My first baby died. My second baby died. My third baby was born and is now a healthy 7 year old. My fourth baby died. October 15th is pregnancy and infant loss memorial day. In fact, October is becoming the month to remember children gone too soon. I'll never forget finding out Ty's birthday was the day to remember children gone to soon. It was like an extra hard punch in the gut. I was envious for years because he didn't get his own day to be remembered. He was grouped together with all the children. Jacob had his own day. Baby unknown had their own day but Ty didn't get his own. His name melted in with the others being remembered.. October is a month of remembering.
Following up on my last post about ending traditions that are too exhausting for me (and maybe even yourself) defining celebrating and remembering is a transformation I had to go through myself. While continuing the tradition of celebrating my children gone too soon became too much for me, remembering them happens almost daily. I'm at a point on my grief journey that my boys aren't on my mind everyday. When I do think of them, I'm not sent sideways into tears (though sometimes I am triggered and the tears do flow even all these years later) but the feeling of sadness has been replaced by the feeling of love and longing. Longing for a life I wish I had. How would like as a single mom of 3 look? Would I have had 3 kids?
The what if's seem to be more prevalent this time of year, perhaps it's the weather reminding me of the days I buried the boys which then tale spins into a lifetime of reminders. It's hard not to think of what would have happened had they lived. There is daily social media posts about pregnancy and infant loss and it always pokes my mind. The what if's have become fewer and far between because in all honesty, I cant picture life with Ty and Jacob anymore. It's been 10 years and 9 years since I held them and then buried them. I've lived life and now I just can't picture how that would look. My life now is my life now. It doesn't ease the heartache of their deaths, it's just a different phase. Add on all the negativity surrounding pregnancy and infant loss (I honestly don't even see how that is a thing but you know, people...) it's hard not to want to talk about it. I may have stopped the elaborate celebrations but remembering them and talking about them is and always will be a part of my journey.
There is still so much criticism surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. 10 years ago when I lost Ty, I was told to keep quiet, people don't want to hear about that. A year later when I lost Jacob, I was told the same thing. When I found out I was pregnant with Bee, I was "advised" by people who supposedly cared, not to share my pregnancy with her until she was here and healthy. Most people don't even know I lost another pregnancy after Bee was born because pregnancy and infant loss is such a taboo subject. If you've followed this blog for awhile, you know my life is one big taboo and I'm quite loud about it. Talking about my boys, talking about my losses even after all theses years is not a cry for sympathy. I don't need sympathy, what I need is for others to step up and share their stories. Scream them from the top of the mountain so no woman ever has to go through loss feeling like she is alone. We need to connect resources to these women. We need to surround them with love and light and show them that one day, in the midst of darkness, they will see a sliver of light again. As the years go on that sliver gets bigger, it never completely goes away because there is always the darkness of losing a baby, but the darkness shrinks and becomes manageable.
October is a month to write about where I am in my journey so others don't feel alone. I write so other's see how it is years after the loss of a child. In the first few days, weeks and months you feel like there is no possible way you can live again, laugh again or love again. Though I struggle because of my mental health challenges related to the boys death and other things, I am still finding my way and showing others they can too. It may seem impossible, I know I've been there. You will find your way too. Day by day, even hour by hour or minute by minute. Find that one thing a day that you can do for yourself no matter where you are, something that grounds you and soothes your soul. Let that be your guidance to get through each day. As your life goes on, it will become the new normal. Normal is such an overrated word but in the sense of society, your new normal will look very different. You can never go back to who you were, it is impossible. Losing a child forever changes you. Accepting that you have been changed softens the blow a bit. I know it's hard though.
I don't like to sugar coat things because that doesn't help anyone. I want others to know that what they feel is normal, it's what the rest of us feel. The emotional mess of an exhausting rollercoaster that is child loss does not need to be sugar coated. It needs to be talked about in reality. The reality is, it's the hardest, most gut-wrenching. painful, soul destroying thing you will go through. That's it. There is no but. Days, weeks, months, first holidays, they all suck and they are hard. The what if's are constant, maybe you even still have phantom kicks. I'm not going to tell you to look for the positive because there is no positive when your child dies. Sure, maybe you become more aware of the things you are grateful for, learn some lessons, but there is no positivity when a child dies. None. When you leave that hospital empty handed or miscarry at home by yourself in a bathroom, there is no positivity. There are new ways to look at and live life but those aren't immediate, they come with time.
Time is what I know. time is what I write about. I try to write from a hopeful outlook. I try to write to show resilience but please remember, I am 10 years in with extensive counseling and multiple forms of therapy, as well as stints with medication and some huge, major life changes. I don't write to make you think positively, I write so that you may see how life looks years later. How October 14th, 2010 and May 2nd, 2011 changes my life forever. Those days were the days I found out my boys would not be coming home. Life looks different for me now than it did in the past. I learned a lot and I'm thankful to have a different view of life but I wish it came to me in a not so harsh, traumatic way. .
Give yourself the time and space you need this October. Whether you lost a child this year, last year or 10 years ago, what the world, what women need right now is for us to speak up about the reality of pregnancy and infant loss. Leave the sugar coating to the candy apples but by no means should you ever stop talking about it because other people tell you too. Share photos if you feel comfortable, say their names, connect with other loss moms and talk about the horrendous repercussions you now face because of loss.
October is our time, a time to come together to support each other and send love. It is our time to speak the names of our children, of all of them. It is our time to tell their stories. It is our time to remember and cherish what was taken too soon. It is our time to speak up about the lack of care loss moms receive. It is our time to make changes. It is our time to grieve together, world wide. Take moments this October for you and that precious hurting soul of yours. Pregnancy and infant loss is not easy, you are however, resilient for going through it. Not that you had a choice but it doesn't mean your resilience doesn't get to be recognized. Speak your children's names below.
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All Of My Children
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