In my experience, stillbirth takes its toll on relationships. It can be especially difficult on the intimate partnership or marriage of the bereaved parents. For me, in the immediate wake of Rafael’s death and birth, there was so much happening on the emotional level for everyone around us. Each person was processing shock and grief and solidarity in their own way, at their own rhythm. And our processes had intimate encounters, intertwined and sometimes clashed with one another… to the point that sometimes it was even difficult to know which feelings belonged to whom. Through it all, there was a feeling and a field that deepened and widened between Yeyo and I: LOVE.
In those precious moments alone that Yeyo and I had after we came home from the doctor’s office that day, July 30th 2018, I remember lying side by side on our bed, little dead Rafa, inside me still, between us. My husband looked into my eyes and said, “No matter what, we still have each other. And I love you more than ever.” I’m not sure I would have made it through this last eight and a half months without that constant stream of love and support from my beloved.
I suffered from insomnia for several nights following Rafa’s birth. I would sleep for a few hours and then wake up and be unable to turn off my brain. I felt anguished. Tormented. One of these nights, as I headed back to my bed in the dark hours of the early morning, I passed by Rafa’s altar where we had placed this photo of him:
Through the delirium and nocturnal distress, came a very clear thought: “Our love created him. Created this… this perfection. What a gift we have been graced with.” It is a thought that has revisited me from time to time these past months. It continues to awe and astound me… that the miracle of conception is even possible.
Yeyo and I are blessed. Our love grew and it helped us through this time. I know of many couples whose relationships did not survive stillbirth. It is very difficult and not surprising that relationships do not withstand the grieving process. Luckily, for Yeyo and I, our love continues to deepen and grow. As soon as the procedure of the D&C was finished last month, I turned to Yeyo and said: “Well, we still have each other.”
I am graced by the new motto of our relationship: “Loving each other more and more each day.” Things are by no means perfect; we’ve been through very tough moments this past year. And we went through an even more trouble in the year prior to Rafa’s conception, gestation, death and birth. I trust this love. I know it can sustain me… sustain us and those closest to us. And I know it can and will create more life, in many, many forms.