I love my brother. For as much as it hurt me, my pain was not his fault and I just had to keep reminding myself that I needed to be happy for him. I shared the cost of the travel system with my parents so I wouldn’t have to do the shopping, in the store or online. I will say it was one of the most unpleasant things that I’ve had to do, but with the support of my sister and cousin, I was able to tough it out through the shower.

    (On a side note: I had a D&C for my 3rd miscarriage 4 days after the birth of my nephew. Again, trying to keep my sadness and misery bottled because everyone wanted to be happy for the baby and I would have been looked upon as the whiner trying to steal attention. I have had to look at every milestone of J’s and think of where my 3 babies would be right now. After finding a doctor who listened and diagnosed and treated my IF issues I am now pregnant for the 4th time. I am currently 26 weeks and you wouldn’t know I was having a baby if you asked any family member other than my sister. I do not get nearly the amount of support that my brother and his wife did and have even experienced some hostility from my brother and sister-in-law in regards to my pregnancy. My lesson learned in life: Do what you can to the best of your ability regardless of the people around you…because in the end you are the only one who needs to be proud of your accomplishments.)

  4. I also wanted to add that feeling so upset does not make you a bad woman or a bad aunt. I have really struggled with enormous negative emotions about my niece, and I've had to keep telling myself: This sadness and anger isn't because I'm a "bad aunt," but because I'm a good mommy. Seeing my little niece, whom I do love and do want the best for, isn't hard because there is any animosity towards her; she's a baby and hasn't done anything wrong. It's just a painful wake-up call to my inner mama bear. I'm furious at whoever/whatever hurt my little baby cubs and took them away from me. Is that God? Science? Hormone Levels? Chromosomes? Sin? The Devil? Chance? ...Myself? I don't know where this anger is directed, so it spews forth at whatever stirs up my Mama Bear within.

    Right after that delivery, I got a message from my mother-in-law telling me I should call and congratulate the new parents on the birth of the baby. No one called to offer me their condolences or asked how I was recovering in the previous weeks. In my most cynical moments I tell friends this family only cares about babies who live.

    My husband was one of three boy cousins born within a month in his family - one of them died in the hospital after a week; two are now strapping, healthy, married, responsible 26-year-olds. Later, my mother in law experienced a molar pregnancy discovered in the 5th month, while one of the sisters carried a shadow baby to turn. There really is no excuse for insensitivity unless they don't get that early miscarriages are still traumatic and profound losses.

  5. I feel your pain, the grief, the jealousy, the guilt and shame, the anger, etc., etc. I wish I had some words that could make it go away for you.

    I'm so sorry. It's the worst thing in the world to miss your babies. I'm saying a prayer for you.


  6. "Shadow baby" is right on the money. I lost our first pregnancy the same day as my BFs baby shower. AWESOME. I suggest diapers. Diapers are handy but they will get used up so when you visit in the future you do not have to see "ye most special keepsake". You can also ship them from Amazon. I actually still have one of the presents off my BF's registry( their son is 4.5) because I could not bring myself to wrap it and yet could not bring myself to throw it out. I bought them a different present and not one I had already imagined using. Later on at the baby's dedication I hid in the back so no one saw me cry.

    All you can do is what you can do. My best friend understood and your brother and his wife will too, if not now then some day. I could never bring myself to hold my BF's firstborn. It was too scary and I FORCED myself to hold her second baby. It was terrifying. And one of the things I love most about my BF is that she knows I love her and did my best. Sometimes my best sucked, but I always tried. Protect your heart, your family will be too busy to notice for first few weeks till you feel stronger.

  7. You ladies are the best. I'm so thankful for you!

  8. Aww darlin... I'm kinda inbetween - I guess I'm one of those that just suck it up and do it regardless of how much pain it causes me, and rarely does anyone know what my emotions are concerning anything!!
    But to protect yourself, I'd say the gift-card idea is awesome!!! Plus I'd almost rather give a card so that they can get the exact one they want rather than what I'd think they'd like... IDK, that's me?? I know I've had to go with a few people recently to set up their registry and that was hard, more than hard actually. But everyone is different I'd say... Definitely agree with Celia, protect your heart and do what you can - either they'll understand or they won't but honestly if they don't understand then there is nothing you can do about it. <3

  9. "Shadow baby", what a great way to put it. I found out a month after my recent miscarriage that my best friend is pregnant and due when I would have been. I think that day was almost worse than the day I found out my pregnancy was over. I couldn't have predicted the jealousy and hurt I felt.

    Honestly? (And I'm sorry if this offends anyone...) I think it's ridiculous that your family has expectations about the size of the gift you give them. Since when do people get to tell us how big of a present to buy them?? I think a gift card is fine, and it's insensitive of them to expect anything otherwise.

  10. I've had friends due within a week of each of my due dates. All of their babies are perfect. And of course, I'm thrilled for them. But, pissed for me. I find that over time, the hurt of looking at their baby and seeing what you should have fades. Regardless, you need to do what is best for you. I like the diapers idea! It's kind of snarky, if you think about it. I've been a complete wreck the past week, and I couldn't figure out why until I looked at the calendar. The due date for my third pg is in two weeks. Man, those due dates with empty arms hit hard. Thinking of you.
    And hey, I posted a bit about this today but if you haven't already heard about it, check out this site:
    I think it's a really interesting idea.

  11. Hey Marleah, no offense at all. I think they assume that I have all this money because I live in LA but really, I spend my money on medical bills, yay! Anyway, thanks y'all.

  12. Gift card is perfect! I might have to use that idea in a few months. Glad I read this thread!

    This shit really sucks! I feel your pain Ed. I lost 2 little ones earlier this year. Aug. 29 was my due date and I was a hot mess! About a week or 2 after my due date, my older sister told me she was pregnant...again. She just had her first baby 6 months ago.

    She's 5 months along now and I know the farther along she gets, the more difficult it will be for me. I am thankful we don't live in the same state right now. I would not be able to handle being at her baby shower. It makes me so sad. I was sooooooo involved in her first pregnancy (before my losses) and I wanted to know everything and talk about everything. I'm still involved in her current pregnancy , but I hold back a lot. I have to in order to protect myself. I feel robbed of being able to fully experience the happiness I had during her first pregnancy. It was very special.

    Our losses impact so many aspects of our lives. Our grief would be a little easier if people knew that.

  13. So thankful I found your blog and love reading everyone else's comments I hope I am not too late though My 2nd baby's due date was SUPPOSED to be 0ct 13 2011. That never happened. My co workers' due dates were SEPT 26 they did happen. I don't buy gifts I buy gift cards. I can't do it I just can't do it and if someone faults me for this well too bad for them.