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Living in Spaces of Both/And

Recently, I have been working really hard to acknowledge the space of both, and in my personal and professional lives. It’s hard for me to separate the two as I have worked to integrate them in healthy ways that serve me. It has been nea

rly a year and half since we lost our sweet boys and just yesterday my brother and sister-in-law had their precious baby boy. The multitude of thoughts, feelings, emotions I experienced are hard to put into words. When I learned my SIL was expecting, I was both happy for them and sad at the reality that they would have their baby boy and I had lost mine. I noticed that I held my breath every time my SIL went to a doctor’s appointment: hoping for news that baby was developing “normally” and praying that there was no “bad” news. Upon learning my SIL would go for a C-section earlier than planned, my body tensed, and the wait for baby boy felt excruciatingly long. Several hours later we received a text that baby was here and healthy, but that mom was hemorrhaging. Feelings of grief washed over me and I found it difficult to both stop intrusive thoughts of worst case scenarios, and trust that she was in the best place and everything would be

okay. Several more hours later, we learned that the family had been transferred to their room and we could come visit and meet Baby B the next day. I felt both the immense relief that Baby B and mom are healthy and safe settled in, and I found my way to my bed, curled up in a ball, clenching my stomach and my heart, and let out a good cry. I cried tears of joy, happiness, sadness, anger, confusion. . . I talked to my boys and told them how much I love and miss them and asked them to just be with me. Eventually, I fell asleep snuggled up next to my daughter.

When I shared that I would be going to the hospital to meet my nephew/Godson, my partner said, “is it bad, am I bad for not being excited that everyone is having babies?” clearly not interested in going with me. All of this broke my heart. All I could say is that it is okay to be sad and angry, not want or be ready to celebrate the new babies coming into the world and wish others in our life the best. I realized it is really hard to push down or away feelings of happiness, as they are a reminder of what we no longer have and learning to do both things (feel happiness and sadness simultaneously). Grief is a process, and honoring spaces of both/and has proven to be exhausting but I stand in my “truth” in these moments and trust that I am doing what I need to do for me.

Power of Vulnerability

Since losing our boys, I have chosen to share my narrative in ways that protect me while being honest about my process. Every. Day. Is. Different. Time does NOT heal all wounds. What I have learned is that my support system is aware of my spaces of both, and they check in and honor my love and loss. My SIL texted me the morning after I met Baby B and said, “I know you’re an amazing Titi, but I also want to make sure you’re ok” to which I replied, “To be totally honest, I loved holding him and it made me sad realizing how much I love babies and don’t have mine. Probably good that others were there to distract me from those thoughts.” Meeting and holding my nephew/Godson was both one of the greatest, and most difficult things I have done since losing my boys. My journey is not about accepting my losses, or letting go of them. I am constantly engaging in my personal, unique process to integrate my losses. I will never be healed. I know I feel excruciating pain, and I can keep living life, moving forward, and treasuring each day that is to come. I believe Baby B will bring me and our family so much joy.

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