Love, Mom

Pregnancy is an amazing time in a woman's life.  You plan, you hope, you dream.  Sometimes, however, those dreams never come true. The numbers are sobering.  More than 1 in 160 pregnancies end in still birth.

A still birth is when the fetus dies after reaching 20 weeks of pregnancy.  That essentially means that you have had enough time to bond with your baby. You have felt them move. You have had time to fall in love.

How do you grieve a child you have never met but love so deeply? Love, Mom by Cynthia Baseman delves into the soul of a Mother who has lost her child to still birth. The book is a rare glimpse into the normally private world of a grieving mother.  The story unfolds among heartbreaking journal entries and letters written to the daughter that she will never know.  You can't help but  follow her along as she attempts restore the sense of peace an happiness that has been shattered by loss. Only through sharing this kind of pain can you really teach someone how to recover.

Cynthia Baseman is also the writer and editor of Santa Barbara Trail Riders.  Since 1998, Baseman has been teaching writers workshops for children and teens, encouraging them to keep journals as she has since she was a child. She currently resides with her husband and two sons in Los Angeles.

Love, Mom is also included in a women's health anthology called  The Body Politic, co-written by Barbara Seaman and Laura Eldridge.


June 2, 1995

My Sweet Samantha,

I’m dying.  I’m sure of it.  This week has been endless and it’s only Wednesday.  Over Memorial Day we went to the cemetery to pick out a marker.  A marker!  Oh my God.  I should be picking out your dresses.  Will I ever be able to stand Wednesdays again?

Love, Mom

I was having a challenging day; the strain of returning to the cemetery pulled me pretty low.  It’s never a smart thing to get into the car and drive while you’re feeling distraught.  Fortunately, nothing bad happened.  Not this time.  While Bobby took his afternoon nap, I got in my car and on a whim, I headed west toward the beach.  As I glided down West Channel Road and could see the ocean before me, I veered north down Pacific Coast Highway, away from home.  The waves hitting the shore had a hypnotic rhythm, soothing as a lullaby.  I turned the radio off and rolled down the windows.  The wind stirred up loose tissues from the dash and they blew around the car like a snow flurry.  My car surged forward as I goosed the accelerator and if the stoplight at Topanga and Pacific Coast Highway hadn’t flashed red, I could’ve glided up north to the Ventura County line or beyond.  To say I wasn’t grounded would’ve been gross understatement.  The vacant parking lot opened its arms to me and I embraced it.

Topanga State Beach is a surfer’s beach; the shoreline is too rocky and exposed to be very inviting to anyone else.  A thick layer of fog drooped over the beach like a canopy and I was drawn to it.  The edge of Pacific Coast Highway was dotted with beat-up cars with perfectly waxed boards secured to their roofs.  I seemed to be the only idiot paying for parking.  I longed to pull the heavy fog over me like a blanket.

The view from the top of the concrete stairs allowed me to scan the shoreline.  I saw no traces of young moms with children, no young lovers making out on their towels.  In the distance were about two-dozed surfers with the singular purpose of reading and riding the right ones.  I headed down the stairs and brushed arms with a suntanned beauty with an angled jaw and the signature defined shoulders from daily paddling.  “Excuse me,” I muttered.  He passed me, remote and silent, behind his Maui Jim sunglasses.

Below, on the sand, I passed a group of young men who were struggling to pull their wetsuits up.  Graceful and athletic, they tiptoed through the rocks with their boards held firmly under one arm.  As they splashed into deeper water they slid their boards in front of them and mounted them in one seamless motion.  They paddled further and further from shore, their bodies growing more distant until all I could see was their silhouette against the horizon.

Like a flock of seagulls, they bobbled on the silvery surface.  They were as featureless as the water itself but they were musical in the rhythm of the ocean.  They waited.

I waited, too.


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