My sister in motherhood.

Mere minutes after my pregnancy test turned positive, I called my best friend to give her the news. We cried, we laughed, we celebrated.

About two months later, she texted me with the same news. We cried, we laughed, we celebrated.

We walked through our pregnancies practically hand in hand, despite living hundreds of miles apart. Not a day went by that we didn’t ask each other “Is this normal?” We constantly sent updates saying things like, “She’s doing backflips today!” or “I think he has the hiccups!” We were so in tune with each other’s pregnancies that at times it even felt like her baby was mine, and my baby was hers. We were sisters in motherhood. It was one of the most exciting and beautiful bonds I have ever shared with another person.

And when my sweet baby passed away shortly after birth, I was very apprehensive to give her the news. It took days before I had the strength to type it into a text message. I knew it would break her heart.

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to our friendship after that. But she stood beside me, and never pushed me to do more than I was ready to take on.

When people ask, “How do I support my friend who just lost her baby?” I say, “Just show up.” And then I tell them this story:

About two weeks following Aria’s passing, my best friend arrived home from vacation and sent me a text. She said, “I made some chocolate chip banana bread and I have to bring you some. So I’m coming by, but you don’t have to come to the door. I’ll just leave it on the porch.”

It was one of the greatest gestures I received in those first few months. It made me feel loved but also took all the pressure off of me. I didn’t have to conjure up a response to the overwhelming offer of “let me know if you need anything” And I didn’t have to worry about being social.

And as the condolences started to end, and the cards/flowers stopped arriving, I wondered if this was the part where she would continue on her journey with motherhood, while I stood still in a wasteland of grief.

I greatly underestimated her.

She refused to let me go, even though I tried many times to force her to leave our friendship behind. I felt like such a dark cloud over her, and I didn’t want to ruin her happiness. Each time she firmly denied my requests, and refused to let me think I was a burden on her. Even though I know I had to be one of the hardest people to stay friends with.

It takes a lot of bravery to spend the entire second half of your pregnancy walking alongside a woman grieving the loss of her newborn. She could have easily walked away, and I wouldn’t have blamed her for it.

But she reminded me, “Aria is my baby, just like M is your baby.” We were still journeying through motherhood together.

On the second day of every month, I awoke to a text wishing Aria a happy __ month birthday, and she would always ask how we planned to celebrate this month. She listened to me as I vented all my pain, anger and frustrations. She visited Aria’s grave whenever she could and always sent me pictures. Once her baby boy was born, she even brought him along so he could visit his best friend. With her as a friend, I could never say I didn’t feel supported. Not for one second.

It’s been such a hard fought journey for both of us. We have weathered more storms than I have the energy to write about. We could fill rivers with our collective tears. And we have survived. Even more than that, we have thrived.

Thank you so much, sweet friend. For everything.

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