By: Steven De La Roché
On January 7th, my wife and I went to our final OB appointment to make sure our little girl was ready to be born in two days; we were excited and so ready to be her parents. The nurse practitioner came in and did a standard ultrasound and spent a few minutes trying to find a heartbeat. This wasn’t the first time this had happened, so we didn’t think much of it until our doctor came in and tried because the nurse couldn’t find it, and after what seemed like an eternity, he simply apologized and our daughter was gone.
On January 9th, 2020 at 8:25 pm my wife delivered our stillborn daughter, Ellington, at 36 weeks and I was hit with two conflicting emotions. At first, I was so proud that this was my daughter and she was just as I imagined her, which I can only imagine is the feeling that most fathers have when seeing their child for the first time. Soon after realizing that she should have been crying; a deep sorrow that words cannot adequately express overwhelmed me. As I wept over my little girl, I had absolutely no idea what to do. All I could do was read her a book and stay close to my wife. After we spent our time with Ellington and left the hospital, friends and family brought us meals and even started a gofundme to allow us some reprieve. We used some of that money to take a trip to California. Getting away from it all for a few days and seeing the ocean was the best medicine that we could come up with and it’s on that trip that I took these photos.
As I stood with my wife looking out over these incredible and awe-inspiring landscapes, I was reminded of how each new wave existed because the wave that preceded it had come to the end of its course. This is very much like our own lives. This ebb and flow can bring with it a myriad of emotions; anxiety, excitement, hope, fear, depression, nostalgia, and longing just to name a few. As men, I feel that we have this unspoken (and sometimes spoken) pressure on us to know exactly what to do at any given time, but I’ll tell you a secret… You don’t have to know. Not knowing doesn’t make you any less of a man and the idea that you have to go it alone or “tough it out” is a lie. Sharing whatever you’re feeling with someone you trust, whether that be your partner, counselor, friend or family member, can be terrifying, but I assure you that if you have the courage to lead with vulnerability, lower your walls, and invite others into your life who are trusted and love you for who you are, you can overcome any adversary life throws at you.
So as we enter into this season of new beginnings, as waves end and give way to new ones, I encourage you to be courageous in all things and to rest in the knowledge that no man is a failure who has friends, and you always have a friend here.
“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”