I never knew what the word empty meant until thirteen months ago when I walked to the shower after giving birth. I felt nothing but the emptiness in me. The space Jensen occupied for thirty-eight weeks and two days, was eerily droopy and not right. My belly was this big, visual reminder that my baby had died. That the only, sacred place I held him was now this dreadful pit of despair.
The following weeks, I caught myself staring at the empty hole my body had every time I went by a mirror. Not only did I physically feel emptiness, my feelings began to feel the same. All the pain I felt was numbed by my brain. I didn’t allow myself to feel, so it was always just blank, but gosh did those tears fall.
On Jensen’s very first monthday, I promised myself (and him), that I would choose love. That’s how I’ve been able to get through each day, feeling that sweet love and wanting to do my best. When I wrote about him and how I was feeling with my still motherhood, I wanted to be brave. I projected that. But, I felt the emptiness. It was always there and it’ll always be here. Even with a whole year of grieving and healing behind me, emptiness.
When I wake up every morning, I don’t choose to be sad or let grief overwhelm me. I try to wake up and smile as I say ‘good morning, Jensen,’ as I give his bear a hug. Maybe sometimes I have to smile through the tears from waking up from a nightmare, but I try. I try my best. Yet, as the day goes on his absence is so present, the emptiness grows. My house is empty. My womb is empty. My heart even feels empty sometimes. I don’t choose this at all. I’ll always pick love instead of pain, but I can’t stop this feeling.
Feeling empty draws you in. A person can even get lost in feeling that way.
Today I felt empty. Maybe because I was thinking about this prompt all day or that it’s the fifth of May. I questioned myself if I always feel this way, but it’s more noticeable since I’m focusing on it.
I reminded myself that whatever I feel is okay. A person cannot make themself feel a certain way. You have to let whatever comes to you pass through and not suppress it. Being sad doesn’t make me a horrible person. Feeling empty doesn’t mean I have to fill it with something else. This grief journey is a huge learning process of knowing my ‘new normal.’ That comes with positive and negative thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
What I want to leave you all with is feeling empty after loss is normal. Your baby’s physical body is gone. There’s no weight there anymore, but there’s something that remains. Even when it feels like storm clouds are happening on the outside and nothing is on the inside, I promise you this one thing stays.
I know there will always be a missing part of your heart and an empty feeling in your belly from where your child left, but what remains in the emptiness is love.