My 35th Birthday

My birthday was last week. I turned 35.

I used to be all about birthdays.  As someone who chose a career that plays such an integral part in birth-days, and who even started a non profit centered around birthday celebrations, I can say I really did find people’s birthdays very meaningful. It was the one day of the year, where we exclusively celebrate someone’s life- we show our delight and appreciation that this person is in our life and has lived another year. Sure, we should be doing this throughout the year (kind of like Valentine’s Day- we should be celebrating our loved ones every day, not just on the commercial day), but there is some fun in make a big hoopla about someone on their birthday.

Last year I celebrated my birthday in the hospital. It was still a joyous time. I still had some hope- the reality of a dead baby hadn’t hit yet. After Mabel died, I pretty much stopped with the birthday hoopla. My birthday non profit went on hiatus (for other reasons as well). I stopped doing call- being such an intimate part of a baby’s birth-day. I stopped posting cute facebook messages on people’s birthdays. In fact, I barely recognized anyone’s birthday. And for those reading, who did not get the usual birthday love from me this year, I am sorry. I thought of you but could not write the words. The celebration has been sucked out of me.

So this year, my first birthday since Mabel died, I wasn’t particularly excited for my birthday. I wasn’t dreading it- it just simply seemed another day. Chris is away on business, which also took the kabash out of it. I filled the day with work and appointments and had a very nice dinner out with friends. But the reality is, my birthday came and went, seemingly uneventfully, and now I am one day closer to my daughter’s birthday (or death day?). Our birthdays being so close feels like my birthday will always be a reminder of what day is to come next. I’m not sure if I’ll ever feel like truly celebrating knowing what happened a little over week after my 34th birthday.

But it’s ok. Because it’s really just another day.

How have your birthdays been since your loss?

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18 thoughts on “My 35th Birthday

  1. I am sorry your birthday is so hard now, but I do have some understanding of your struggle with your birthday. My last 2 birthdays have been marked by losses. I had a D&C a few days before my 30th birthday and we lost our baby 2 days after my 31st birthday. The only good thing about this year is that I know we will not be losing a baby, that must count for something, right?

  2. I barely noticed my last birthday… I remember being sad about my age, because I am still relatively young and yet my sons will never be reach that age. They will never be that old.
    I always love your posts because they’re so thought provoking.

    • thank you. and yes, it’s so hard to think our babies will never grow beyond how we knew them. never be 35 or 26 or any age aside from the age they were. It’s a sad reminder.

  3. Happy 35th birthday, Meghan. I’m so impressed by all that you’ve accomplished during that time – especially being such a caring, attentive and loving mother to Mabel.

  4. Birthdays have been different since B.W. died in 2006. The celebration aspect was replaced initially with numbness and grief, and then, ultimately, with gratitude for a life recreated (as I developed my “new normal”, or whatever people are calling it these days). B.W.’s birthday, my husband’s birthday and my birthday are all 6 days apart. So, there is always this dread of that time of year – our birthdays first, which then lead to the anniversary of his death/birth.

    Since Zachary died, we have had a couple of birthdays… C.T.’s was just 3 days after Z’s funeral. People brought gifts and balloons and I wanted to launch them through the windows of our home, out into the yard. It felt like such an insult for people to pretend that we would feel like celebrating so soon after Zachary died. When my birthday came, 8 months later, I hid. I didn’t want anyone to have an opportunity to tell me “happy birthday”, because it was everything but happy. And, then acknowledging B.W.’s birthday this past year was also so surreal and sickening, because now we have another dead son too…. another birthday to acknowledge instead of celebrate. It felt so wrong, so compoundedly wrong.

    I’m wishing you comfort, a day late, and also leading up to Mabel’s birthday/anniversary.

  5. My birthday was two months after we lost Reece. That weekend, my boyfriend came home after being away for work and told me the grief was too much, he couldn’t continue in our relationship. His teenage son had died in 2011 and then we lost our baby at 22 weeks gestation in April. He ended our relationship and I spent the next month moving out of our beautiful new house. So, yeah, that birthday was a personal low.

    BUT, I also remember looking at him, and though I was ravaged with grief and heartache, I knew, I KNEW, that would never let grief get the best of me the way he had. He had lost hope. And I refuse to do that.

    So it was awful, and life changing at the same time. I sure hope my birthday this June is a little more lowkey!

    Happy Birthday, by the way. 🙂

    • Oh my gosh, Nasrene! Yeah, I’d say that was a tough birthday. Am how you were able to take that healthy, strong view. I know I have several readers here who also lost partners at some point surrounding their loss. A double blow.

  6. Happy Birthday Meghan. I know its not like how you would have wanted it, but you are still here being such a wonderful blessing to others, and for that, we are happy.
    We I hit 30, i had a fear of reaching 35 before having a baby. I was told that’s the cut off age over which pregnancy is considered high risk due to advanced age. I was really chaffed to know I was having Sinza at 33! I hid for my 34th birthday, same reason as Gretchen, couldn’t stand anyone wishing me a happy birthday 4 months after my daughter died. I will be 35 in May. I aint looking forward to it.
    P.S. I googled pregnancy after 35 and found many women who go on to have healthy babies after 35.

    • Such a good point you bring up- one I wish I could shout from the rooftops- what being 35 actually means. Google is totally right in this case. 35 doesnt mean anything particular to your health- nothing magic happens when we hit 35. it’s the age that was determined long ago that the risk of amnio outweighed the risk of miscarriage from amnio- it’s a mathematical age at best. means insurance will usually pay for invasive testing if you want. The risk of chromosomal abnormalities gets larger with age, but it doesnt skyrocket at 35- the community had to pick a number and that was it. I dont care for my patients any differently when they are 25 or 35 aside from offering more options for genetic testing. (and I can be the spokesperson, young age doesnt mean risk free for chromosome abnormalities. I was medically “young” and had a baby with Down Syndrome). There are some increased risks after age 40- but again the risks in general increase with age, and we have to pick a cut off to do extra testing.

  7. Happy belated birthday Meghan. I’m so sorry that it has passed under these circumstances. Thank you for being so open with us as always – I always, always learn something from your posts. You and Mabel are making a difference.

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