At the 20 week ultrasound of our fourth child, instead of finding out the gender we found out that our baby was going to die. The happy people who walked into the doctor’s office did not walk out that day. We were different people going on a journey into territory we had never pictured ourselves traveling. I was destroyed. Little did I know that the hardest part would be explaining to my three kids that their sibling isn’t going to be joining our family. I had to greet their excitement with bad news and that sucked.

I have always created art that reflects what I’ve been thinking about or whatever is going on in my head. These past few weeks have been a struggle, but it would have been harder if I didn’t have my art to express myself.

On July 6, 2018 my daughter Wren Ivy was born and buried shortly after. As a family we are doing better as a result of all the love and support we have received from neighbors, friends, and loved ones. I continue to use my art as an outlet, but the jagged edges of my pain have been shaved down a bit. I’m functioning and able to talk it out with people. I want to be able to reach out to others who have lost children unexpectedly and I hope my art can help people have a look inside the mind of a grieving parent.

I’m blue (posted with the news about our baby)

Posted 14 June, 2018.
“Well folks it has been an emotional day. My wife and I found out that our upcoming baby isn’t going to be with us much longer due to some issues it has experienced in the womb. Mom is healthy, and I’m super grateful for my three beautiful children I already have. It was heartbreaking to tell them that their brother/sister won’t grow up with them. Hug your loved ones extra tight for me tonight!”

I’m fine (but not really)

Posted 16 June, 2018.
“I wasn’t (fine) but I’m better at the moment. We found out baby is a girl. Makes it more real and sent us on a new emotional rollercoaster. I hate how the stages of grief are so real and predictable. For me, I would give my left arm and never draw again if we could have our little girl. But it’s not in the cards, she would have far too many struggles and it wouldn’t be fair to keep her.”

Helping hands

Posted 16 June, 2018.
“I am truly awestruck by the amazing support and love I’ve been shown by family, friends, and the (online) community. People who know me mostly by my art have reached out to me as a person and shown me so much compassion.”

Emotionally drained

“I am running on fumes emotionally. Can’t feel much, which is okay.”
It was hard to even feel sad at times, it was mostly just an empty painful feeling. It still creeps up from time to time.

Putting on a brave face

The hardest thing early on was being able to go to work and deal with strangers who had no idea what I was going through. My co-workers were great and understanding, it was the other people who were unpredictable. It was relieving to be able to pretend I was someone different and just be a model employee. Though that did tend to wear thin as time passed.”

Anxiety

“The worst feeling is being helpless. Not being able to rewind, or change anything, being stuck on a path. I’m already on meds for anxiety and depression so recent events aren’t as bad as the could have been. Drawing out my feelings has been wonderful. I’m not falling apart or hiding in the dark; I’m able to function pretty okay.”

Heartless demon

Grief

Eh, gloomy day. I’ll be fine.

Depressed and tired

“So depression runs deep on my Father’s side of the family. My siblings and I medicate and deal with it differently. My Dad and I express our depression with anger, lately mine has been making me tired. Or I’m losing sleep.”

Demon of loss

The more I talk with people about what I’m currently going through, the more I learn that everyone has suffered a loss. It is a universal emotion and should definitely connect us rather that make us feel cut off. We go through tough times in order to relate to those who have gone, or are going through, similar things.”

Scream head

Sometimes I wish I could scream so loud the room exploded around me.

Leave me alone

I am at odds with wanting to be left alone and being lonely. It’s always been there and today is no different.

Silencing the optimist brain

For me sadness comes from unmet expectations and uncertainty. And unfortunately hope was a source of uncertainty for me so I was having to constantly tell the small, hopeful, optimistic part of my grey matter to take its opinion and stuff it.

Wren Ivy

I drew this as an homage to my daughter. My wife who is also an artist helped as well. I rarely draw beautiful things because I like to keep them in my head. But this time it was completely worth it.

Grin under the skin (drawn while in hospital awaiting delivery)

After the doctors could no longer detect a heartbeat we went to the hospital to induce labor. It was a long, awful time, punctuated with some nice moments. The nurses were amazing and thoughtful. I felt like a helpless jackass most of the time. I drew a whole lot though.

Two-headed (hospital #2)

After 12 hours of drugs and waiting nothing was happening. My anger was evident in my post that day:
“Super frustrating. 12 hours and no end in sight. I hate seeing my wife in pain and not being able to do a damn thing about it. I’m just a cog with no teeth spinning around. I can feel my mind breaking. Save me the platitudes, I want a punching bag.”

Family on both sides

After burying our little girl in the cemetery across the street from where we live I was able to look on my whole family in a new way. I am religious but not full blown nutjob religious. But knowing that I had children on both sides of life was such an interesting thought. On the one hand I want to join my little girl and see her, and the other I have my three awesome kiddos who are in need of a Father. I intend to continue forward with all of my kids in mind and trying to improve myself every day.

Functioning maniac

A little self portrait I did shortly before all this madness began. You can see that I already had an interesting view of myself then, and it rings even more true now.

Thank you so much for going through this journey with me. I hope my art can give you some comfort and perspective.