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Motherhood After Loss: What It's Like to Lose an Infant

Motherhood After Loss: What It's Like to Lose an Infant

Motherhood After Loss: What It's Like to Lose an Infant

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew in an instant my whole life would change. I did everything in my power to prepare for every eventuality of parenthood, but what I never could have prepared for was that my son would die only three days after he was born.

I didn't know at the time what it was like to be a parent, because my son was my first child, but I knew even less how to be a parent to a child who was dead. You become a mother when you give birth to a child, and that doesn't leave you when your child passes away. The instict to be a mother to your child is just as strong as when they are alive.

I knew that I was facing one of the most trying times of my life, but I could never have been aware of how much I would have to defend my grief. At times it is as though I am defending the very existence of my son and the worth of his life. 

Initially people were very sympathetic, but gradually they all started to get back to their lives and normality. As a mother I was left in a place where my entire world has stopped. And after what I would consider to be a short amount of time, I found that people were expecting me to be over it. Over my son - and that fact infuriated me. I felt like when they were expecting me to be my old happy self, that they were (and still are) minimizing his existence. I felt the need to defend my grief, because by defending my grief it was as though I was defending his life and his right to be grieved for. 

Instead of shutting myself away and hiding my feelings, I decided to share them with anybody who would listen. I've had an overwhelming urge to share Finley's life - by talking about him, sharing his photos and his things, and by starting my blog.

 

Initially I was so afraid about having people I knew reading some of my innermost thoughts. I've not always been an emotionally open person. But I was so desperate for people to understand what Finley dying meant for me. What his life continues to mean. And why I am STILL sad. 

I will always be sad. There will always be a part of me missing from this world. Having a child is not something you ever get over, and I don't intend to stop sharing my feelings about him. He existed and his life mattered. It mattered to me, and I want the world to know.

