• Melanie Boutiette

Heartbeat


"I would draw life from nurturing you."


Strange that I should think of you now

All these many years gone by…

Standing in front of the mirror

Running my hands over my belly

Imagining a life formerly carried

In my once gently swelling womb...


Longing, sorrow, regret,

Flood my heart once again

For your life that was so very brief.

My heart had soared and beat

With measureless joy

At the news of your creation...


I told the world and

Any listening stranger

Of my good news.

I took delight in

My ever-growing waistline

And my swelling breasts

That would offer you

The life-giving milk...


I knew in just a few months

You would suckle life

While I held you close.

And in return,

I would draw life

From nurturing you...


I imagined who you were:

Would your eyes be dark as midnight?

Or bright blue like a summer’s day?

Would your hair be black and fine like silk?

Or flaxen and soft like downy fur?


I wondered too:

Would your skin be smooth as satin

With the freshness of a newborn babe?

Would you be fair and

Delicate like a porcelain doll?

Or would your coloring

Be dark and olive toned?


I thought:

Who would you be?

A boy or girl to

Seal my heart’s desire?

What would your

Personality be like?


Your hands so delicate and small

Sculpted by a Master Artist

Yet strong in their grip

Would wrap around my fingers

While you wrapped

Yourself around my heart…


Would you have the trademark

Dimpled chin and cheeks

Made more evident with laughter?

And would you suck your thumb

Drawing your own comfort

When you cried?


My heart soared as

I imagined your life and our future.

I dreamed, planned, and prepared

For your arrival in our lives…


But your heartbeat only

Resonated with mine for

A short while,

And you never drew a breath

This side of eternity...


For I would not carry

You to term,

Your heartbeat

No longer evident.

I would not hold you

Close to my breast...


The surgical room did not

Deliver your life that day

Into my waiting arms

And longing heart,

But instead delivered

A devastating blow of death…


And still I wonder:

All these many years gone by

What would you have been like?


Sometimes when I hear

The laughter of children

On the playground,

The cry of a baby’s hunger,

Or the plaintive remarks of

A little one calling out “Mama,”

I turn suddenly in response.

And then I remember again:

These cries are not for me.

And I wonder about you again...


Now these many years past

When my womb

Can no longer give life,

I’m left feeling

The barrenness of heart and soul

And a profound grief

Once again…


And then I realize:

Your heart still beats

With mine.




"Your heart still beats with mine."

(By: Melanie Boutiette © 4/5/05. Reflections on losing my child, on lost motherhood, and unrealized desires. Dedicated to all my mother friends who know the loss of a child: Jacquelyne, Bobbi, Marisa, Susan, Julie, Lynn, Sheryl, Mary, Kris, Mary Jane, Linsey, Jessica, Missie, Debi, Laurie, Suzy, Dana, Mary Lynn, Joumana, Tommye, Amber, Helen, Hope...and many others who have experienced this grief.)