I have two children. My beautiful little girl that is so full of life and excitement, and the baby I never got to meet. Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I struggled all day with the decision to post something. We lost our baby in 2011. Many people that know me now, and many that read this blog, have no idea that we ever suffered such a loss. I documented that journey in another blog and when I started this one I wanted it to have a different tone. Besides, isn’t it counterproductive to open old wounds? But the thing is, the wounds are never really healed. And the fact that it’s still something that no one wants to talk about, is exactly why I felt I had to.
Losing a child is unbearable, no matter how old it was or how it happened. No one should feel that pain alone. Yet so many women do. As many as 15 percent of confirmed pregnancies are lost, but somehow women still feel like they need to hide. There’s a sense of shame and failure in miscarriage. And there’s this ridiculous thought that because you never got to hold the baby that it shouldn’t really matter, but it does. The baby matters. The pain matters.
When I got pregnant the second time, I hesitated to tell anyone. I didn’t even want to know myself. Then I remembered the strength I received from all the people that prayed for us when we lost the first one, and I knew that I needed that to get me through. My pregnancy with Reagan was an anxious one. I never truly settled until I held her in my arms. And if I’m truly honest, it is a very big reason why I don’t think I want to have another child. I’m not sure I could survive another loss. I’m just being real here.
When I lost “the bean” I was very open about it. I was humbled and in awe of the people that reached out to me to share their stories; the friends that contacted me because someone they love had a miscarriage and they didn’t know what to say, the other mothers that had been quietly suffering alone, the fathers that wanted people to know they felt the pain too. There’s something really magical about people bonding together. When we build each other up, we really can survive anything.
In the book Heaven is Real the little boy that has supposedly been to Heaven tells his mother about the sister he met there. His parents had never told him they had lost a child before he was born. When she asked what her name was the boy replied that she didn’t have one because she was waiting on their mother to get to Heaven and give her one. I hold that image in my heart when the sadness creeps back in- as it sometimes does. It creeps in on long car rides and rainy days, when I see someone’s ultrasound or hear a newborn cry, every July when the would-be due date rolls around. I imagine that twenty years from now I will still feel it. I also imagine that one day, many years from now, when I get to Heaven my little one will be waiting there for me, with open arms ready to whisper “Mama” in my ear.
If someone you know is struggling with the pain of miscarriage, reach out to them. If you are struggling yourself please visit Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. A wonderful site where you can share your story and connect to a community of women that draw strength from one another.