On Loss and Remembrance

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and today I send love to all of my family, friends and readers that have lost a pregnancy or baby.

One in four woman will lose a baby in their life. 25% of women. So many more than you may ever know.

It’s a sad and often silent sisterhood.

I didn’t learn how much miscarriage and child loss affected those around me until I became the 1 in 4.

When I became pregnant in 2011, while Michael and I were working desperately on keeping our marriage together, I was elated. Sure, everyone always tells you that a baby can’t fix what’s broken. But we were already on the mend. Our pregnancy was something to bind us even closer together.

But just as swiftly as I found out I was pregnant, I began to spot, and then cramp, and after several devastating hours in the emergency room it was clear that I had lost my baby.

It was hard. So very hard. But like all hard things, I wrote about it, and the outpouring of stories, love, compassion and support I received was remarkable. You can read my thoughts and the kindness I received HERE.

I have lost my father, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, beloved cousins. Attended countless funerals, memorials and wakes.

But losing my baby was something so intimate and personal and internal for me. No memorial service. No coffin. Largely just me and my sadness.

I know so many brave women that have named their Angels. That honor them with tattoos or trees or statues.

But I haven’t.

Not because I don’t long for and miss who my baby could have been. But because I am not strong enough to give my baby a name. To memorialize. To constantly remember.

It hurts in such an abstract and hard way. It’s like I can’t touch the grief. It’s there. Right under the surface, a nagging sadness in the corner of my heart. But I can’t cry it out. I can’t grieve it away. It aches but I’m used to it.

And then there’s the guilt. Guilty for longing for a baby that was lost when just months later I was graced with my perfect and healthy Isora. Perhaps guilt is irrational in this circumstance. But it’s there. I can’t help it.

So many friends have suffered losses in the past couple years. Mamas who gave me the excited news about being pregnant only to call to tell me something went wrong. Friends who lost a baby and feel that was their one and only chance to be a mother. Women that have suffered multiple miscarriages only to finally be blessed with a rainbow baby. And one incredible mother who has lost three dear sons, in such a short amount of time, whose courage and strength are inspiring to thousands of us.

My heart and soul goes out to each and every one of them. My tears pour out onto my keyboard for them. Whether they suffer in silence, or welcome people into their journey, they are, each and every one a hero. Heroes that are capable of making life and surviving beyond the life they have created though it pains them to do so.

I know that the ache in my heart is part of motherhood. Part of life, really. And while I would love to be holding my baby, instead I choose to accept that this baby was lost so that Isora could be born.

So I light my candle today…for Dani, Jen, Leslie, Kaitlyn, Stephanie and of course my dear Diana and the hundreds of others.

May each of you find peace and comfort from the grief. And may your Rainbows light the way.

 

Light a Candle Today

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. But I think I’d rather call it Remembrance Day.

Last year, on May 14th, Michael and I lost our baby. When I was finally able to put words to the page I wrote about it HERE.

To say we were devastated is an understatement.

We had been trying to hard to rebuild our marriage and trust. Trying to keep it together and get along. And when I was late and took the test it was like a ray of light shined down on us and told us that it wasn’t all in vain. That our family was worth fighting for.

And then just as quickly as we were blessed with this growing child, she was taken away from us.

I kept thinking that it wasn’t really happening. I kept trying to reassure myself that some ladies spot all throughout their pregnancies and never lose their child.

But I knew. I knew in my heart that we weren’t ready and that the universe had a different plan for us. I knew the second we went to the hospital that she was gone.

And though we lost that baby, and our home just a week later, it was as if the tragedy of loss was the glue holding us back together.

Michael and I needed each other and held onto each other just a bit tighter.

We spent the next couple of months living with my loving inlaws, John and Hilda, getting smothered by love and good food and joy.

And by July, just like our lovely midwife Clarice discouraged but predicted anyways, we were pregnant again.

Thankfully our Isora came into this world happy and healthy on St. Patrick’s Day. Like my pregnancy with Cedella, there was no issue, other than the regular pregnancy complaints. Everything went perfectly.

While we are so incredibly thankful for our sweet Izzie Boo, nothing will ever fill the hole left by our Angel.

What really strikes me about grieving this small tiny baby was how abstract the whole idea of her is. We will never know if it would have been a boy or a girl (though I’m used to the pronoun so I use ‘she’ here). We will never know if she had Daddy’s eyes or Mommy’s hands. We will never know if she liked singing or hated her carseat.

But we do know this. She was loved and will always be loved. Though she was scarcely but a burgeoning idea in our minds she was our child.

Sadly, when I wrote about losing her, many many friends and family members came forward to share their stories and losses. And while it was so incredibly powerful to fell such a blanket of sisterly love and connection, it was also so incredibly sad.

It’s sad to know that so many I love have lost children and yet rarely talk about it. Is it because we are not allowed to grieve these children if they don’t have names and faces? Is it easier to forget they ever existed? Or is it too painful, too hard, too heartbreaking to discuss their loss?

