About

This is a space for sharing stories.
For sharing joy and gratitude.
And for sharing pain and grief.

This is a place to share my experience conceiving (in cahoots with my beloved husband, Yeyo), gestating and preparing to give birth to our son, Rafael. And the story of learning that Rafa died in utero some days after he was due. And the stories of what happened before and after all of this. This is also not at all about me. This is a virtual sanctuary for sharing our many griefs and connecting in the universal messiness of it all. For finding ways to honor our emotions, our souls, our experiences, our thoughts (even the crazy ones – or maybe, especially the crazy ones). To honor it al –, in communion with humility – together. Ceremony, ritual, tradition, practice: these all are strands in the plaits of this work to grieve and ache and feel and bow our heads before the mystery of life and death, truly in awe of what we won’t ever understand but are still fully part of.

It’s been three years now since Rafael’s death and birth. Feels like a moment to update this intro since so much has happened in that time. I am now a 47-year old United Statsian, white, female-bodied person. I have been living in Oaxaca, México for nearly 13 years now. My partner, Yeyo, is originally from Mexico City (chilango de nacimiento, oaxaqueño por convicción). He has a 20-year old son, Rodrigo. Yeyo and I have been in this incredibly complex, fulfilling and (at times) challenging relationship for 14 years. We got married in 2015. The first two years of marriage were full of challenges and growth – sometimes deeply painful growth.

Rafa’s conception was a miracle. In 2016 I was told I would never be able to have a child (biologically speaking) because both of my fallopian tubes were totally blocked. One year later, Rafael miraculously came into this world: the dark aquatic womb world within this brighter, louder outer world. We lived as one for nine beautiful (and sometimes not-so-beautiful) months. He was to be born in July 2018. However Rafa died in utero, a healthy, full-term baby. We discovered that he had no heartbeat on July 30st when I went to see my midwife after a nerve-wracking weekend of sensing that something was not right. I gave birth to his beautiful, lifeless body before sunrise on July 31st 2018. It was my husband’s 49th birthday.

Since then, I have been pregnant three more times… and three times I have miscarried in the first trimester. So much for blocked fallopian tubes! While I am acutely aware of the risks associated with pregnancy at my age… and while the doctors insist that my medical history (aka. the previous losses) exponentially increase the risk with each successive miscarriage, a powerful maternal longing resides within me. I want to be a mother to a living child. Perhaps this seems a stubborn and obstinate desire after so much loss. Perhaps a more sensible person might just let it go. But I know that the possibilities are many – I still believe in magic and the multiverse of paths forking out ahead of me.

I am in a deep inquiry about the source of this longing. Does it come from a compulsion to “fill” a gaping hole in my heart? Or from an impulse for “redemption”? Is it selfish? Or… maybe… just maybe this longing is born out of love. Nothing more and nothing less. I know I am not entiled to anything in this life and I do not know what will unfold. It has been such a wild three years.

In awe of death and life,
Aerin

Rafa_About

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Photos by Maria M. Caire and Úrsula Hierro, respectively.