If you are lucky, sometimes you will forget them from the first moment you wake. I am sad to admit that I always remember every detail. My nightmare starts out like a dream sequence: lying in a hospital bed, cradling my newborn baby. I stroke his/her cheek tenderly; oblivious to the fact that I am sore or sweaty. My smile is endless as I peer into their eyes, then count the five fingers on each hand and the five tiny toes on each foot. I feel safe and complete, swearing to myself that I will provide this little being with endless protection and pure love for our entire lives. Then, very abruptly, the dream turns into a nightmare. My baby is missing. Not only can I not find them, but nobody else has seen the baby. It is as if the child had never existed. No one seems to remember me giving birth or cradling my bump and waiting impatiently for my child to come into this world. I run room to room, then house to house – I even search every car in the neighborhood. I struggle to breathe as time creeps by, praying that my search will pay off. The aching in my chest becomes sharper and stronger, as waves of nausea hit me.
The nightmare changes a second time, and now I am awake and have suffered a miscarriage. This was not the first, but rather my second, time within the span of one year. I was unable to protect my unborn child as it was growing inside of me. I was incapable of keeping a particular promise I made during my dreams. I did not give birth to my beloved angel. The father never even knew I was pregnant until after the miscarriage. When I told him, he used this information to hurt his girlfriend because of her infidelity. He used my pain to serve his own selfish purposes. The same pain that only I had to experience and attempt to understand. He would never have to hurt from this loss, as he still had his daughter. Honestly, he really had no right to speak of this sorrow, as he was absent at the time and to this day, remains gone. While I was bent over in a hospital bed with unbearable cramping, crying and continuing to pray not to lose my child, he was not present. He did not see all the sympathetic gazes from the nurses and doctors. When I chose to share the sad news with his father that I miscarried his grandchild twice, he was not around to see the sadness. I confessed my pregnancy to his parent, allowing him to decide if he should share the details with his son. He remained silent, aware of the dark side that existed in his own flesh and blood – a son snorting poison through his nose. The man who impregnated me was a thief who would whisper lies into my ear, all the while knowing he would disappear in the daylight for a lifetime. He fed me some cocktails and cannabis at the age of 27, then planted a seed inside of me. He would then go on to steal every chunk of my confidence I gained over the course of ten years. He broke me in ways that seemed impossible.
In addition to the loss of my beloved babies, people who were supposed to be my friends began to slowly disappear. Most were unable to deal with the fact I had miscarried. I lost a part of myself that I could never get back, nor could I fully explain my feelings. Therefore, my tattoo serves as my lifelong tribute to my innocents – one small heart inside a larger heart located above my left ankle. It is a a marker of my love, and a memo to myself to not allow toxic relationships to ruin my world. I can not seem to help wondering about the what if’s or what could have been. In my mind, I imagine a little girl or boy calling me mommy. The all too familiar ache of failure when I see people with their own children stings me every second of every day. My nightmares do not stop once woken; they just start again.