My Oldest Became My Only

My two miscarriages occurred after the birth of my daughter, Emily. As much as we wanted another child to raise along with her, it wasn’t part of God’s plan. I have three siblings, so I planned for Emily to be my “oldest,” not my “only” child to raise. Raising an only child was a foreign concept for me. After 11 years, it still is. There are advantages to having my losses after having Emily. First, I never had to face the question, “When do we tell her about CJ and Marina?” She was there. She lived it. She knows. Furthermore, I never had the anxiety of a subsequent pregnancy (yes, technically Marina was a subsequent pregnancy, but in my mind, I had my one statistical miscarriage and was not expecting to lose another). There may be other advantages, but I haven’t recognized them yet. Maybe in time. In my experience there are some special challenges to having my losses last. I have always hated the subsequent birth section of the newsletters. In fact, I never read them until I became a Chapter Director, when it became one of my responsibilities in proofreading the newsletter.

For years after my losses, I wasn’t happy for those who were expecting. Jealousy was a temptation I fought often. To this day, the phrase, “You can always have another one,” hurts and angers me more than anything. I also remember the feeling of hope dying each month when the pregnancy test was negative. Once we finally made the decision to accept things as they were and close the door to having more children, the loss and grief was as great as my actual miscarriages. Emily asked for a sister daily for months and on occasion for a couple of years. Watching Emily with the understanding as a 2- and then 3-year-old grieve the loss of her brother and sister, along with not having a chance for more siblings, was most difficult. When she hurt, I also hurt for her, along with the pain I already carried. The anniversaries of my two babies just recently passed. It’s been eight years since my last loss, and I still wish they were here. I still wish I didn’t have the challenge of raising a strong-willed only child, although I am now at a point in my grief journey where I can recognize some of the advantages of our situation. Even though there are some special experiences for having your loss last, I do believe I have something in common with those who had their losses before or in between their living children. I am thankful for who CJ and Marina have helped me become. I am grateful for the opportunity to use my experiences to help others on their grief journeys. I am honored to further the cause of M.E.N.D. and educate the community of infant loss. I’m guessing you can relate to some degree. I thank you for reading this and educating yourself to the uniqueness of “when your loss is your last.” I’ve discovered over the last eight years being a part of the M.E.N.D., each of us have our own individual story, but we are all in this grief journey together.

♥ Kathryn Gold, Mommy to CJ and Marina M.E.N.D.—SW Missouri Chapter Director