I used to feel anxious driving through the little town of Charlotte. My fear had nothing to do with the actual town itself except for its sweet, lovely name. Five years ago this week on February 19, Dave and I lost a baby when I was five months pregnant. We named her Charlotte Anne after she was delivered stillborn at 5:50 a.m.
For months, I couldn’t drive through Charlotte without feeling uneasy and sad. Even through the name of the town is technically pronounced Shar-lot, seeing the “Welcome to Charlotte” sign was always tough to take. Reading the letters of our lost daughter’s name triggered my worst memories of that horrible day, a defining moment that clearly marks our before and after.
As the years passed, it became easier to enjoy the town of Charlotte for all it has to offer: beautiful views, hiking trails on Mount Philo, and backroads with wide open pastures and rambling old barns. On the first anniversary of Charlotte’s death, I published a blog post about our year of grief with a photo I had taken on the western edge of Charlotte near Lake Champlain.
So yes, time has certainly helped us heal. But more than anything, the birth of our daughter, Phoebe, has made all the difference. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be her mom.
When I look at our family, I am reminded that someone is missing. But truly, I’m thankful to feel whole again.
**Related post: My Challenging Path to Motherhood.