I hope -- pray and wish and yearn -- that you don’t know what today is, because if you do, my heart breaks with and for you. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, one of those holidays where “happy” doesn’t work as a well-wishing for the day. A "wave of light" will happen tonight when parents of loss light a candle at 7PM in all time zones as we remember those babies that were ours for far too short a time.
There has been some confusion in the past: Is it a day of remembrance or is it supposed to create awareness? Some don’t like it. Some do. Some poke at others who feel the opposite way of how they feel. It’s a day that can open up wounds and leave some hurting.
But that’s not what we’re doing here this year.
Last weekend, I attended Women of Faith in Pittsburgh and was moved when I heard Angie Smith, part of our BlogHer Network, tell Audrey’s story. If you don’t know Audrey’s story, I encourage you to read the letter Angie wrote shortly after Audrey's birth and passing (or just read through the Audrey category), though please be warned that you will need tissues. In short, they knew before she was born that they would only have a very short time with her because of her medical complications.
While the story was so touching and hit those places in my heart that I keep locked and hidden, the words she spoke after sharing her story made the tears finally fall. She began to speak to any woman in the room who had lost a child, whether during pregnancy, after birth or even later in life. Her words are important to share today, any day: Your child had weight in this world, no matter how small your baby actually was.
Her words were salve for a wound that I thought had healed. My husband and I lost our baby Rose very early in a pregnancy that was not planned. People said some very strong things about how we shouldn't be sad: it was so early, we hadn't intended on the pregnancy, others had it worse than we did, suck it up, get over it. And so I did. My feelings of grief would bubble to the surface every now and then, but I would shove them aside. Being told that my baby had weight in this world, that my baby meant something, was something I needed to hear.
Maybe you need to hear it too. So let me say it.
Your child meant something.
So often, mothers who have lost pregnancies, infants or older children are left feeling like the world is waiting and watching for them to “get over it” and “move on with their lives.” We become well-versed in shutting up and putting a smile on our face, stuffing that grief in the back of our minds and hearts. Some of that comes from ourselves as well; sometimes it just hurts too much to grieve openly.
Whatever your story, whatever your experience, I want you to know that your story matters. It doesn’t matter if it was an early miscarriage -- like mine -- or if it was a stillbirth or SIDS or any of the technical things and titles that we, as humans, like to put on these situations to measure who should or could or can grieve harder, more and longer. Today, I want you to know that your story is your story and we stand with you, not to judge who has it “worst” but as the sisters that we never wanted to be.
If you have blogged about your story, today’s Remembrance Day or anything of that nature, please feel free to leave your link in the comments. If you haven’t blogged -- because you just can’t right now, I encourage you to leave a comment saying whatever it is you need to say. You can tell us your child’s name, a date that means something or just, so simply, “I remember.” We remember with you.
Today I remember Rose. Will you remember with me?
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