October 15th – a day of remembrance
Did you know that 1 in 4 women will in fact lose a baby during pregnancy, infancy, or delivery? That is very alarming, and yet it seems to be so “taboo” to speak about, even though it’s so common. Why is that?
I’ll tell you something. I am the face. I am 1 in 4. If you’re reading this, maybe you are too. And let me tell you something – it’s okay to talk about miscarriage and infant loss. For me, it was very healing.
For me, becoming a mother was a long and painful journey. I dreamed one day that we would just decide to try for a baby and soon after – ta-da! I’d be pregnant! Sadly, that’s not at all how things went for us. But even after going through countless fertility treatments, major surgery, and months and months of seeing a negative pregnancy test, NOTHING, and I mean nothing, compared to the sinking feeling of helplessness when I learned that I was in fact pregnant, but wouldn’t stay that way.
I’ll never forget the moment I saw my first positive pregnancy test. I could not believe it was real life. I hid in the bathroom in case I was losing my mind, assuming that my symptoms were just anxiety or wishful thinking. But when that big fat positive showed up right away, I fell to the floor on my knees and cried as hard as I’ve ever cried. I was shaking when I went and told my husband. He didn’t believe me either, even though we both saw the plus sign right in front of us.
I could see every dream of a daughter or son and visions of who they’d be in the next several days. I was literally on cloud nine. Nothing that anyone could have said would have brought me down. Until it did. I went to the doctor for some bloodwork, and they called me back telling me that “things didn’t look good”. I was in disbelief. All of my symptoms were real because I had a growing baby inside of me, so how could this be? Sadly, the baby stopped growing, and I “lost the pregnancy” soon after.
Lost. Like I’d misplaced something.
A loss, no matter how early, affects you so deeply, so painfully. It’s the dream of what could have been, just being tossed away. How can you just be expected to “move on and try again”? Of course, I knew we would, eventually. But when would the pain of what just happened subside?
To be honest, it has subsided, years later. I have two beautiful and amazing children now, and I know that I have been blessed beyond measure. But the thought of the babies that never made it- who they were or who they could have been will always be with me.
Throughout our journey, my husband and I encountered several losses. I don’t say that because I want a pity party – absolutely not. The point is that it’s unfortunately incredibly common. It’s so very taxing on a person in so many ways. While I was grieving, trying to hide my pain, people would ask us, “when are you guys going to have a baby?” I would try and force a half smile and carry on like that wasn’t gut-wrenching. But it was, every time.
Friends, if you are going through a loss, community is so important. I felt super alone (except for my husband who of course knew exactly how I felt). Finding an online group helped me SO much. As a matter of fact, I ended up becoming great friends with someone that I befriended in a support group chat. Sharing my story with others is what helped me cope and get closure, and then feel ready to move on. We take the pain of the loss with us always; that will never change. But taking that pain and transforming it into something else – a point of view, a mountain of hope… that’s the hard part, but where there is beauty from the ashes.
Another thing that helped me SO much in dark times was this amazing book called Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples by Susan Radulovacki. It’s a Christian-based book that helped me truly find meaning and understanding when I was in my darkest moments and wondering, “why me? why does this keep happening to me?” Defintiely worth the read.
All of my losses were from 9 weeks pregnant and earlier. They were incredibly hard, nonetheless. One of my best friends was pregnant with her second son a few years ago, and he was stillborn. While it absolutely turned their world upside down, you can read their story right here – an unbelievable perspective about finding beauty in the ashes. Someone anonymously paid for their son’s funeral expenses. She and her husband now run a non-profit called Raising B.L.U.E. that helps pay it forward and take care of bereaved families in the same situation. I promise that if you read their story that it will change your perspective.
One thing I know for sure after enduring all the pain: I am more grateful now. For everything. Do you know what a “rainbow baby” is? It’s a baby born after a loss. The rainbow after the storm. Both of my babies are rainbow babies. I will embrace every moment of being their mom forever. I know I am luckier than many who don’t get to share that joy. But I will always remember my angel babies. I carried them every second of their short lives, but I will love them every single second of mine.
Break the silence. Every story matters. Your baby mattered. I’ll be lighting a candle for the wave of light October 15th at 7pm for you and for me.
“There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.”