Mom to Zia

July 16, 2013

On 19 August, my daughter would have been two years old, but instead of planning a princess themed party and getting frustrated over the terrible two’s, I sit here writing about a baby who now lives only in my heart. Her name is Zia, she is our second child and only daughter. She was stillborn about 4 weeks before her due date making July 16, 2013, her still birthday. She lived for eight months within me; I carried her with immense pride and will always love her dearly.

When I learned I was pregnant for the second time, I was thrilled. My son, then almost 4, would have a sibling. Our little family of 3 would now be 4 and there was no doubt in my mind that this baby was meant to be. It was an easy pregnancy, no complications, just the occasional flu, headaches, backaches and such. My boys naturally wanted another boy, I wasn’t sure what I wanted, sometimes I would dream about having another boy, other times I wanted a girl. I would name her Zia and she would be loved in a way I never truly felt growing up. My dreams for her began long before she arrived and after it was confirmed that we were having a girl, sometime in June, I was ecstatic. My son, Brady, cried right there in the doctors room while my husband comforted him. My doctor and I laughed at their display of uncensored male behavior. It was a good day. But they grew to love the idea of a girl, our small baby, they loved seeing her on the scans and we couldn’t wait to finally see her.

Two weeks before the day I went in to hear those heart wrenching words ‘there is no heartbeat’ I started feeling uneasy emotionally. I was hearing too many stories of baby loss or potential losses. I became fearful, visiting the maternity ward twice in those weeks because of reduced movement. Both times I left appeased. On that fateful day, my third visit to the hospital, I wasn’t that lucky. The cord was wrapped around her neck a few times and she was gone, just like that.

The last two years have not always been easy, there are some days when I still want to find a nice dark corner to hide from the world, but some days I can smile, laugh, continue with what I must do. I have found solace in writing and sharing my story. That has been my saving grace. There is still so much I want to do in this community to break the silence that surrounds stillbirths, miscarriages and losses of all proportions but it’s a long road. There is still so much education on this required. Too many lives forgotten or disregarded by society. Support in Jhb, SA is minimal and I found the most support online during my darkest hours.

I sadly also suffered a miscarriage in September 2014, it was such a brief pregnancy, under 4 weeks, which I was unaware of, and it was still an awful experience, losing our baby Breeze and the possibility of him or her.

My daughter is remembered in so many ways although it will never truly be enough for me. We talk about her often as a family, her place always recognized and acknowledged. She is unseen but loved dearly. Her brief time with us will be cherished; it was all we got, those few hours of holding her and kissing her little face. My little one of light…how I miss you. I miss the many things we should be doing together right now, every milestone and memory we were to create together. Losing a baby is losing a part of the future. There will always be someone missing in my home. There will always be something I would want to do with her. I have learned to accept her absence, but as long as there is love, our loved ones never truly leave us, they exist in all things beautiful. They exist each time we reach out to hold another bereaved parent’s hand through this insurmountable loss.


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  1. Dominique says:

    I am so sorry for your losses. Thank you for sharing you story with us. This website truly helps you heal through sharing.

  2. Hugs! So sorry about your loss. Thxs for being strong eniugh to shsre your story. It helps me not feel so alone

  3. Beautifully expressed. I feel the same way about my daughter Abigail Grace. Never forgotten. Thank you for sharing

  4. Jo-Anne, I heard myself in so much of your writing….thank you for helping me find the words.

    Much love to Zia.

  5. Your story hits extremely close to home. Although the genders were flipped we lost our baby boy Zane just a few weeks ago on August 22. He was also stillborn just 4 weeks before his due date. And like your boy, our 3 year-old daughter was bummed she wasn’t having a sibling of the same gender. It took us months to get her to say that she was going to have a baby brother and not a baby sister like she wanted. Beatifically written, thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Bridget, it’s not easy on the little ones. My son is now seven and he still struggles with not having a sibling. On his 7th birthday in August, he sent up helium balloons to his grandparents, sister and cousin who have passed on. It never leaves them and it helps to integrate those who aren’t with us into their lives. I am sorry for your loss as well, of Zane, what a lovely name.

  6. I recently loss my son Iann from placental infection. He was born still on your daughter’s birthday this year July 16, 2015. May the play and celebrate their birthday’s together!

  7. Your story is hits home, although I was only five months pregnant but the connection I had with my baby boy was real. The plans, the excitement and the fear made the process interesting. I’m also from JHB in SA and it’s only been four months of losing my baby and I think I’m going to lose my mind. I was meant to be due on the 23rd of October and this month is really hard on me. Like you I just want to find a dark corner and hide there forever.

    • Hi Refilwe, I am deeply sorry for your loss. In our community it is important to know that it doesn’t matter how long you held them, just that you did, and it hurts not to have them with us. Thinking of you and your little one.

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