The Audacity of Plans After Stillbirth

This is the second installment in a series of articles that explore one mother’s journey through the grief of loving a child who has died. It is our hope that by sharing these reflections, we can help grieving parents feel less alone, and help the people who love them better understand what they’re going through. Together, we can create a more supportive culture for bereaved parents.

The day my planner for 2021 arrived in the mail, I was too afraid to open it.

I had wondered for a long time how I would feel about this day. Once, I’d considered myself a planning geek. I might have four or five planning notebooks at any given moment: one for the kids, one for me, one for menu-planning, one for long-term projects, one for work projects, etc, etc. I used to go into Michaels’ just to flip through the planners, with their bold covers and sets of incentivizing stickers. Maybe it was a holdover from my school days, but they just smelled like promise and opportunity to me: It's a new year! Who knows what you'll achieve! Who knows what wonderful new things will happen!