Fathom Mag

Published on:
October 5, 2020
Read time:
2 min.
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The Life of Winnie Mae

Six poems about the child we lost, in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.


I ran through the rain
to tell you our invisible
secret. You grabbed my
hand and led me to
the front of the church

where we kneeled in
smiling disbelief,
my heart beating
so fast, your lips
praying, "Thank you,
God, for this.”

My First Mother’s Day

A phone app tells me
you're the size of a
sesame seed and that
your heart will soon
begin beating. I feel a
twinge in my belly
and don't know if I
should cry with joy or
hold my breath.

All I know is that
last night I woke
up at 2 a.m.

Competition for the Maples

The yellow irises
unfurled today
in honor of you.

They stand bright
among the sucker trees
and budding maples -
short-lived in their glory.

A moment of spring
in the panic of this pandemic
And one day I will
show them to you,
as I will show you
the entire garden, if
only you would
keep growing,
beloved one.

Give the maples
some competition
because I can't wait
to meet you.

Today, I think I might lose you.

I'm bleeding a little. They say
it’s nothing to worry about.
They say, it’s normal. But I
can’t help but see you
slipping through my fingers
before even getting the chance
to kiss your face, smell your head,
and name you. Does it ever feel
like Happiness is just holding
her breath? That Joy, when she
comes in the morning, pours
the coffee with shaking hands?
I wonder if it ever get easier
to hope. 

Maternity Shorts

arrived in the mail today,
two weeks late.

I’ll never understand
life dangled like
hope-bait, birthing in us
new dreams, only to
lead to a dead end.

We weep.

But the shorts still fit
my swollen stomach,
soft and stretched,
ready to carry you.

Two weeks ago,

I was planning
your nursery.

He was researching

Two weeks ago
we were settling into
the idea of you,

your tiny heart,
and budding limbs.

And all the things
we wanted to show you. 

When Grief Soaks the Ground

It wasn’t until I saw
the land you had tilled,
the dirt lining the sidewalk
leading to our house, that I
cried. Really cried. Realizing
that she will be sunflowers,
but never in my arms. Lord,
this feels like too much.

We plant seeds and pray, telling You
we trust You. And we do. We always
have, but this hurts. And we tell You
that, too. I am still bleeding from her
death as we push dirt into mounds,
telling one another for the hundredth
time this week: I love you. I love you, too.
And our grief soaks the ground, so
that we do not drown.

We will never forget you.

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Rachel Joy Welcher
Rachel Joy Welcher is an editor-at-large at Fathom Magazine and an Acquisitions Editor for Lexham Press. She earned her MLitt. from The University of St. Andrews. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Two Funerals, Then Easter and Blue Tarp, and the book, Talking Back to Purity Culture: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality (InterVarsity Press, 2020). You can follow her on Twitter @racheljwelcher.

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