We are everywhere, but sometimes unnoticed. We walk with silent footsteps, but leave behind deep and heavy footprints. We are the parents of the unborn, the sometimes unnamed, but the never forgotten. We carry the due date – the one that will never be a birthday – on our hearts. We know what it’s like to leave a hospital without a baby, carrying only the knowledge that the world is a crazy, cruel place sometimes. We cry, we grieve, we mourn. We move on.
And today we remember.
October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day – a day to remember the angels who have left us due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or SIDS. Those of us who have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss know that we don’t need a day to remember; we remember every single day, for our entire lives have been shaped by the loss (or losses). But today is a day to acknowledge the loss, along with our resilience and strength. It is a day to acknowledge and to remember. A day to spread awareness. A day to seek comfort. A day to hope and to heal.
We shed our tears alone. We rarely talked about it, except in hushed whispers under the cover of darkness. Few people asked, and we didn’t share. Because, really, how could I have explained that the doctors had cut a little piece of my soul out when they used their cold metal tools. We tried to minimize the pain, but its real impact simmered below the surface and bubbled up in odd and misplaced ways.
It was months before I could bring myself to hold my niece, who was born just days after our baby had been due. An elusive hopelessness settled in, along with an unpredictable bitterness and a resigned loss of faith, which manifested itself in misplaced and misdirected ways.
But while I was struggling desperately to move on, each time I passed that hibiscus plant, I paused—sometimes just for the briefest of moments, sometimes for several minutes—and reflected on the losses that lay in that floral tomb and a quiet, hopeful peace settled around me.
Today we raise our voices, acknowledge our pain and loss, and share a collective embrace. Today we honor the children that live in our hearts. Today – and everyday – we love, we heal, we hope.
Author’s Note: I have written about my own experiences with miscarriage in several posts, including here, here and here, but everyone’s experience is different. Everyone mourns differently, everyone heals differently. Often times people – including me – wonder what to say or do when someone they know has suffered a miscarriage. We worry that we will say or do the wrong thing. But never underestimate the healing power of your ears to listen, your eyes to see the pain, your arms to hug, your shoulder to catch tears, and your heart to love. Those things are always enough; they are never wrong.