In September, my husband and I were blessed with our fifth baby! It seems surreal. What most people don’t know, is that our precious boy is really our 9th child. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and the ache hits close to home as I hold my newborn. I haven’t forgotten, nor will I ever forget, the babes that I did not get to hold this side of heaven.
I love that a month is dedicated to remembering and memorializing such babies. But, I have to admit something. I admire this trend of awareness from afar. I have never participated in or publicly shared my losses. I’m not sure exactly where my secrecy of this loss stems from. As the years go by, I mull through the grief process ever so slowly. I do share my story with women when I know that they too have walked the walk of miscarriage. Otherwise, I generally am silent. I know many women are in the same boat…we’ve almost allowed the subject to be taboo. Thanks to social media, many brave women have stepped forward to share their stories. For me personally, hearing from other women helped me tremendously. I am not alone. You are not alone.
I don’t’ know if it’s the prefix ‘mis’ that immediately rubbed my sensitive heart the wrong way. You ‘mis’place items. You ‘mis’manage your time. You make ‘mis’takes. All of these things place you at fault for something you did not do correctly. When I thought about my miscarriages, I immediately felt like I failed my babies. My body couldn’t carry them the right way. Now my brain knew this wasn’t exactly how it worked, but my heart said otherwise. I felt ashamed to talk about my MIScarriages.
All four of my miscarriages happened to coincide with the pregnancy announcements or births of friends’ and families’ babies. I felt overcome with grief and completely lost. In the midst of other peoples’ joy I put on a happy face and closed myself off to the pain. This was no one’s fault but my own. I know many people would have offered love and support. I just could NOT bring myself to talk about it. I couldn’t bring myself to talk about what I considered my greatest failures.
Our oldest is twelve. Our second child is six. It is glaringly obvious that something was going on during those six years that wasn’t right. It was about four years of living my life in 28 days cycles. I would feel hope and then grief. Every month was a reminder….my heart was broken. I was too embarrassed to talk about it. I felt so alone and terrified that if I did get two pink lines, I’d lose another life again. Fortunately, after some major changes with the help of a chiropractor, I was able to get and stay pregnant (a story for another time). I am forever grateful. I know that this is not the case for all women and my heart breaks for those strong mamas… many, many, more women have gone through much greater loss than I have.
Now that I have 5 children, I know how blessed I am and never take it for granted. The babies we lost were not simply ‘replaced’ though. I know they were here and I will never forget them. As I start to talk about my miscarriages more, I feel connected to other women. I hope to open the conversation up for us all to talk more openly about this sensitive subject. I want no woman to feel alone or blame herself…like I did for so long (and still sometimes do).
Whether you’ve experienced loss personally or not, we can all support one another. What’s your story? How have you handled your loss or how have you helped another woman with her loss? Ladies, let’s just remember, we’re all in this together.