Fall, leaves changing, cooler temps, football, Halloween; and a few very important awareness ’causes.’ Everyone knows about Breast Cancer Awareness, but did you know there are 96 other ‘national’ months?! (according to National Day Calendar, yes I counted)
One of those 96 is very near and dear to my heart. October is also National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Here’s the thing, it’s taboo to talk about any sort of death. Loss of this kind can be a silent death – not like when an elder or a peer dies, many times couples hadn’t even shared the news that they were expecting a baby. The statistic of 1 in 4 women has got to be higher… right?… 1 in 3 maybe. Pregnancy loss is not selective, recently Chrissy Teigan announced that she and hubby John Legend experienced the loss of their third child. It’s difficult, losing a baby at any stage.
When my husband and I went through the agony of loss the first time (more than a decade ago!) I wrote a short letter to our child on what should have been her due date. It’s a little scary sharing this with people I’ve never met. But, I know that I am not alone in my loss or how I felt, and if this can help one more momma cope with her loss, it was worth it.
While I did experience another loss after the one this letter was to, I do have two wonderful (talk to me on a good day), children that were born after this time period. The term Rainbow baby is used for those children born after a loss, and they truly are the promise and the light after the storm.
Dearest Little One
Jan 27, 2009
Dear Sweet Baby
Today was supposed to be your due date. I didn’t ever make it to either of your big sisters’ due dates, so I am sure that you would have been here by now, but today was officially when you were due. Mommy misses you! Your sisters and Daddy do too! We miss not getting to know who you were and what you looked like. We miss the things that come with a new baby, first foods, and first smiles and first steps. I wonder if you would look like your oldest sister (and your mommy) or if you would like your next older sister (and Daddy) or if you would have looked like a blend.
I know that you are safe in Jesus’ arms, and that’s the best place to be… I do hope that He has let your great-grandma hold you and that she has told you wonderful stories of your Daddy.
I hope that someday you will have a little brother or sister that we can tell about you. Your big sisters know that you were such a special baby, and they are both good big sisters and ask about you often. You have taken a piece of Mommy’s heart, and I won’t ever forget you.
I am sad that we had to say goodbye to you so early. God has a plan though, and He knows what’s best, so Mommy is trusting Him in that.
Mommy loves and misses you, baby
A few afterthoughts
…Read this article: An open Letter to me going through a Miscarriage
…If you’ve been through it, I feel your pain. If you haven’t, count yourself blessed. If you are going through it, find someone’s shoulder to cry on!
…Accept help! It may be hard to ask, but if someone offers a meal or to wash your dishes or do your laundry – let them!
…Keep a box of “your baby.” Our hospital gave us a Polaroid of our girl, and I have a few other odds and ends in a box (the recording of her memorial service, a handkerchief I was given, a few other things) that I can get out every so often to feel like there is something tangible to remember her by.
…Find things to remember your baby with. All it takes is a little internet search to find people who will make mementos for you. It’s part of the grieving/ healing process. Our babies are remembered through their names written in sand and pictures taken at sunset (a beautiful soul from Australia does them, though currently, she is on pause due to COVID – her website is http://theseashoreofremembrance.blogspot.com/2011/05/purchase-seashore-dedication.html )