Elizabeth Petrucelli

Author, Blogger, Educator

Loss Mothers Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Hummingbird - Loss Mother

This is a loss mother. Can you believe it? This tiny hummingbird is a loss mother. She herself, is about the size of a 12-week fetus (aka baby). The egg which contained her baby, was the size of a kidney bean or an 8-week embryo (aka baby).

Here she is, sitting on her nest. The egg beneath her hatched the day before. But she is not there keeping a tiny baby hummingbird warm. She is grieving.

Hummingbird Nest with Egg

Here is her nest. I captured this photo as she fluttered about above me ensuring I wasn’t going to damage her nest or egg. It’s a beautiful nest. She created it so carefully. This nest took her between 5-7 days to create. It is meticulous just like the nests we humans create in preparation for our own baby’s arrival.

This mother chose what she thought was a perfect location for her nest and baby. It is definitely inconspicuous and not an easy nest to see but once you notice it’s there, you can easily find it again and again. We have been waiting her baby’s arrival as much as she has.

She has fought off other birds, such as the robins who have a nest in the same tree, just several feet above. I have watched her fly at them in attack mode as the robins came near her nest. I worried for her, that the robins would make her newly hatched little one a feast for her own babies.

I don’t know what happened, but her little baby died. She still sits on her nest however. She has all day. We found her baby yesterday on top of hubby’s car. It was not a pretty sight to see. It was sad.

But she still sits. Why?

Hubby doesn’t believe she is grieving. He must feel she is so stupid as to sit on an empty nest. I am not angry with him. Maybe just a bit frustrated that he would think this living creature doesn’t realize that her own baby is gone.

But she still sits.

She sits because to move is too painful. She sits because if she moves, she will lose warmth. She will lose the scent. She will lose what she remembers of her baby.

She sits because losing all that she has left of her baby is so excruciating that her wings may not carry her and she too, will fall to her death. She sits because she is scared. She sits because she wants to remember. She sits because she doesn’t want to forget. She sits because she has no strength.

She sits.

She sits.

She sits.

As I walk by her, I wonder how long she will sit. Should I shoo her away? Should I force her off the nest? Should I yell at her? Should I tell her to find another nest to sit on? Should I tell her she can try again? Should I tell her at least she knows she can lay eggs and hatch a baby?

Or…

Should I let her sit?

Should I let her sit until she is ready to move again? Should I sit with her? Should I offer her something to eat? Maybe bring a feeder closer so she doesn’t have so far to go? Should I tell her she will be okay? Should I tell her it’s okay to be sad? Should I tell her I am sad with her? Should I hold her (by the way, it’s illegal to hold a hummingbird but this is an analogy)?

I shall let her sit.

I will watch her. I will make sure she gets up to eat. I will make sure she doesn’t sit so long that she rots into the nest she struggled to create. I will make sure she carries on. I will make sure, I will make sure, I will make sure.

You see, it’s okay for her to sit in her grief. She is not depressed. She is grieving. She has every right to grieve for her baby. She has every right to be sad. I have no idea how long she will be there. She could move today. She could move tomorrow but one thing is for sure, she WILL move.

No one knows how long this will take. Not even her. She doesn’t know how long she will sit in this place but she knows that in this moment, sitting is all she can do. Sitting is keeping her alive. Sitting is helping her to remember.

So she sits.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

1 Comment

  1. Summer Hepler

    July 7, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    What a heartfelt, beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing. Many hugs your way.

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