Poems & Essays

18 Jan

The Babies You Lose

Babyhood 6 Responses

You try to hold them, not with your hands of course, because though they are part of you, as close to you as anyone has ever been, they might as well be on the moon. You try to hold them with the good food you put in your body, the vitamin you take each morning, the Dr. visits, and the half-hour walks after dinner. You attempt to hold them by imagining them in your future, by inviting them into your dreams, and by sweeping out the dusty spaces in your heart to make room for something new, something so big and yet so tiny you don’t quite know how to prepare.

Despite all of this, sometimes they go. You don’t know why and you don’t know how exactly, but one morning you roll over to discover your breasts are no longer sore. That day your breakfast stays down too easily and there is a slight yet clawing emptiness where just yesterday fullness had been.

And you know. You know because, if only for a short time, you were a mother.

And so you let the dust settle back into those eager places and you draw the shades on the newly opened space in your heart. You stop taking the vitamins. There is no more need to see the doctor.

And you mourn. Of course you mourn. You flood your pillow, drip tears into the soup you are stirring, sit in the middle of the living room floor and weep while the phone rings, cars drive by, and the radio continues to play music. You marvel at the amount of tears your body can offer up. For a while, everything is gray, and the weight on your chest is so much larger than the little body you cry for.

But eventually the trees seem mysteriously greener, the song of the robin on your porch somehow clearer, and the legs beneath you walking feel curiously stronger. And you know that strength doesn’t come from the easy times. And that sometimes the world can be made more beautiful because of the things we held, if only for a moment, and lost.


Stacy Boe Miller is a metal smith, jewelry artist, writer, mother, and wife who lives in Moscow, ID.

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  1. Beth Mills

    January 18, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    I just loved your piece. The tears dropping into the soup, you sitting on the floor, weeping while the phone rings….so vivid. Both my girls went through this recently, and I did too, years ago. You really captured something about the emptiness afterwards, the loss. I am 67 now and that baby I lost, even though it was only at 8 weeks, stil lhas a ghostly presence in my life. She is the Third…even though she isn’t, and I guess she always will be.

  2. Leslie Wibberley

    January 19, 2016 at 1:02 am

    I just finished your essay and I am covered in goose bumps. You have so beautiful and poetically described what every mother who has lost a child goes through. As Beth said, so vivid. I lost my first son 24 years ago and I still feel his presence whenever I look at my two daughters.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Joanne

    January 24, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Delicate imagery. Really touched me. You are right, the pain never lessens, only the distance between then and now does.

  4. Michele

    January 27, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    This is haunting, in the most beautiful kind of way, because I’ve been there. The tears, the emptiness, the gray. Thank you for putting it into words.

  5. Rachel

    January 15, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    Absolutely lovely. Sweeping out the dusty spaces in your heart. Then finding them empty, and, somehow, finding a way to make room for that emptiness.

  6. Darcy Miller

    February 2, 2019 at 5:26 am

    I have never lost a child and yet felt this so acutely having a new baby now. The line – and the weight on your chest is so much larger than the little body you cry for – especially I thought just amazingly powerful and simple at once.


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