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To Grieve Appropriately

Dedicated to all the mothers who lost their children during pregnancy or birth.
Thank you to all care providers for everything that you do.

What does it mean to “grieve appropriately?”
To silently cry
as to not break the fragility in the air.
Head down and face contorted,
the only evidence
is the jagged oscillation in her shoulders
and the heaving in her chest.
The only sounded cries allowed
are the ones of a newborn,
the desired signal of life and not of loss.

What does it mean to “grieve appropriately?”
When there is a rush of blood
And the horror, the horror
The fear, the fear
The anguish, the anguish
“She delivered on the toilet.”
Labor too short and delivery too soon
Even two surgeries later,
was loss inevitable?
was the only receipt in this delivery.

What does it mean to “grieve appropriately?”
When she is diagnosed with anxiety
and PTSD
and depression, two years later.
All because she held onto her receipt
of the horror, the horror
the fear, the fear
And the anguish, the anguish.

So, how does she “grieve appropriately?”

Image credit: The candles (CC BY 2.0) by Ravenscar

Poetry Thursdays is an initiative that highlights poems by medical students. If you are interested in contributing or would like to learn more, please contact our editors.

Jessica Weng Jessica Weng (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine

Jessica is a third year MD/PhD student at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Rochester, MN class of 2028 (hopefully). In 2020, she graduated from Rice University with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and cell biology with a minor in medical humanities. She enjoys trying new recipes, working out with friends, and exploring the city one restaurant at a time in her free time. After graduating, Jessica would like to pursue a career as a physician-scientist at an academic center.