It’s always been kind of crazy to me, how common miscarriages and stillbirths are, in proportion to, how uncommon the conversations around them are. Me, putting my pregnancy on such a broad stage, so to speak, has challenged that silence quite a bit. Anyone, who is everyone, that knows of Shaquana Gardner, knows that I was expecting a beautiful brown baby doll. In such, anyone, who is everyone, would eventually know, that my beautiful brown baby doll didn’t make it here into the land of the living.  

My first struggle was accepting this as fact, whilst dealing with my now depleted stomach. Before I even thought of writing it on Facebook or my blog, as a grand announcement, I had to deal with the stares. The, “she doesn’t have a belly anymore, so did she have the baby? And if so, where is the baby?” stares. That was about to drive me bonkers. Seriously! Like, what the fuck are you looking at?! Seriousfuckingly!!

That’s why, before I even gave myself proper time to grieve on my own turf, I had to make an announcement. It was either that, or I was gonna start punching people, dead in their faces. No lie. Call me crazy. Call me hurt. Angry. Delirious. Whatever the fuck you want. But when people, whom you have no fucking association with. People whom, you never even fucking told you were pregnant in the first place, stare at you with entitled information seeking eyes, wanting to know shit that is none of their damn business, it can do something to you.

Some people experience shame. I had a moment of shame. Before I told anyone. I wondered what people would think. What they would say. How they would judge the woman, who can’t seem to bring a child to life. For a moment, everyone else’s thoughts, feelings and whatsoever else, came to my mind. It brought shame. Hurt. Embarrassment. Confusion. Anger. And then, reality hit.

There is not one person, who experienced this loss, greater than I. NOT ONE! Moreover, being a single mother to be, I was literally on my own, this entire fucking pregnancy. I got love and support, here and there, from a select group of people. Nonetheless, day in and day out, it was me, myself and I, working to bring this child into the world. So, with my brain working as it does, that moment of shame could only be brief, as logic soon kicked in, reminding me that it was no one’s damn business.

More importantly though, this is not an uncommon circumstance, as sad as it may be. I am not alone. Yet, people will go out their way, to make you feel otherwise. So, this past weekend I bumped into this woman from my neighborhood. She’s one of those hater folks, who smiles in your face, praying for your downfall, type of people. She’d of course, beg to differ. But who would admit to being as wicked, as most people are, anyway? So, she has the nerve of Satan himself, to approach me saying, “congratulations!”

Now, here’s the immediate problem with this situation. For one, any and every bit of news about Shaquana Gardner, circles the Lower East Side of Manhattan so fast, it’s as if the wind itself, carries it. So, there ain’t one damn person in this neighborhood, that doesn’t know I lost my child. Including this wicked ass lady.

Second, I never fucking told her I was pregnant. So, she obviously found out the same way mostly everyone else did, Facebook. Which means, she also had access to my most recent post, telling the news of my baby’s passing. In such, she knew damn well I wasn’t owed a congrats. But nonetheless, the wicked will do, what the wicked do.

So, a conversation ensues, where I tell her I lost my child, she feigns surprise, I ignore her bullshit, she audaciously asks what happened, I tell her I miscarried/ had a stillbirth, she audaciously asks how many months I was, I tell her 8, and she so fucking audaciously follows up with, “well, I gave birth to my son at 8 months and…”

I stopped her dead in her fucking tracks. Because you see people, I’m not all the way there right now. I got more than a couple of screws missing, and if I dared let her finish the ignorant, evil ass fucking comment she was about to make, I’d be in a jail cell right now, instead of writing this post.

I very quickly reminded her that God chooses which children to bring into this world, and which ones not to, in His own timing. It clearly wasn’t my butterbean’s time. More importantly, I sent a very strong spiritual reminder, that God can call home one’s child, whenever the crap He feels like.

So, instead of being focused on attempting to compare my “failed” pregnancy to her “successful” one (and low-key, shame me/ cast doubt on me because my child didn’t make it, though so late into my pregnancy), she should be more focused on praying God keeps her sons alive, now that they are actually in the land of the living.

I’m less concerned with questioning what would make someone, a person whom in particular, has birthed a child, say something as evil and wicked minded as she was about to say. I’m more concerned with how I can find healthy and successful ways of being as devastated, distraught and hurt as I am, whilst moving along such evil possessed people.

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Every single night, I cry myself to sleep, vowing to give up on life and just hold my breath, until I can meet her again. Every single night. Do you understand that? Do you understand that, when Bayyina came to me, I had nothing but a broken dream and a lifetime of seemingly useless accomplishments? I was so lost, I couldn’t remember the word found. Do you understand that Bayyina gave me LIFE?