In my case I was pregnant again so soon that I felt I didn’t have the right to be sad for one child when I had already been blessed with another. And though maybe it doesn’t make sense to most, I needed to accept the loss of one child in order to embrace the coming of another.

That doesn’t mean I don’t long for that other child. Maybe I always will. But she died and Isora was born and I could not for one second imagine my world without my smiling second born.

My sweet friend Dani (mom to an angel named Jordan) sent this to me:

To the Child in my Heart.

O precious, tiny, sweet little one. You will always be to me so perfect, pure, and innocent. Just as you were meant to be. We dreamed of you and of your life and all that it would be. We waited and longed for you to come and join our family. We never had the chance to play, to laugh, to rock, to wiggle. We long to hold you, touch you now and listen to you giggle. I’ll always be your mother. He’ll always be your dad. You will always be our child, the child that we never had. But now you’re gone…but yet you’re here. We’ll sense you everywhere. You are our sorrow and our joy there’s love in every tear. Just know our love goes deep and strong. We’ll forget you never – The child we had, but never had, and yet will have forever.

Author Unknown

To Dani, Diana, Jen and Leslie and all of the Mamas out there that have lost a baby or babies, you are braver than you know and you are all my heroes.

Take a second today and light a candle for everyone who has suffered the loss of a pregnancy or infant. You may not know their story or their pain, but I know your thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

 

 

A Day for Remembrance






Today is a day that I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge and bring light to an issue facing so many of my friends that is rarely discussed.  In the age of instant information and constant Facebook and Twitter updates, I have been witnessed to so many happy mothers-to-be become devastated with the grief of miscarriage.  Several close friends in fact have suffered from this unbelievable loss within this past year alone.  


Millions of things had to go right for my sweet Cedella to be born.  Millions.  Life is so incredibly fragile and precious that without those millions of things going exactly right, we wouldn’t have Cedella to hold and kiss.  But to think of going through the simultaneous elation and trepidation of finding out your pregnant.  Mentally and physically preparing to welcome a new life into the world.  Talking and planning how this new little person will be cared for, and how they will change your world.  Only to have one in a million things go wrong.  Only to find out that the little seed of life you have been carrying is gone.  


On the day we left the hospital to take Cedella home we were waiting for the elevator with a nice looking guy who was absolutely beaming at us.  Michael had a matching grin and the two guys fell naturally into a conversation.  The guy congratulated Michael and told him what a beautiful family he had and what a beautiful little baby.  Michael congratulated him in return and asked where his wife and baby were.  The man leaned in very close to Michael and whispered to him “My wife is resting in her room, but my baby has gone to heaven”.  Michael took the man’s hand and said how sorry he was.  The man just responded “It was God’s will”.  I didn’t hear this part of the conversation.  I guess they didn’t want to upset the new mama with the fragile feelings.  We talked about that man all the way home.  How could he smile at us?  Why wasn’t he breaking down?  How could he be so at peace with losing his baby?  The conclusion we came to…he understood that his child was not for this world and that he’d see him in the next but that inside he was suffering as much as we both would have been. 


I had no idea that in the midst of my happiness there were so many others suffering quietly.  Maybe they were glancing at the thousands of pictures I posted on Facebook and were hurt that they would never have a chance to hold their own little fleeting angel.  Maybe they were hurt and angry that their god took their child before it even had a chance to live.  Maybe it was the second or third time they had lost a child.  Maybe they felt it was their last chance to be a mama.  


Yet we don’t talk about this loss in public.  It is hushed in conversations between girlfriends or between friends in private emails.  No one (including myself) knows what to say beyond “You’re in my thoughts and prayers”.  What if the women who had lost a child could tell us what they need.  What if they could feel free and open to admit and talk about their loss without making people uneasy or uncomfortable.  We need to treat miscarriages and stillbirths like exactly what they are…losses of life.  


So if there is someone you know that has suffered a loss this year, or ever, please take a moment to offer them your shoulder to cry on or your ear to listen to what they are going through.  There are many organizations to help those that are grieving, maybe finding a group is just what your friend or loved one needs to help get through the grieving process.  


If you’re in the Detroit area you can participate in a lovely event called the Metro Detroit SHARE walk for remembrance this Sunday October 3rd from 12noon to 4pm.  You can find more information about the SHARE walk by clicking on this link: SHARE Walk Event


Also, October 15th is officially recognized day for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  You can learn more about this day through the October 15th website.  Please light a candle or spare a moment of thought or prayer for those women who have gone through this devastating loss.  


To all my friends that have gone through the pain of losing a pregnancy or a child, please know that I love you and my thoughts and prayers are indeed with you.  I may not know just what to say, or just how you’re feeling, but you are stronger and more amazing, and impress me with the grace in which you continue to be good women, mothers, wives and friends.  And finally, thank you to Danielle for asking me to blog about SHARE and to talk about this ‘taboo’ subject.  Your an amazing woman Dani!!