How very quietly you tiptoed into our world, silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footprints have left upon our hearts. ~Dorothy Ferguson
Stephanie Daniel, here. I am honored to highlight this important topic today on the Thirsties blog.
October Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month
The month of October is dedicated to many important issues in our society, one that is tragically relevant in our parenting community is that of pregnancy and infant loss. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women will experience a loss at some stage of pregnancy, and many parents mourn children who have been born but left their arms too soon. Indeed, if you have experienced this type of loss, you are not alone.
Each family will walk a unique journey in how to cope and heal from their loss. And each may differ from the one before. Some families may choose to not disclose a pregnancy until a specific milestone is reached, keeping the circle of those who would again mourn with them small and intimate. Some will share a positive test immediately, widely reaching their circles of friends and family, knowing that if tragedy strikes, their grief will be shared with many. There is no right or wrong way of mourning after a loss, there is no time that is “perfect” to hope for a rainbow baby to come into your family, and there is no shame in choosing to close the door on family growth if the pain and anxiety of the loss are too much to possibly encounter again.
Grief, a Personal and Unique Journey
While trying to establish what a “new normal” looks like following a loss, remember that the “rules” are up to you. For my children who are earthside, I keep a Rubbermaid tote full of first outfits, baby blankets, pictures they drew, cards they have received, and other trinkets and memories of their special moments. In the back of those bins, now very dusty and not opened in quite some time, is a smaller bin that doesn’t have a bright name sticker on the side. It doesn’t hold much, but the items in it carry the memories of those losses. A pillow that a friend made, with a little boy’s name embroidered on it. A sonogram picture of a baby that never was photographed again. Some ripped pages of a baby journal that had the last entry well before it should have. A few outfits, some receiving blankets, items that could have been used for a baby born healthy but had too much emotion woven into them to be able to hold and view without tears. I realize that when my children leave home and take their bins with them, the only one left on that shelf will be that tiny, dusty case of things and memories that only my husband and I understand and hold dear.
October 15th Wave of Light
On October 15th, many of us participate in the Wave of Light, lighting a candle for each little one we have lost. Over the years of participating in this event with our cloth diapering community, I have watched parents light candles of 2,3,4, sometimes upwards of 10. Each one a testimonial to love and bravery lit with the hope of trying again, or perhaps in memory of a chapter that is now closed. On this day, join us in The Thirsties Groupies to share your picture of your candles or lights, and share your stories with us.
If you have or are experiencing loss, and in these uncertain times are finding that accessing help is harder than you expected, a good resource (in addition to your primary care doctor) can be found below at Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support.
Thank you for reading and making Thirsties a part of your journey! -Stephanie Daniel