Begin Speech: Like everyone here, there have been numerous experiences that have made me who I am today. One experience has particularly shaped me as a person. Most of us are relatively young and have not had the chance to start a family of our own yet. I have always dreamed of having children and last year, my dream should have came true. Unfortunately, my hopes for a family came crashing to a halt on a late night in February. I was 21 years old when I gave birth to a beautiful stillborn baby girl.
The death of my daughter made me realize many things about life. It had never before occurred to me that a baby wouldn’t make it, much less nearly kill me in the process. After a 12 hour delivery I heard the words no parent ever wants to hear, “your baby is gone.” After her death, I doubted it would be possible to ever be happy again. According to the National Association of Social Workers, the mother of a stillborn will usually have a long grieving process that many people aren’t able to understand, I know this was the case in my life.
I spent a lot of time grieving my loss, a loss so many people in my life did not understand. Over the next months, my social worker and doctors worked with my husband to understand what had happened, the grieving process, and what to expect next. I did research on stillbirth and eventually began to stop blaming myself as I had been. I believe that Samantha’s death and my healing process are what made me who I am today.
Losing my daughter so suddenly taught me many things; she helped me to realize that life is short, not to take things for granted and to appreciate my family with all that I have. Samantha taught me that good health cannot be taken for granted. I almost physically died after having her, spent two months in and out of the ICU, spent another year physically healing and then still worked to heal emotionally. Being so close to death has given me a deeper meaning to life, I find that I care more for people in general.
My next children will be special to me, of course, but I will never have another biological child. My future children will not replace her memory, but we will honor the memory of Samantha Grace. My husband and I have somehow found the strength to carry on with our lives and have a new hope for a family in our future. While my “first” family will always be special, I have and will continue to grow from everything that has occurred and feel that I am, in the end, a better person, because of my daughter.
Just the other day I was unpacking my office, we’ve been remodeling, unpacking and moving things for such a very long time now, it seems like forever! I picked up a box labeled “office” and immediately knew that this box would be a tough one to unpack, yet it had to be done, I couldn’t simply leave her things packed away.
Just a girl, a wife, angel mother and friend... An infant loss parent, post menopausal 20 something year old and brain surgery survivor...I've been through alot and have a lot to share!
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