From mom to mom

by Claudia Ravaldi

The mothers, the lives, the pains, the words that cure. A story.

I was thinking about you.

I don’t know you personally but I thought of you.

I see you don’t post anything on social media anymore and I miss not seeing your creations online anymore.

You don’t know, but the two of us have a lot in common. Most of all the pain. Most of all the silence.

I saw your post announcing your bereavement, and I cried with you.

My stomach has shrunk and darkness has descended on me too.

I have read and reread your words, I have seen the image of the mother bear with a baby in her arms. I have

peeked at the comments. Someone would have deleted it for you. Someone made me feel less alone.

And suddenly, I commented too.

Then I was distracted by her crying and started breathing again.

I’m not telling you I went to get her, hugged her and thought about how lucky I am.

First, because it wasn’t like that. Second, because these things are not said to someone who has just lost a child.

They don’t tell each other because they only encourage those who hold their child in their arms, not those who need it.

I tell you instead that I went to get her, I hugged her and I thought that she is also your future .

There is a future.

Even if you don’t care now, even if you don’t believe it now .

I don’t remember how I came to follow your profile.

Your gallery has always been very sweet.

Photos full of colors that conveyed lightness and peace.

Pastel colors, flowers, food. Necklaces, earrings, bags and then you started with clothing too.

Each photo made me dream.

I think I published almost one a day. Or a little less.

Then the dark .

About twenty photos in six months.

Melancholy photos like the winter sea, a broken wing, a broken vase, an empty hand caressing the snow, a sky after the storm.

As if you were screaming your pain through those images.

As if I wanted to react, get out of the thick fog, but were still imprisoned by it.

A few glimpses of daily life, and then, more silence.

I only commented on your first post. But I’ve read them all.

I wrote you a few words about an association.

After a short time I read that you wrote about this association, and even if I will not be the only one to suggest it to you, I felt useful.

I don’t know why I took your cause to heart. It will be that you continue to be a discreet girl in what you write.

You would have the sacrosanct right to answer badly, get angry, insult.

Instead keep this profile elegant. And melancholy. Is simple.

I don’t know your pain.

I think I would have died in your place.

Arriving at the end of pregnancy and being told that the heartbeat is gone.

I call someone like you just a warrior.

But, in my small way, I know what it means not to be able to breathe well anymore.

Swallow halfway.

Listen to a song and find yourself in tears.

Finding yourself in tears even without hearing any notes.

Feel the anger build up inside.

Wanting to break something and send everyone to that country.

And feel a punch, right there, in the middle of the stomach, every day, if only for a split second. But constant. Whenever you inevitably think it.

I am an encore mom, but I can only hug one of my children.

In the fifth month of pregnancy, after two exhausting months of visits and uncertainties, I chose not to continue due to a serious genetic problem in the baby.

I chose. A non-choice .

And this choice I will carry with me for life.

I gave birth. I labored and gave birth.

Alone, or rather, in a ward room with six strangers, without my husband next to me.

As if I were a Serie B mom .

And it will still take a long time to rework all that crap.

When I learned I was expecting my daughter, everyone was delighted. Incredulous. And … scared.

It always made me smile that they were the ones who were afraid.

Actually no. It didn’t make me smile. It made me nervous.

I was nervous that they were the first to be cautious.

I, on the other hand, was calm. Do you know why?

Because I had already experienced the worst.

I had survived the darkness and they no longer frightened me.

I always kept telling my husband that I was ready if it had to happen again. I was cold.

Detached .

It was all different from my first pregnancy and so it was all the same.

I couldn’t wait for the months to pass.

Seeing my belly grow… it was something I didn’t care about.

I didn’t care to see my body change.

I had already seen it.

I wanted to have a live child. I wanted to hug my baby.

I was happy to be expecting a baby, because I felt calmer not to run the risk of confusing the two pregnancies, but inevitably at each ultrasound (at least up to the fifth month) it was like a flash back.

The first thing I said to her when I found out I was expecting a girl was: “Know that we women have to be very strong. YOU must be very strong. “

The first period I was crying a lot. And I apologized to her, because she had nothing to do with it.

She shouldn’t have heard her mom cry while she was in her stomach. She must have felt the joy.

I was happy. But I couldn’t stop crying. He was stronger than me.

I still believe that all the tears my daughter shed the first few months of her life are the tears I cried while waiting for her and thinking about him.

After the fifth month and seeing that everything was going well I started to be more realistic and I started talking to her, dreaming, planning.

Never too long though. Even after she was born, I couldn’t think long term.

I didn’t make any plans because I expected everything to end again at any moment.

At the end of my pregnancy I was so tired: I had been pregnant for 14 months .. I couldn’t take it anymore.

I wanted to give birth. I didn’t think about life after giving birth. I was only thinking about childbirth, as if I had to finish something that I hadn’t been able to finish the first time.

I have well imprinted the last sentence that the midwife told me before my last push.

He told me to think of a good or bad thing that would give me the energy to push one last time.

In that thrust I poured out all my anger and pain.

And so, thinking of him, she was born.

My princess.

Many times I stop to look at it enchanted. And to think about him.

I know they are two distinct identities. But.

I often think who knows what he would have been like. Whether quieter or even more wild.

I don’t want her to grow up in the shadow of her brother, but on the occasion of World Perinatal Loss Awareness Day, we talked to her about him for the first time.

My husband and I lit a candle outside on the sidewalk of the house and in a choked voice we told her we were lighting a candle for her little brother.

I know it. At only 10 months she will not have understood. But … who knows.

A few days ago it was his first birthday. I went to get three white balloons and three

pink. Putting them in the car a white balloon flew away.

I immediately thought it was he who wanted to celebrate his little sister from up there.

Things have changed here. I’m changed.

The priorities of life for example.

Now I consider things important or not according to a different criterion.

I act less easily, more than anything else I balance everything that happens to me with what I have gone through.

No obstacle will ever compare to the huge mountain you are climbing.

Now you are still uphill. Do not give up.

As you may have guessed, he is in everything.

And she didn’t blow all the pain away . I didn’t expect it. I don’t know if those around us believe it is so.

I wondered a hundred thousand times why this happened to us. I had never found an answer that convinced me.

Since she’s been around, I tell myself that if it hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have met her.

And it would have been a very empty life.

This is my why. And that’s enough for me now.

My husband and I used to call him Olaf but we were hoping to give him the name Tommaso.

When I was expecting Olaf, although I felt like expecting a boy, we also fantasized about female names.

Olivia would have been the chosen name.

In November 2015, when 7 months had passed since the loss of Olaf, I bought two necklaces on your site.

In truth, I would have bought them all. But there were two that I loved and kept looking at.

You called one Olivia.

A year later Olivia would be here with us.

Here’s what we have in common.


Your damsel, that’s what you call your necklaces.

My rainbow damsel.

I like to think that you too have unwittingly contributed to my ascent.

For this reason, when I read about your misfortune, I wanted to write you these few lines.

So that you can believe that there is a future. Whichever path you choose.

So that you are not afraid. To start over, from yourself, from your business, from your passions.

Because although not a day will go by that you won’t think about him, you can go on. Slowly, without haste. Although you always have an open wound.

You will make it.

Believe me.

From mom to mom.


* Story given to CiaoLapo by Valentina Mazzon, whom I thank for the generosity and the honest delicacy of her words.

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