She was my breath of fresh air, that dared to last forever and ever. Everything. Every single thing, became worthwhile, with her in my peripheral. Breathing became worthwhile. Moving and being alive, took a whole new meaning for me. Life was so much more than just a word we learn growing up. Being alive. Being vulnerable. Taking chances and risks. Trying again, and even failing again, all became worthwhile. She gave me hope, desire, love, an eternity of promise. Things I’d never knew possible to exist, she instilled into me.

So, when I lost her. Losing her. As far as I’m concerned, means losing life. My sense of purpose. My sense of being. My sense, of what it means to be alive. Every night, when I go to bed, I not only mourn the loss of my child. I mourn, the loss of me. I mourn, the loss of my reason to be alive, despite. When I am blessed to rise in the morning, I must spend every single second, of every single day, searching for that purpose, that reason, all over again. In midst of, evil and wicked minded people like that tired, trifling woman.

For right now, at this very moment in my life, that’s what moving along. Moving forward, means and looks like. It means, looking for purpose, in a world void of purpose. It means, searching for hope and love, in a world void of hope and love. It means, moving along, even though I have no clear understanding, of why I should bother to move along. The only reason I can say, guiding me right now, is her spirit. The spirit of Bayyina. The true testament and evidence of God. My clear proof, of God.

Now, I’m faced with a lot of, “you’ll have another one.” People get twitchy around their kids, when I’m near now, as if they feel bad that they have a child and I don’t. As if, suddenly, I might become jealous of their child. Or their child’s existence might haunt my beautiful butterbean’s, lack thereof. I’ve even gotten the suggestion of, considering adopting someone else’s child, in such that, perhaps God is calling me to parent someone else’s child, in midst of my loss.

I don’t have the words. The heart. The depth or understanding to go into, everything that is so tragically wrong with these assumptions, thoughts and suggestions. What I can say is this, my butterbean, my beautiful brown baby doll, my Bayyina Mekhi Gardner, IS NOT replaceable. Moreover, she can not be compared to any other spirit in this entire world, dead or alive. Spiritual or physical. She was, she is, ONE OF A KIND!

So, when I cry at night, I am not crying for a child. I am not crying for some child. I am not crying for any child. I am crying for MY CHILD! A child that can not, and will not, be replaced. I don’t see Bayyina when I look at other people’s children. Because she wouldn’t have looked like other people’s children. I don’t feel jealous, when I hear a child’s laughter or see a tiny infant’s foot. Because that’s not my child’s laughter, or my child’s foot.

Going through something like this. Like child loss. Particularly, child loss so late in the pregnancy, is obviously not easy. Having suffered two miscarriages before this, much earlier in the pregnancy, I understand that there are levels to this motherhood thing. This loss thing. This bearing a child thing. One thing I have learned, is that the more a child grows, the harder it can be to let go.

When I lost my first two pregnancies, I thought to myself, if I could just feel my baby move inside of me, it would make the loss easier, somehow. As if, having more of a connection, would ease the loss of the connection. What I can now say is this: I was right and wrong. For myself, at least. Bayyina became a person, whilst inside of me. We grew together, and it was the most beautiful experience I have ever been blessed to know. With that, will always be memories that no physical existence or lack thereof, could take away.

At the same time, I now have a very firm understanding of, the spirit I lost. It isn’t just a child, that could be any kind of person, with any kind of traits and any kind of purpose. My BaBa was her own person. With her own traits. And her own purpose. I can understand this, more than anything else, because I was and still am, in a far better emotional place than with my first two pregnancy losses.

Perhaps, if I wasn’t, I might be more poised to compare my “failed” pregnancy, to other people’s “successful” pregnancy. Perhaps, I’d see my baby girl, in the face of every other baby girl, I pass. Perhaps, I’d feel jealousy or confusion and betrayal. Perhaps. But I know better. And I am in a clear enough emotional place, to feel better, when it comes to that. I don’t want anyone else’s child. I want my child!

My struggle, is to not lose hope, in the future children God may bless me with. I know that I very well may get pregnant again, and be blessed to finally give birth to a live child, that lives longer than life itself. I also know, that child won’t be Bayyina. It just doesn’t work like that.

Her time has come and gone, in the physical world. Her purpose served, and continually being served. I’m not ready for another spirit to come to me, yet. Through God’s will, I will be. One day. For now, I’m just working to keep it together, for Bayyina. To keep moving along, for Bayyina.