Image Source: Courtesy of Lisa Sissons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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TracySmith82530 TracySmith82530 3 years
You have just said everything I have felt since I lost my son 4 1/2 years ago. My son was born with a rare genetic condition that we were unaware of during my pregnancy. We found out the day after he was born. That is a moment in life I will never forget. My son lived 83 days. Losing my first born was the most difficult experience. The pain will never go away. As you said, I will ALWAYS be sad, everyday. He is still my first and last thought of the day. Over time I have learned how to deal with my pain on my own. There are many times though when I want to SCREAM out how sad I am and how much I miss and want my baby. People will never understand because it is an unimaginable experience. However, I know that the people that do care about me will always listen when I need to talk. Thank you for sharing your story and your feelings. It is nice to know that there are moms out there that feel what I will feel for the rest of my life.
LauraKinsella9384 LauraKinsella9384 3 years
i've been lucky i have 3 children. However i had three miscarriages. I though at the time i didn't have a right to feel sad for they had never been born or even been big enough to see on an ultrasound. I pushed my feelings of sadness aside but coudn't stop feeling sad and my doctor sad i was depressed and it was only after acknowledging my feelings and allowing myself to greive that i began to feel better. Although they were never born i still wonder what they would have been like if they had been. I can't begin to imagine how it would feel to lose a child that has been born. To have held them and loved them but to then have them die would be heart breaking. I think what you are doing is a wonderful idea. My husband lost his sister when she was just 16 years and to this day you only have to mention her and he gets teary. I don't think there is anything wrong with continuing to feel sad for the loss of your child and people who think you should just get over it have no idea what it's like. I wish you luck God bless.
JessicaBordenkircher JessicaBordenkircher 3 years
My son was born early and he passed 33 days after he was born... and what you said hit home to me!!! I still felt the need to mother him after he had passed!! But I'm lucky everyone around me understands if I need a moment to myself. I'm sorry you have to defend your grief and your sweet baby!!
PamPeisar PamPeisar 3 years
Thanks for sharing this.....it was almost 27 years ago that I lost my daughter on 1/21/1986. I can understand exactly your feelings and thoughts. I had those thoughts and feelings, too. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of my little girl, Danielle. I remember her birthday and her passing on the same day every year. I can still see her and still feel the love that I have for her. People need to understand that this little person was a big part of your life and cannot EVER be dismissed. Thinking of you and thanks again for sharing!!
ChristinaDugan ChristinaDugan 3 years
I had my first little girl on 4-9-11 and she passed away 3 hours after I had her. I still grieve and have a lot of pain. I have a son who is almost 3 and all everyone tells me is well you have to move on for him. I know my son needs his mom I just wish I could grieve without everyone looking at me like I am letting my other child whose living down because I am grieving the loss of his sister.
CarolMyrdal CarolMyrdal 3 years
I cannot imagine anything worse in life than losing a child. I havent lost a child but have been through other trials and I have learned that people and even 'true friends', unless they have been through the loss of a child, will not understand and will try to tell you how to deal with your grief. The best advice I can give you is to choose the people you spend time with carefully and dont expect anything from anyone. Rely on yourself and your God for inner strength and comfort - to avoid human disappointment. I am so sorry for your loss of little Finley. I would have his photos up and his things around my home if that is what you want and anyone who doesnt like that, should not be welcomed into your home. The pain will ease over time but Finley will never be forgotten (not even by me who didnt have the privilege of knowing him). Wherever he is now is a good place and you should try to take comfort in knowing that you will be reunited with him one glorious day :) Sending you strength and love.
AmberPiirainen AmberPiirainen 3 years
The future is exciting, to imagine but I find the past far more intriguing because the past LIVES on forever.
NicoleRogers60424 NicoleRogers60424 3 years
my mom had a little girl before me and my twin. she passed away when she was 3 yrs old by drowning. i think about it now at the age of 24 and wonder what it would of been like to grow up with anolder sister and i never knew her. i remember growing up and my mom on her birthday would go sit outside and look at the stars.
AmberPiirainen AmberPiirainen 3 years
Finley. I love that name. Good job, Mom. * you'll always be a mom, now & Finley will always be your first child. That's a bond you & him can't share with anyone else.
CassandraHuberSmith CassandraHuberSmith 3 years
I completely understand how you are feeling. I found out 6 months into the preganany that my son would not live. My heart was broken forever. My husbands family just completely ignores the fact that we have another child. What really is the frustrating part is that he has been gone for 5 years now, and my husbands family has taken down his picture that we gave them like he is not even real. And do not get me wrong, I am extremely happy for my sister i law. She just had a boy, which is the 2nd boy in the family because mine was the 1st. But everyone just completely disregards that there has been another boy in the family, my little angel Gavin. I wish this feeling of recentment towards her and his family will hopefully go away. I'm tired of keeping my mouth shut on how I feel. Giving birth to him was one of the best days of my life, and I miss and love him so much that I just wish people would start thinking about others before they act or speak.
MaryLambert93193 MaryLambert93193 3 years
On August 31, 1988 I gave birth to twin daughters at just 24 weeks gestation. Neither of my daughters was able to exhale their first breaths and died right after birth. Sarah and Katie were the most wanted and loved babies ever! When I was just 8 yrs old I "decided" to have twin girls and even named them then. I was and still am, DEVASTATED, that my girls are not with our family...no one seems to understand how this can still hurt 24 yrs later. My own mother wanted me to change their names in case I had other daughters so they could "have the good names"....REALLY? THIS is Sarah and Katie, any other children will have their OWN names just like my twins do. My FIL told me after the funeral that he never wanted to see me in that dress again because "I looked so sad". Are you serious? The worst thing in the WORLD just happened and I will FOREVER be saddened by it! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your pain with the world. It is a comfort to know that SOMEONE understands!
HeatherJensen47938 HeatherJensen47938 3 years
