On that dreadful Wednesday in November, when we packed for the hospital, we debated taking our camera. Do you take your camera to the hospital knowing your baby has already died? Never contemplated that one before. We grabbed it, figured we'd have it with us just in case.
Of course, I'm glad we did. And we also had Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep take professional photos of Lydie. We have a bunch, though I think we'll always wish we had more. With baby loss, you always wish you had more. More hugs, more kisses, more I love yous, more photos. We'll never have enough.
When we first came home from the hospital with my saggy belly and empty arms, we looked at those photos everyday. Multiple times a day. Stared at them. Memorized them.
And framed them to display all over the house.
Fast-forward three months, and I.cannot.look.at.them.
I noticed this first in my office, where this photo is framed.
It's one of my favorites, because it wasn't posed... just Justin and I each holding Lydie's hand. We couldn't stop crying enough to pose.
The other day, I moved the frame out my direct view.
I noticed that I'm starting to wince when I see these photos. I noticed that I'm avoiding looking at them.
I have been trying to figure out why.
The ones I'm in, my expression is pure agony, pure pain, pure hell. I'm holding my daughter wrapped up in her yellow blanket that I made her. but she's barely visible. Just my pain.
The ones that focus more on Lydie, she looks beat up. She looks dead.
And all the ones of her perfect hands and perfect feet? Those hands and feet are so perfect that they remind me of the senselessness of it all. My perfect, dead baby.
I'm finding that these photos are taking me back to a place that I don't want to be.
I haven't yet moved any of the framed photos, but I'm thinking about it. I'm trying to remind myself that I don't need photos of Lydie around the house to make me think about her. I haven't stopped thinking about her for one minute.
I talked to my my new counselor about this the other day (another
side note: so far, third time seems to be a charm. I'm connecting much
better to this counselor). I told her I struggle with it, because the
pictures are causing me so much pain, but I feel guilt over not looking
at them. Who wouldn't want to look at pictures of her own child?
She asked me, "Does not wanting to look at photos of Lydie mean you love Lydie any less?"
said I'm in survival mode. If looking at photos helps me, then I
should look at photos. If looking at photos brings back
trauma and pain, then it's okay not to look at photos.
The other day, I ordered a print of one of my favorite poems: i carry your heart by e.e. cummings. My best friend Kate read it at Lydie's funeral, and it will always make me think of my daughter. I plan to frame this print. I was thinking about a way to frame a page of the book that we read to Lydie too, Wherever You are, My Love Will Find You. I am trying to convince myself that I can display other things that make me think of Lydie. Photos are not my only option.
(As a side note: I am so not a tattoo person, but I am contemplating getting a tattoo that reads "i carry your heart." On my foot perhaps? I'm so, so, so not a tattoo person. Up until this point, I never understood how you could want a mark on your body for the rest of your life.)
Other BLMs, what about you? Do you like looking at photos of your child or does it just hurt more? Do you have them displayed in your home?