The Shadow of Your Brother

Written by Jacob Cody, WLLC 2015-2016


In Erin’s recent blog post I read before her seminar at DU, I was very touched by her story of the struggle of losing a child after having multiple miscarriages and other issues with fertility. Even though the blog post is written to her youngest child, who turned 6 months the day this post was written, the post deals greatly with discussing their journey of saying goodbye to the child they lost. By goodbye, it wasn’t just a physical goodbye, but rather a metaphorical goodbye of the place they lost him and the scenery that reminds them of their pain.

I can empathize with her story. One of our closest family friends had issues with fertility and had 3 miscarriages after her second child. These struggles were very tough on her, and led to all the issues of depression, a blow in confidence and struggles in her marriage, like many people go through. After eight years of trying, they had given up. However, by accident ironically enough, they got pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Cade. I spent much of my older childhood around Cade, and he I can say without a doubt this boy is a gift from God.

However, the difference between my friends’ story and Erin’s is the focus on the lost child. When Cade was born, he was the focus of the family and received all the care and attention that new born children need. But in Erin’s case, she is still so stuck on her lost child and trying to cope with this loss years later. I understand that this is hard to deal with, as losing a child is never something that one can just shrug off, but she could deal with it in a slightly different way. She wrote a letter to her youngest child and progressed to talk about her dead son for the rest of the post. To some, this may seem like the youngest child will constantly be living in his dead brother’s shadow. She describes how birthing his was “quite the task emotionally” (Erin 2), as if the pregnancy was a large burden on her. Another phrase that rubbed me the wrong way was when she said “you had more hair than Matilda but not as much as Milo” (Erin 18). Even though this seems like an innocent statement, it can come off as a metaphorical way of saying how this child will be living in the shadow of Milo. I am in no way an expert about this, but if I were the youngest child, I would say Erin should continue with all the same scrap booking and other therapy, but give her youngest child the individual attention he requires without bringing up his brother.

Erin. “Welcoming the Rain(bow)” Birthing HeARTiculations: Stories of Infertility, Loss, and Motherhood. 12 July 2015. Web. 12 Apr. 2016


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