Adeline is only a toddler and has already lost someone who was supposed to be her sidekick through life. I never faced real tragedy until adulthood. My first tragic event was in June 2019, when grandma was involved in a fatal accident, and then in March 2020, when my son was born still. I was 27 & 28 years old. She is only two. Ughhh, my heart!!

We told our daughter I was pregnant from the very minute we found out. We were so excited and wanted to share our excitement with her. We bought a few children's books discussing how to be a big sister. I read these aloud often. She kissed my belly all the time and would say goodnight to her baby brother. She helped us brainstorm names for him. However, they mainly were letter and number combinations rather than actual names. For example, she has a baby doll named C-R-9-10 & we call her CR for short. I was pregnant for basically half her life. Telling Adeline that her brother wasn't ever coming home was so hard.

Here's what we chose to do with our toddler after I gave birth to our stillborn:


I gave birth to him during the early stages of COVID-19 and, therefore, wasn't allowed any visitors except my husband. When we got home from the hospital, we told her what all went down in a way she could understand. She knew we were at the hospital while she was being babysat, and I didn't want to confuse her by waiting too long. By the time we would have gotten around to it, she probably wouldn't have understood when the baby left mommy's tummy. It was also smart to tell her right away because we were EXTREMELY hurting, and she could see that.


Mainly based on her age and toddler comprehension skills. In our house, phones and tablets die, or they are dead. I didn't want her to associate those two things together. I didn't want her to think, "Oh, mommy! Just use a charger," because that is definitely where her mind would have gone.


We understand that this is a brand-new concept for her. So, when we tell her that her brother passed away, we add, "and that makes us sad." Adding an emotion informs her that we didn't want this to happen. As she gets older, she'll want more answers, but, for now, the connection she has with people passing away is that it makes us upset. It means brother can't be with us.


I understand this may only be for some. Skip this if need be. I know that we are so lucky to have these photos. By hanging them, sparked more questions from her about her brother. It helped us, as parents, see when our daughter was thinking about him because she would look at him in silence. So her dad and I would start to talk about how much we wanted baby brother with us, and we are so sad he isn't here.
As we get further away from his death, life is all about her again, and I like that we have special spaces just for him. We hope these pictures help her understand that all those kisses on my tummy were special. A beautiful baby received them all.


Grief comes and goes. We don't expect all days to be good ones. At two and a half, she is just starting to label emotions. This is happy! THIS IS FRUSTRATED. For a while, when something scared her, she said it was 'too funny.' So, grieving a brother is a BIG EMOTION for a girl who is learning her emotions. Sometimes she lays on the floor and covers her head. But sometimes, she's a little ball of fire, and we must practice patience and calm her with words of love. We remember she is still fragile to this tragedy and, just like us, will show more than just sadness. She will also get angry, frustrated, confused, etc.

"I'm A Big Sister" outfit for his newborn photoshoot.

Big sister outfit for his newborn photoshoot
"I'm A Big Sister" outfit for his newborn photoshoot

The first couple of weeks after losing her brother...

What it's like for a two-year-old to lose a brother she's never met... she's grieving. It makes everything worse for us. It makes us so sad. Grieving is different for a two-year-old. She is still a happy little girl but has moments of sadness, confusion, and anger. We told her why we were at the doctor's and why she had to be babysat. Baby isn't in mommy's belly anymore, and we couldn't bring him home because he passed away—something I have to repeat to her when she asks.

The first day she dropped a toy on my tummy and said, "Sorry baby" then looked at me like-- oh wait. Lots of tears from me. She assured us, "I like babies," in case that was the reason we didn't bring him home.

Nighttime seems the hardest on her. Understandably. She wants to be a big sister so badly. I hope that wish can come true.

What it's like two months after his death...

We went on a family walk before sunset. It was a newer location we had found at the end of my pregnancy. It hit the three of us at different durations of the walk.

Since Adeline has been extremely limited in people seeing during the pandemic, she hasn't talked to many strangers about her brother. Apparently, that's something she wants to do.

A guy was working on his boat that we passed on our walk; Adeline said, "baby passed out! "We were a little confused and asked if you meant passed away. Did you want to tell that guy that your brother passed away? "YES! "

I told Adeline she could tell everyone she sees about her baby brother. She decided she needed to call Aunt Kiki and tell her right away. So she did.

Our nighttime routine is back to normal. She now cuddles one of our 'Bash Bears' to sleep most nights. I am adamant about reading to her every night and cherishing every moment with her. I know I am so lucky to have her. She is a wonderful big sister to an angel.

When the wounds aren't so fresh for our little girl, we will also say a special goodnight to baby Bash. Maybe even read him a book. Our little angel will love it.

Picture of 'Bash' Bear
Big sister took this picture of her 'Bash' Bear
Big sister holding 'Bash' bear
Big sister & 'Bash' Bear

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