Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss Matter Too

A friend of mine shared a blog post on Facebook a few hours ago.  I was so moved by it, I had to share this with you as well.  The words of Rachel Lewis explains how society perceives the difference between abortion and miscarriage/stillbirth and infant loss.  However, to all us parents that have lost a child, we are all grieving in the same way and in the same depth regardless of how we lost that child(ren).  It’s so refreshing to find other people’s words comforting and 100% relate, especially on a day when I feel that 0% relate.

Please, take the time to read, this post by The Lewis Note:

Why Miscarriage Matters when you’re Pro-Life.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Memories are Never Forgotten

It’s been almost 3 years since Rachel came and left us.  We never had a memorial service for her.  ImageAt the time, we didn’t think it was worth it.  No one knew her, she only lived 2 days. I just couldn’t picture a memorial service like one that everyone knows.  One where there are songs, people speaking about their memories of the lost person.  What was there for us to speak about?  She was in an incubator for 2 days; I held her for the first time to comfort her as her heart slowly stopped beating.  There was no first smile, no first word, no learning how to ride a bike, school graduations, or adventures around the world.  So really, what would have taken place at her memorial service?

Each year, during the month of October, the hospital I gave birth to Rachel at holds a pregnancy and infant loss memorial service.  October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  I had received a brochure each hear to attend the ceremony, but never did.  We always had something going on.  This year, as I found the invitation in my mailbox, I dropped it on the desk in front of my husband and firmly told him, “I’m going this year, no matter what.”

“Okay.” he replied.

I invited a friend who recently had a stillbirth to join me.  We traveled together to the memorial service where we met up with two other women from my support group.  There was music (violin music which we quickly realized that although fitting for the occasion, was not helpful in holding back anxiety and tears), a speaker who shared her story of her loss;  a time of name calling where our children’s names were called and us, the parents, got to light a candle for them. We then proceeded to the memorial garden where we laid flowers and dedicated new memorial bricks.

The woman that shared her story was Ivy.  She led my support group at the hospital.  Ivy lost her first born child to what was diagnosed as a cord accident.  She shared her experience with her pregnancy and how it abruptly and tragically ended at 37 weeks.  She shared her pain, hurt, and grief process with us.  Although it’s been 16 years ago, Ivy’s emotions were still raw as she shared about her daughter.

That speech, that is something that would have been shared at Rachel’s memorial service.  The story of the 6 months I spent with her, in my belly, and the 2 days on the outside.  Do I have regrets about not having a service for Rachel?  Sometimes.  But I know I can’t change the past and the fact that I have a memory of her and a yearly memorial service to go to for her and other babies is what helps me going some days.

Maybe one day I will be sharing my story with others in the way that Ivy shared hers with us.  If I do, I hope that Rachel will be there holding my hand through it all.

Cards…

You just can’t find the perfect saying sometimes. I have a few baby showers to attend coming up. As a baby-loss mom, this is a hard celebration to attend. Everyone is so joyful of the baby that will soon arrive. The women ooo and aww over the baby gadgets and clothes the new parents are provided with. Talk about the newborn days and advice from current moms is always present. Many common words that are riddled with the expectation that the baby will arrive and parents will be holding their bundle of joy in a short time. While most of the time, that happens, sometimes it doesn’t turn out that way.

I always thought baby showers were great. A fun celebration of the baby’s soon birth. After Rachel passed, my feelings changed. I hated baby showers. I hated the bliss, the ignorance of people’s joy. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for the mother to be. A baby is a blessing. A true blessing. It’s just that I have a cautious happiness for them. Even the easy, healthy pregnancies can turn out tragic.

I was thankful to not have received an invitation to a shower until just over 2 years after Rachel died. It was a relatively new friend who I did feel I was becoming close with. We have a lot in common. I struggled with the decision to attend her shower or not. After a lot of thought, I chose to go. I sat there, trying to have a smile on my face that said the same as everyone else’s smiles: happiness, excitement, joys and giddiness. There were some games to do at our leisure. The food was amazing! Then, it was time to open the gifts. I dreaded this part. I actually planned on leaving because I didn’t know if I could bear it or not. I ended up staying only because a bunch of people left at that time. It was so hard to see her open each gift, people share their excitement and approval of the item, pass it around for all to inspect and see. My thought with each gift: how nice it will be for her to use this….if the baby doesn’t die. A harsh, cold thought, I know. But if you’ve ever experienced what I have, you would understand and be thinking the same thing.
I got her a good gift. It was a nose frida. A snot sucker that actually works really well. Her sister in law painted a small child’s chair. I’ll never forget that gift. The look on the mom’s eyes when she opened it. I almost burst into tears when I saw it. Something so sentimental….so….perfect. I pictured her son sitting in that chair, coloring at a small table, making art for his mommy and daddy…..my friend lost the baby. A perfectly healthy baby boy, lost his life before he took a breath. When I heard the news I spent the day crying for them. And I pictured that chair. What was going to happen to that chair. I still think about it a lot. Where it is. I picture it in pristine condition, sitting empty in an empty room, waiting for it to be filled by a tiny person, a child for that family. I do hope that they will be blessed with a rainbow child just like Ping and I have. They truly deserve it.

Yes, a card for a baby shower….words of ignorance. I was able to find one that somewhat pointed in a neutral direction. Now, for a gift…..if it’s one thing I learned, its not something from the registry. I won’t reveal it incase the mom and dad -to-be are reading this. All I will hint at is that it is something that they will be able to use whatever the outcome of the pregnancy. And with that, I’m happy to give to her.

*in memory of Rachel, E.L., and all angel babies in our lives.