My Soren: Three Years Ago

This past weekend was a tricky one for me. Saturday was October sixth. And October sixth, three years ago was when my son Soren died. I was six months pregnant with him when I was told that he had a problem with his kidneys, the words “incompatible with life” were uttered, and after countless blurry consultations with doctors who couldn’t give me any good news, Anson and I realized we truly had no choice but to end the pregnancy. It was a choice, but not one that we saw coming. It was our choice, but not one that we chose. We had to make the choice, but we would have given anything to not have had to choose it.

Still, sometimes I wonder how I could possibly have chosen to end the pregnancy.

It’s not a fair line of thought and I recognize that. I’m not a monstrous person, waiting to make really awful situations worse by doing the wrong thing. I would never enter a conversation with someone who would make me defend my decision, because it would just end with me either punching them in the eye or collapsing in tears. But I can defend it and have had to about one zillion times, to myself. Truthfully I haven’t stopped accusing myself of wrongdoing yet. I don’t think I ever will. As a mother, I constantly think I haven’t done exactly my best by any of my children. Should I have let Soren’s story play out differently? Would it have been a better and happier ending? It’s just impossible to know. All the medical evidence told me that no, it would not have been happy for anyone. Least of all him. But there are stories of remarkable things happening, and who knows. It’s a twisty treacherous road to go down when I wonder these things.

I believe with all my heart I did the right thing, yet I still feel responsible for the outcome. I didn’t roll the dice with my son’s life. I couldn’t bear to watch suffering like that. I just couldn’t bear the thought of Soren suffering. Or of Roan suffering the loss that would have likely happened shortly after his brother’s birth. The odds weren’t good. They were terrible. I just couldn’t. So I didn’t.

I debate about writing these feelings down, and publishing them. It’s a chance for someone to hit me hard in a place where I am not protected at all. But that has not happened, at least not in a way that has hurt. And in fact, I have had the opportunity to lend support to women who have been handed similar awful situations, and been able to stand next to them as they walk through it. It helps me to know that I can be a voice of calm and camaraderie during a time of inconceivable sadness. So I offer my story up again, as a reminder that these things happened. Soren existed for a short time, and I will never be done with the sadness of missing him. But three years later, life has moved forward and is so beautiful. Three years and two babies later, Soren still has a place carved out in my heart that belongs to only him. But that place is surrounded by love for my three other sons and my husband.

In whole, it is a happy heart. Not entirely peaceful, but happy, and that is enough.

18 thoughts on “My Soren: Three Years Ago

  1. Thank you love, for being vulnerable and reminding us of this event in your life. It touches my heart and reminds me of my own bittersweet love/loss. I feel connected to you at my core when you invite us to witness the workings of your heart. <3

  2. Oh, Jodi,

    You amaze me with your strength and your beauty. I fell in love with your writing when you first went through this terrible experience and always admired your ability to express your sadness and gratitude simultaneously. You are, and will always be, my bloggy hero and Mother of the Year, year after year.



  3. This was a beautiful, difficult post to read. If anyone comes here with anything but love and empathy, they deserve far more than a punch in the eye. What a tragic and impossible decision to have had to made, and I admire you for going the empathetic and merciful road. Sending you so much love.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss, and for the position you feel it’s put you in. All I offer is to say that before someone dare to judge you, they walk in your shoes.

    I lost a baby boy nearly 9 years ago now, and I feel his loss every day. The choice was not left to me (if so, things would be different, or so I think). I don’t know what I would have done if I were given the choice.

    I wish you peace. You faced something that most people don’t even consider facing. And you did the right thing for your family. Isn’t that part of the idea of choice?

  5. Thank you for writing this. I think it’s extremely brave. I have also had to make this choice and have often longed for the ability to write about it. There doesn’t seem to be a proper forum for it, but there needs to be. If we keep these feelings inside, it just perpetuates the feelings of shame, guilt, blame and unworthiness. Your piece really touched me. Thank you, again.

  6. Jodi, I needed this post today. Even though our experiences are vastly different, we still loved the one we lost so deeply. You’ve given me a lot of hope for what year three will look like for me. I often wonder how I can find that special place to keep Mikey in my heart as I try to make room for someone else.

    Again, it’s a different kind of love, but love nonetheless and I think it’s really the best medicine to heal a broken heart.

    Love you lady.

  7. Oh honey!
    What a terrible experience. Only a terrible person would try to hurt you with any sort of rebuttal to your choice. You did your very best with a terrible circumstance, and I hope that you are able to forgive yourself the experience.
    You were and are brave, and bravery is itself a value to cherish. My heart goes out to you.

  8. I believe that, as parents, our first priority is to our very best to keep our children from suffering. For that matter, as people, we should try not to contribute to the suffering of others. Life can present us with some truly horrible choices, and yours had to be one of the worst. But, fwiw, I think you did the right thing…for everyone involved.

  9. I can remember three years ago when you shared that your pregnancy would end in a way as tragic as your announcement was happy. I felt for you then, I feel for you now, knowing that your loss must be accompanied at times by guilt and self-doubt. Had you made the other choice and witnessed suffering, you would have felt the same guilt, the same doubt. I think the answer to this conundrum is that there was no answer that satisfies a rational mind, so you made an impossible choice borne of a parental heart filled to the brim with love and sorrow. I’ve heard it said that when a woman knows that her unborn child will not survive outside the womb, her only option is to parent that child in utero with all of the love she would give to her children that breathe air. I think you did, and I hope that bound up in your sorrow is pride in the way that you mothered him, in the very short time that you were able.

  10. I know for a fact that some would judge you harshly. I know some of those people. However, I strongly believe you did the right thing for yourself, for your family, and for that child. I had to make a similar call for my 23-month-old son (spinal meningitis). Sucks. Sucks big time. But I’m also reminded of a corny message on Facebook to which I replied. The message was something to the effect of “What would you say to your younger self if you could?” My reply: “It gets better. Much better.” And I believe that with all my heart. To Past Lin from Now Lin: “It gets better. Much better.”

  11. I want to say quit beating yourself up but I know the reality, good moms beat themselves up no matter how well we can defend our choices. I truly believe, that although it causses you pain, the fact that you still have this internal monologue shows just how good a mom you are. Thank you again for sharing the truth that is you.

  12. We lost a baby 3 years (2nd missed miscarriage) ago in October and now have 2 year old twin boys and their 5 year old brother. I don’t for a minute think that my sadness compares to the anguish you must have felt. I am inspired by your determination to love despite loss.

  13. I’m sorry for your sadness. The selfish choice would’ve been to continue and have Soren suffer so you would not have to bear the burden of a choice. You chose to make the pain yours instead of Soren’s and Roan’s. Can’t ask more than that of a loving mom!

  14. We suffered a loss that was out of our hands and will have a four year old son and twin babies this summer. It helps so much to hear that other families have something in common with my family. Thank you for so bravely sharing your world with us. It’s helping me now in 2013.

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