“There is no footprint so small that it does not leave an imprint on the world.”
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the death-birth of my third baby, the tiny four-inch boy we named Noah. I will never forget touching his face and seeing his mouth drop open and looking at the translucent skin of his chest and seeing the small organs beneath, marveling at the complexity and intricacy of development that had taken place. I don’t post today because I need condolences or sympathy, this loss is not raw for me, but is instead finely woven into the fabric of my life. I post today simply in acknowledgement and memory. I also post in gratitude because as I look at the long, curly hair and bright blue eyes of Alaina and I snuggle the sweet, warm, perfection of newborn Tanner, I feel like it was Noah who brought them both to me, who opened our family up to welcome them, as well as who cracked me open to understandings, experiences, purposes, and paths I wouldn’t have had without birthing him. I also feel acutely aware that not all women have the “happy ending” to their pregnancy loss journeys that I’ve been lucky enough to have and I post too in awareness, honor, and respect for them.
On the morning of November 5th this year, I woke up early and as I laid there nursing Tanner, I kept thinking of the miscarriage drawing I did following my second miscarriage (February of 2010). I thought about the friends I have whose losses are still raw and agonizing as well as the women I know who are longing to conceive. I thought about my image of the bridge and how we have to cross it alone, but that there are sisters waiting on the other side and sometimes new babies too. I also thought about how I felt so separated from other pregnant women and how very difficult that was for me. Here is the drawing, with my original explanation copied from my miscarriage blog:
[I was taking the Birth Art class at the same time as my second miscarriage]…I felt immediately drawn to creating art about the m/c experience. Birth Art is about “process,” not product, so it is not supposed to be beautiful or even interpretable. The above is what I drew. The dice refer to our feeling of “tossing the dice” one more time—the numbers 3 and 4 show on the dice—and having those tosses end in blood. The question mark is self-explanatory with the squiggles representing all my reading and efforts to understand. The night I realized that I definitely going to have another m/c, I lay in bed and kept picturing a bridge that I was going to have to cross alone—-leaving behind the safe and familiar. A song kept running through my head, “keep walking in the light….keep following the path…” So, the little figure walking across the bridge is that. Tears are running down below her. The little bubble with other stick figures in it is the women who have gone before me—who are close, but I still have to cross alone. The happy pregnant woman behind me represents the “other side”—the one I can’t go back to. The naivety. The certainty that a positive pregnancy test will result in a baby nine months later. She is all the other women who haven’t “been there” and I am forever separated from her by a wall the thick line above her head. Or, she is the former me—falling down, down, down and away. The the right is my uterus, weeping both tears and blood. The ovaries and inside the uterus glow with energy. There are some purple dots inside to represent each of my babies—the largest one is actually a little “baby in my heart” image, like my pendant…
I actually wrote this current post with one finger on my ipad on Nov. 5th and scheduled it for today, but then this morning I woke up and saw an image on Facebook from the new book The Heart of the Labyrinth. It spoke to me of my miscarriage journeys as well as subsequent pregnancy and life-path journeys.
The image also caught my eye because I was honored to write an endorsement for the book itself, which is a lovely, lyrical story about a woman’s spiritual journey (plus, it is a call to action for us all). I read it on our trip to Chicago in September and today is its official launch at a conference in Dubai. (Nice work, Womancraft Publishing!)
After I shared the image on my Facebook page, I saw my doula shared a link on my wall. I went to look at it and…same image! I have actually received postpartum care from Summer after three births–Noah’s was the first, then Alaina, and now Tanner too. Anyway, she wrote this:
Molly, I woke up thinking of you and Noah this morning. When I saw Lucy’s post, I wanted to make sure you saw because it eloquently conveys some of my thoughts. I feel so very humbled and privileged to have seen some of your warrior moments….the triumphant, joyful warrior and the heartbroken but surviving warrior. Always, I hope you are able to remember that the strength is in ALL those moments, often when you feel the weakest.
Sweet Noah will always be remembered. For a tiny person who lived a too-brief life, he had (and continues to have) such a huge impact on so many lives. He lives on in the legacy of love, truth, sharing, and vulnerability that you built after his birth/death…
As is my tradition on my kids’ birthdays, here is the link to Noah’s birth story: Noah’s Birth Story Warning: Miscarriage/Baby Loss | Talk Birth. A couple of years ago, I converted my miscarriage blog into a book, which is available on Kindle here: Footprints on My Heart: A Memoir of Miscarriage & Pregnancy After Loss eBook.