As a midwife, my colleagues and I usually meet once a month to discuss protocols, clinical issues and patient care. I enjoy these meetings because it’s rare that we actually see each other in person. I’m in an office with maybe one or two other midwives or docs on any given day, but even then we are all busy seeing patients, often working through our lunch hour. It’s a pleasure to spend some time face to face with my coworkers- even if it’s entirely work focused.
Recently our monthly meeting has been cancelled or rescheduled for all sorts of logistical reasons, so when we had our first one in several months earlier this week, I was looking forward to it…even though it’s at 7am. The hour long meeting flew by and I was leaving the hospital, where our meeting is held, in a good mood.
Until I walked out the main entrance.
Sitting there as I was leaving was a woman with a newborn carrier waiting for her ride home. My heart clenched and I was thrown backward in time. Here I was, leaving the hospital, empty handed once again.
So much has happened since that first time I left the hospital without my baby. I returned many times- for meetings, to visit staff and friends. I even finally had the chance to leave the hospital with an actual living breathing newborn. But it had been a while since I’d been back at the hospital and it’s amazing how even though it’s been two and a half years since I said goodbye to my Mabel, like a rogue wave in a quiet sea, the grief can still hit hard out of nowhere.
I don’t spend much time actively grieving these days. I often feel that my other job- working for Hope After Loss, the non profit that supports the pregnancy and infant loss community, is my way of grieving. I get to speak of my daughter often and empathize deeply when I’m speaking new a new loss mom or dad. What I realized earlier this week at the hospital is that though I may be honoring Mabel in my role at Hope, I still compartmentalize my feelings. It’s protective. Grief is hard work.
Seeing this mom and her newborn, I was reminded I still have work to do.
I miss her, my baby Mabel.