Replacing Emily

Can a Birthmother Ever Forget a Missing Child?

Sonia Billadeau January 15, 2014
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I sit alone in my bed thinking about the events of the day. Thinking about the events of the past two years. Today we celebrated her second birthday.

Can you ever replace a child with another?

I think of my friend who miscarried and her hatred of the comment, “Oh, you can just try again.” Try for what? To replace a lost soul?

My friend and birthmothers share these two things: First, people will not allow us to grieve and second, people will not allow us to save a place in our hearts for a missing child.

Whether here on earth or on the other side of Heaven, will we find our hearts, our children?

I roll over in bed and look at the bassinet next to my bed. My sleeping son occupies it. I can hear his soft breathing quicken as he stirs.

Emily was so full of life today. Just like a two-year-old should be. The light of the party. The light of my life, but she does not know this.

She is held as a treasure from God by her family. I see the love for her in their eyes, in their smile. Every good thing in their lives has Emily’s name etched upon it. She is the author to their happiness. Emily is where she is supposed to be.

I was afraid when I had my new son that I wouldn’t bond with him. I was afraid I had broken that part of myself, that part of my mothering heart.

People told me he was a replacement child. Replacing what? My first-born daughter? Do you think because she is not here in my arms, but in the arms of another, she needs replacing?

These thoughts run through my head. I am relieved by my tears, for they are a sign I am being emotionally resurrected. One tear at a time.

All at once, it comes back to me. God, it all comes back to me. Those last moments with my daughter in the hospital room.

Why do my arms ache? I hold them across my chest trying to stifle my tears. I just need to hold her, my baby, please God, I need to hold her.

Just then I remember my son sleeping next to me. The thought comes to pick him up and hold him so my arms will feel content. To put him in her place, just for the moment.

No, I will not. She cannot be replaced by him. I will not dishonor my daughter nor my son with the idea that one can take the place of the other.

So I lay alone, in my mourning, in remembrance of my daughter, my Emily.

Emily, no one can replace you. I have come to this conclusion…

No matter how many babies you carry out of the hospital with, you never forget the one that you carried out, not in your arms, but in your heart.

Irreplaceable Emily.

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Sonia Billadeau


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