Imagine a mother who sees for the first time not one, but two, pink lines on her pregnancy test.  She is full of joy and nervous anticipation.  Ready and willing to bring life into this world.

Imagine a mother whose body swells with anticipation as life courses through her veins and love encompasses her heart.  Her belly growing bigger with each passing day waiting to meet her unborn child.

Imagine a mother full of beauty and hope for the child she tenderly cares for in her womb, as she caresses her enlarged tummy and embraces her pregnant body.  Gently whispering her hopes and dreams for her child to her womb as her husband sleeps peacefully next to them both at night.

Imagine a mother being held by the father of their unborn child as they look in to their newly prepared nursery, the nest they have created together, for their future family member. Their shared true love. Their child.

Imagine a mother praying to God, the Universe, the air, to whoever will listen. Asking for safety and guidance as she prepares for her little one’s impending entrance into this world.

Imagine a mother who hopefully arrives at the hospital in labor, holding her breath, while eagerly waiting to hear her child’s strong heartbeat as she holds her husband’s hand. The nurse searching with the doppler for the baby’s pounding heart.

Imagine a mother as she hears for the first time, not her child’s heartbeat, but the doctor’s words, “I’m sorry, she’s gone.”

Imagine a mother whose heart dies with her child’s, as she knows the doctor’s words are true by the look on her husband’s face as his eyes swell with tears, defeat and disbelief.

Imagine a mother who labored for twelve hours fearfully anticipating her dead child’s arrival.  Wishing she could close her eyes and wake up from the nightmare she now lives. Birthing her still child into this world with no sound.  No movement. No life.

Imagine a mother who is inducted to motherhood as she proudly and lovingly holds her lifeless daughter for the only, first and last time.

Imagine a mother whose first job as a parent is to plan her child’s funeral and say goodbye before she even said hello.

Imagine a mother with empty arms that forever ache with the weight of knowing they will never be filled by her baby, gone to soon, with hello and goodbye being the same moment.

Now, imagine yourself as that mother.

I bet it’s hard to do.

But for me…

I’m not imagining.

I am that mother.

Lindsey M. Henke, MSW, LICSW                           Lindsey is a baby loss mom, writer, and clinical social worker.  She writes about her journey through grief after child loss using her professional knowledge to heal her personal pain on her blog Stillborn and Still Breathing. She is also the founder of White Signs of Grief, a blog where mourning family members of children can share their message about grief after child loss.  Lindsey is also a monthly contributor to Still Standing Magazine, an online resource for bereaved families. There you can find more of Lindsey’s “Imagine a Mother” series.