Kimberly Richey (41), Zion (20mos), Lyon (would be 2). Kimberly is also parent to three stepchildren aged 24, 21, and 18.
Kimberly shares -
“My son Lyon was born at 37 weeks weighing 3lbs 7oz. He was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroid and some brain issues that resulted in seizures and blindness. He had a failure to thrive and we brought him home from the NICU after two and a half weeks so he could die peacefully in our home. We had a blissful 20 days with him until he took his last breath in his sleep at five weeks old. Four months later while deep in grief I realized I was pregnant again and a year and four days after my son was born my daughter Zion was born. She is a healthy and thriving toddler now with three half siblings.
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
When my son was born despite not having the birth I wanted I was so amazed that my body would carry him to term. I felt the most beautiful I had ever been in my life. Sadly, I was unable to breastfeed him and after his death it was difficult to see my body with engorged breasts and rounded belly as lovely, but more as a memory of my loss. Through a lot of therapy and support from my community I was able to process through some of that and accept the new pregnancy as a positive. Having our rainbow arrive healthy was the best outcome I could ever have hoped for. My weight melted off with her and she didn’t gain weight well so it caused me some worry that maybe I was failing her, but now she’s catching up and I’ve relaxed a lot more about it. There’s always some trauma lurking in my head related to my first pregnancy and experience with my son but I wouldn’t change the past. My son gave me an incredible gift by existing. I’m still in awe of his tiny presence but huge love.
What was your postpartum experience?
Grief was overwhelming. We became vulnerable and shared our son with as many friends as we could before he died. He was magical to hold. I decided against a funeral so over the years we have left his ashes in meaningful places. With my daughter I didn’t realize how hard it was still going to be! Joining a support group after her birth was really instrumental in working through lingering grief and anxiety.
Why did you choose to participate in this movement and share your story?
Not enough families speak out about their losses. No one tells you that babies can die. We had no idea what to do.