I can relate to your grief, my first daughter became an angel at 6 months and that was 15 years ago and to this day that pain is still as strong you just learn to live with that pain but it never goes away. I too defend my grief to this day on her birthday, anniversary of her passing people avoid me because they dont understand what it is like to be a parent to an angel in heaven but it is our right to grieve and keep grieving till we are reunited with our child again when God says it is time. Dont ever let anyone tell you it is time to move on because there is no way to move on after loosing a child you just manage life differently. Keep your child alive in whatever way you feel fit that is your right as a parent.
CoMMember13631153497241 CoMMember13631153497241 3 years
I wish I could meet you just to give you a hug, to say thank you for vocalising my thoughts, as well as your own. Its been eight years for me, people are still expecting me to forget and move in. Thomas was my first, he dies the day he was born. We will never forget, and we should never have to. Xx
DorothyLandsberg DorothyLandsberg 3 years
Never stop sharing. You never know when your sharing helps someone else prepare for this or helps them through what you and many other millions just like you are going through. :)
Deborah41403 Deborah41403 3 years
Thanks for sharing your deep thoughts. Now I know when I meet someone who has suffered a loss of a young infant/ child, like it happened at lunch with a bunch of girls and there was a new girl at the table, I don't have to be afraid of that awkward silence after. I have a friend who suffered a late term miscarriage and then the next baby after that was stillborn, it was a very sad blow. They have two boys 5 and 1.5 now, but it was very hard. I was at her house visiting in the morning, but later in the same afternoon/ evening was when it happened. I always worried I did or said something that made it happen but obviously that can't be true, how could a scientific person even think that. Anyway it takes time to heal, and they have a few pictures and momentos of the little angel at their house.
LindaNiswander LindaNiswander 3 years
I understand what it is to lose a baby. I've had 3 miscarriages and a still birth. 30 years later, there is still a hole in my heart. I was like you, everyone including my husband expected me to just get over it and get on with my life. After a while it didn't hurt as much, and because I am a nurse who worked in Labor and Delivery, I was able to turn my own hurt into an opportunity to minister to others. I would volunteer to take care of the mothers when we knew their babies were going to be still born and my first comment to them when I started my shift was, "I know what you are going through because I had a stillborn baby and I'm here for you". I had some amazing opportunities to share with women, made some husbands or boyfriends angry, helped families be supportive. I think it was healing for me. Later I read an amazing book that brought me comfort-Jack Hayford's book "I'll Hold You in Heaven" is a book that is totally tear stained but so comforting. Recently I read the book "Heaven is for real" and cried when the little boy told his parents that he had met his sister that had been miscarried while he was in Heaven. To this day every year on June 5th I whisper a prayer and ask Jesus to give Rachel a hug and tell her her mother loves her and misses her. I do draw comfort in knowing that one day we will be together forever and I will get to know my daughter and my other 3 babies who were miscarried. Prior to my miscarriages and stillbirth I did have one son, and I am currently raising his son. My grandson brings me great joy, but no child will replace the one you lost.
PamShaffer25821 PamShaffer25821 3 years
I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy 24 years ago. He lived one and a half days and he died on the first day of summer. He was born at 31 weeks, I had an ultrasound and it showed that I had very little amniotic fluid, a condition called oligohydramnios, I was put in the hospital that day and on complete bed rest. The doctors checked to see if I was leaking the fluid out, but I wasn't. The baby is supposed to swallow the amniotic fluid and then pee it out and thats how their lungs develop. I was in the hospital for 1 month and then they took him by C-section, because they thought he could possibly survive out of the womb. Everytime I ate a meal I had to count how many times he kicked after I ate, he loved turkey and dressing because he was very active after I ate that. I visited him several times the day he was born, the first time I went he was laying under a lamp and his eyes were closed, I whispered to the doctor and nurse who were there "Is he asleep?" Thomas's eyes opened and he looked at me, I said "Hi sweetie" the doctor asked me suprisingly, "Are his eyes open" I said yes and Thomas closed his eyes and never opened them again. He knew my voice, I carry that thought with me always and he will know my voice when I see him in Heaven. I was in the NICU holding my tiny little boy when he died in my arms, after a sleepless night of tears and begging prayers. I was able to hold him and dress him in a premie baptismal outfit after they removed all the tubes. He had his daddy's chin, a head full of light brown curly hair...So perfect and unbelieveable. He is buried in a National Cemetary because his father was in the military. Weeks later we received his autopsy report and his kidneys were not formed well and he couldn't pee, so when he swallowed the amniotic fluid he was not able to pee it out. He only weighed 2 pounds and was not all swollen and retaining fluid, so I stiil don't understand what happened... It's a mystery. I think people don't know how to act when a baby dies, they understand when an old person dies because they have lived their life. My feeling were hurt because friends and some family just didn't mention it at all and I wanted to talk about it and tell them what he looked like and he was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. After twenty four years he is always on my mind and his birthday and death day are the days that I remind everyone, and I mean everyone that this is the day my baby was born and the next day he died, but he impacted thia world and me and my husband's life forever. He touched the doctors and nurses. We took lots of pictures of him, even after he died and had the tubes removed because we were told that we may not want to look at them now or for awhile, but someday we will be glad we have those pictures to remember, and we are glad we have them. Two years later we adopted a 5 day old baby girl, she had so much hair and big brown eyes, adorable. She is the light of my life. She is now a junior in college studying Social Work, so she can work with adoption. She has always known she was adopted and she is fine with it, we are her parents and she has not mentioned wanting to look for her biological parents. We loved her so much and she knew that. She knows she had a brother named Thomas and what happened to him and when she was little she liked telling her friends that she had a brother, but he died when he was a baby. When Thomas died I thought noiw what do I do? For the last 7 months all I have thought about was my baby and when he died I didn't know where to turn, I went back to college and earned my degree and thought of the future,.such as when will we get our adopted baby, will it be a boy or a girl. Our Social Worker told us to be patient our baby may not have even been conceived yet, but that God had one picked out for us and we will get it when God knows it's right. God is so Good. Thank you for letting me share my amazing story with you and there's a special place for moms in Heaven.
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