When will people get it through their heads that I will not be silenced?

I refuse to tell you his was my first pregnancy when it was not–doctors offices can fix their forms to include stillborn babies, because I will not chose a box that doesn’t embody my reality.

I refuse to tell you I have one child when I don’t. I also refuse to tell you I have a dead baby, because she is very much alive in another dimension.

I refuse to be ashamed to have a teddy bear in all of our family photos. I sleep and travel with her bear sometimes, and it facilitates sibling bonding with my children in the way I’m allotted.

I refuse to fail to mention my child to make you comfortable.

I refuse to hide her perfect, beautiful pictures because you can’t appreciate my portion in motherhood.

I refuse to look at signs from her as just a happenstance.

I refuse to abandon the bereaved community that was there for me better than I could be for myself, all because I got my “happy ending.”

I refuse to let an outsider judge my deep intricate grief process at face value–if you have something negative to say, or even think, I refuse to care.

I refuse to forfeit the honor of commemorating my daughter.

Don’t expect it.

Don’t challenge it.

Don’t question it.

And thank God you don’t have to understand it.

I really try to have a gracious tone, but I hear the little comments and I see the facial expressions, and every once in a while, I just have to remind myself and everyone else that mothering a child in heaven is a process not to be judged. It’s to be observed.

Genuine questions are welcomed. Saying Joislen’s name is celebrated. And remembering her with me is cherished.

But one thing I refuse to do is forget my daughter, for you.

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