A person’s a person, no matter how small.
(from Horton Hears A Who by Dr. Seuss)
Yesterday was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. My MOPS group got together last night to remember babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, and SIDS. We lit candles for our babies, hugged, cried, sang. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. I feel like, especially in the case of miscarriage or abortion, society doesn’t give the parents much room to grieve. There is the feeling that, since you didn’t really know this little person, it shouldn’t be all that painful. I think what people who have never experienced it don’t understand is that, when you lose a baby, you not only lose the person but all the hopes and dreams you had for that baby’s future. You look into your future and you think about the milestones you looked forward to that you now don’t get to celebrate. There can also be a tremendous amount of confusion and guilt associated with any of the above-mentioned losses. You wonder if you did something wrong, ate something wrong, passed on a bad gene, took too hot of a bath, made the wrong choice. That sort of guilt heaped on top of pain and then dealt with in such a secret way (because it’s not that acceptable to publicly grieve many of these events) can take a long time for a person to sort out. It can take a while to heal. So, I was really proud of our group for getting together a simple time to just give people room to feel what they feel, to acknowledge their losses and to offer support. I felt like it was really important.
Maybe you will read this and wonder why I am posting about it here. Maybe it makes no sense to you at all. I’m posting it because, if you are one of those people who grieves in a secret place, I really want you to know that you’re not alone. It’s been five years since our miscarriage but I have not forgotten what that felt like, the shock of it, the embarrassment, the questions, and then the time when I realized everyone expected me to have moved on whether I was really ready to or not. You are not alone. I read yesterday that one in four women have experienced a pregnancy or early infant loss. And, if you are a person who has not experienced this, I want you to see it from the point of view of someone who has. I want you to know that every year on Mother’s Day, there are women crying in the bathrooms of their churches because they are heartbroken. Maybe, in knowing that, you could find a way to offer some support. You have no idea how much it helps when someone just gives a parent permission to grieve a short life.
Thanks for listening.