Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. This day takes on a whole new meaning from last year, as we have endured this difficult loss. What does this day mean to me now?
Miscarriage occurs in 25% of pregnancies, some miscarriages happen before women really know they’re pregnant (and some are identified at your 16 week gender ultrasound appointment.) I knew this statistic, but unfortunately felt (as many women do) safe after I passed my 12th week of pregnancy. I have comfort knowing there is probably nothing I could have done differently, having put myself on a healthy diet and exercise plan specifically for pregnancy. The difficult part comes after the initial shock and grief, by way of:
Facebook ads that still pop up asking “what are you going to dress your bump up as this Halloween?”
Forgotten phone reminders, alerting you of [what would have been] your 30 week ultrasound appt
The baby blanket, hanging in the would-be nursery, that you bought at 15 weeks for a baby that will never need it
An accidental message from a friend asking how your pregnancy is going
The near constant sightings or conversations with other pregnant women, who have no idea what you went through and the difficulty of either telling them (and making things awkward) or not saying anything and finding yourself struggling deep in a conversation about baby names. (Maybe we should all wear pins that identify us to prevent this kind of thing!)
The new neighbors who have a vibrant 2 year old and a newborn due around when your baby would have been due
There is no escaping the reminder of new life… it’s everywhere and it is a blessing to those who have it. I remember telling people I was thankful for every moment of my 16 week pregnancy. From the millions of tests I took at the beginning, praying they wouldn’t fade or go away, to the 4 weeks of morning sickness I experienced and thought I wouldn’t survive… I’d do it all again in a heartbeat because I loved the feeling of responsibility for this child… I was a mother in those moments, taking care of my baby as best I could. I can’t imagine how incredible it will be to do that for 40 weeks (God willing) and to bring that child home in my arms at the end. In fact, I’ve resigned myself to enjoy every second of my subsequent pregnancies, even in the difficult times. And to remind those around me that I will know what a blessing stretch marks are- they are sign that my body has carried a baby in it, and the tiredness I feel as a mom to a newborn will be mixed with endless joy because I prayed for that child to grow healthy inside of me for 9 months. I will understand the beauty in it all, maybe more fully, because I know what it’s like NOT to have that.
For those of you who have been through miscarriage and suffered silently, I’m praying for you. I hope my vocalization of our grief and growth helps you in some way and that you find I am a partner in your loss as well. We are a family, us women of loss.
Michael and I are praying for our rainbow baby, but today we’re remembering our angel baby. Gone but never forgotten, in our lives for 16 weeks, but living on in our hearts for as long as we live.
“Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9:16