Do they think we forget about death?
I know these advocacy months are not for the people like me. Those who’ve lost have a very hard time forgetting. And now, it’s October. “Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness” month. I have too many thoughts and not enough words. October is already a rough month – skeletons, the glorification of the spooky and macabre. I often wonder how those recovering from trauma and violence handle the visual aspects of this month long season of scares. Some of the movies, storylines on shows, even the costumes are too jarring for a woman already dealing with heightened anxiety.
I lost a pregnancy. It’s how we started 2020. We’ve had years of infertility before our surprise little girl. And 6 years later, this pregnancy was just as big a shock.
Barely a week after learning of our miracle, it slowly came to an end.
Devastated doesn’t cover it. Shocked? Offended. Nothing quite fits and even with all the words I have, I still think something is missing.
These are the days vulnerability feels just a hair out of reach. And the last thing I want is to have constant reminders of the pain my family endures through this loss.
A moment of vulnerability in the last few weeks led to remembering: September almost became a birthday month in our family. I remember thinking in my head how fun it would be to have all of our birthdays about three months apart. Party once a quarter!
Instead, I mourn.
There aren’t many more words I can say right now. I miss what our lives would have been. Daydreaming is painful. Hearing our daughter ask for a sibling is doubly so.
But this all comes around to teach us something. As a culture, as people: We often overlook those in our lives unless we are reminded by an external force. It’s easy to become engulfed in our own stories, and forget the details of those around us.
Our anxiety about saying the wrong thing can be intense – debilitating. And yet, if you have a chance to open up and share, or hear from another about their loss, let them speak. Don’t want for the calendar to dictate how you engage with another in their loss story.
Losing a child, earth side or otherwise, is something we will never forget. We will still have days that we feel too weighed down to lift our heads; other times, we will share photos or memories and flood the world with laughter. Both things can be true – the pain does not negate the joy.
Awareness months are abundant. Let your love and attention be even more so before the greeting card companies call you into it. Nothing extravagant necessary, because it’s the little things that mean so much – like remembering parts of my story without needing to be reminded.
May your life create space for others to fall apart.