I don’t have any happy, joyful, beautiful newborn pictures with Callie.
I don’t have any pictures of her nestled up on my chest after giving birth.
I don’t have any pictures of her with James after he cut the cord.
I don’t have any heart warming pictures of her in the hospital with a custom made sign announcing her name and arrival in the world to all of our friends and family.
I don’t have any pictures of James looking down at his two girls on the happiest day of our lives.
If I’m being perfectly honest, the happiest day of our lives…..was also the hardest.
I don’t have a gorgeous birth announcement we sent out–joyfully introducing her to the world.
All I have are pictures of Callie connected to life saving medical equipment in the NICU.
All I have are pictures of me and James were we look shell shocked and stunned.
Pictures where I’m delicately holding her because one wrong move could split her ribs after her heart surgery.
Pictures where the grief and mourning are etched into my my husband’s face.
Pictures where a zipper scar splits her in half and you can’t see most of her because she’s covered in bandages and wires.
And as the mama to a medically complex little girl who didn’t get the chance to have a “normal” birth experience, it’s ok to talk about that grief. It’s ok to talk about how I wish I could have had those things and how our experience was markedly different than others. It’s ok for me to admit I had PTSD after her birth where the sounds and smells of hospitals were extremely triggering.
It’s ok to admit to the feelings I get when I do see those absolutely beautiful pictures from other families–the mixture of longing, joy, jealousy, hurt, disappointment, happiness, and sadness.
Homesick for a place I’ve never been.