This month is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. It’s seems timely then, that our own little one has been reverberating through my heart lately, so here I find myself: writing to find some solace from the memories and the questions that have been flooding me in the quiet moments before I fall asleep, in the drives to and from pick up lines, while I scrub dishes mindlessly around the clock. I don’t always think about our baby, I don’t think about our loss every day.
I feel like a lesser matron by admitting that, but in the bustle and busy of our life with our little ones that are here with us, I don’t always think about the one that isn’t. But from time to time our baby comes to mind, especially when people ask how many kids we have, or pregnancy questions, or trips to a new doctor where I have to list how many pregnancies I’ve had. Worst of all, my dear babe comes to mind when a loved one is forced into this circle of sorrow through her own loss.
When I do think about our baby it fills my whole heart. Those memories are still so vivid and the loss is still there, always.
But there is this weird guilt, like I’ve surpassed my expiration date somehow and now I have to just move on and never look back.
We mother’s need to look back. No--not look back--we carry them in our hearts and it isn’t looking back. They were made from us, and we will always belong to each other.
So I’m going to talk about those things now. And read if you want to, join me or don’t. It’s ok, really, but this is still part of our journey, part of our story that made us who we are, so take it or leave it--here’s a part of it.
Did you know that my husband was my biggest hero? He took me out of town to the nearest Chipotle for dinner (then an hour away) the night when we were told we’d “just have to wait and see.” He knew that just leaving was what I needed, just a retreat for a few hours. A week later, when we found out that we lost our baby we were supposed to go to a birthday celebration, instead he stopped for milkshakes and let me stare out the window and repeat the phrase “I really didn’t want this to happen” over and over. And when the phone calls had to be made, he placed every single call. I couldn’t bear to break the news to anyone. Not anyone. We had just told our parents in this cute little way over skype that we would be bringing our second baby with us the next Christmas when we visited.
They never ever would have in a million years even been capable of being disappointed in me for “miscarrying” (which is awful terminology isn’t it?), but I couldn’t get past my own disappointment. So I asked my sweet husband to break the news... to everyone. He told my best friend, he told my mom, he told our families, he told the staff members of our church who knew we were pregnant. He repeated bad news over and over and fielded everyone’s sadness and condolences.
It was weeks before I had to fumble through my own explanation to anyone. Because that man, my man, protected me so dearly, he knew I needed sanctuary to grieve and move through things on my own. He assured everyone that I’d come around, but I just needed some space.
You know I’ve been thinking, how do you explain to anyone the way it hurts and why? How can this little person that you’ve never seen and never felt, and only even known about for a matter of days, or weeks, or months, make you feel so much loss, so much heartbreak? Why is it so sad? I’ve been trying to put it to words because it’s not just your hopes and dreams that died, it’s this person.
Imagine finding out that there is a person living and this person was made from parts of you and the person that you love, admire, and connect to most. That there is a living being in existence that came out of the love that you believed in and waited for your whole life. And there it is, a life, a real true person. Will she scrunch her nose the same way I do when I laugh? Will he sing like his dad? Will her second toe be longer than her first the same as you both have? Will they look like my baby pictures or his?
And when they die, an actual part of you has died and an actual part of the man you adore is gone too.
And time passes and God builds your family in ways that only he has planned. But sometimes your arms still feel just a tiny bit empty wondering what it would have been like if they had been there too. Sometimes for no reason at all you ache to know, did we lose a son or a daughter?
And it hurts as much as the day you first knew it was over.
Thanks for letting me remember here, where it’s safe. I’m praying that whether it’s loss or infertility or pain of some other sort, that you have a safe place to remember when you need to.