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remembrance

loss, miscarriage, remembrance

I thought I had forgotten but it’s never far from my heart. I lied to myself and I believed the lie. Recently, I was at a family holiday party, surrounded by people who I love and love me, and there he was; my beautiful reminder. With his tender, sweet, barely 2-year-old smile, he tore the wound wide open. There should have been two 2-year-olds playing at the party but there is only one.

I sat in silence, with a vaseline smile plastered on my face, trying to mask the pain of the deep wound. Trying to remember to breathe. My eyes were burning but I dared not blink for fear that my secret might be revealed. I made small talk but I don’t remember a word that I said because I was so engrossed in my own inner monologue reminding myself not to cry; to be happy because I have so much to be thankful for.

In the background, I could hear my dear, sweet, amazing 1-year-old niece giggling and mouthing what might be words, or near enough. She is fully engaged. I am smitten with her. Simultaneously, the worn bandage that holds my heart together begins to pull and yank. So much happiness, only makes the emptiness that much more unbearable.

I fool myself into believing that I forget, then I punish myself with guilt but when I allow my heart to remember,to feel the full weight of what I’ve lost, it’s almost impossible in these moments. The moments that sneak up on you in the midst of your everyday life and cut you to your quick,  reminding you that you’re not whole. That you will never be who you were before that day; that single moment that changed you forever.

Don’t blink. You’ll miss what’s happening because you’ll be blinded by what could have been. It’s hard to look directly into the sweet face of what should have been and know that it never will. I was overcome by anger, sadness, envy and then all-consuming guilt because I have more than I deserve.

Sleep in heavenly peace, my dear sweet one. I’ve survived another year without you, but you’re always with me. I carry you; I carry your heart in my heart; forever and always.

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loss of a pregnancy, miscarriage, pregnancy, birth, the first pregnancy

Have you ever suffered the loss of a pregnancy? Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. I know October is National everything month but I would like you all to pause for just a moment today and remember all the mothers who lost their everything and children who never got to be held. We can’t forget the loss of a pregnancy is the loss of our child that would’ve been; it’s how to survive a miscarriage.

My story is not unique or special but my loss was life-changing for me. In that one moment, my life was altered for eternity. The loss of a pregnancy sounds so simple but I’ll spend the rest of my life learning how to survive a miscarriage. The statistics all say that it is common but it doesn’t feel statistically accurate. I can’t imagine how so many women are suffering so stoically, such a deep and profound sorrow. My heart was irreparably damaged and in its place, a gaping wound remains that can never be filled. It’s a kind of primal pain that is indescribable. 

READ ALSO: Mourning Mother Won’t Let go of Baby

I don’t think that the loss of a pregnancy or infant is like anything else, we will ever experience in our lifetime and I can say for certain that it is nothing I would ever wish on even my worst enemy.

It’s like dying but still being alive. It’s having to carry on when you want to crawl into yourself and cease to exist. It’s survival at the most. It’s a vulnerability that, to this day, still brings me to my knees on occasion. The only thing worse that I can imagine is losing a living child who’ve you’ve spent years loving and knowing.

The worst part about the loss of a pregnancy or infant is what a single solitary loss it is. Surviving a miscarriage is like surviving the apocalypse and your entire family dying, do you even want to survive?

You will never feel so alone as you do when your womb is empty because you feel like your body failed you and no one feels it the way you do. Others know that you lost your pregnancy or your infant but in a few weeks or months, they can forget it if they choose and carry on. And they usually do and you are left feeling like a crazy person who misses terribly this tiny person we never met. You begin to question your sanity, especially when others look at you like “when is she ever going to get over this.” Worse, they actually are afforded the luxury of forgetting that it ever happened to you. Oh yes, they do and no I never will “get over it”.

Every May 1st (The day I survived my miscarriage) and November 24th (our child’s due date), I observe as days of remembrance. I feel the loss every single day but on those two days of the year, I allow myself to feel all of my feelings. Sometimes, I sob the entire day, sometimes I am numb and others, I am still and thankful that even for that short time, my baby was with me and for the two beautiful children that I do get to hold because there are those of us who never got to hold any of their children.

I am past the point of feeling raw or envious when friends tell me that they are pregnant. I am happy for them. In fact, I love seeing them get to experience that love and complete sense of purpose. I no longer ask “why me?” because there is no point. My little one has finally stopped asking for a sibling, and that has helped immensely. My guilt is beginning to alleviate some. My feeling of failure is slowly fading like an old photo.

I do however know how fragile and fleeting life is and that has made me a different kind of mother to my children. If I am being completely honest, I still don’t think that I could survive a loss of one of my girls. (That’s not a tempt fate, so please forget that I even thought that) but the pain nearly killed me and for a little while, it completely destroyed my sanity. It’s hard to be rational when you are a frightened, exposed nerve in the world. I am aware that I am a little more protective of my girls than maybe I should be but you have to understand, they are my everything.

READ ALSO: When a Tattoo Heals Your Heart

I’ve been searching for something to immortalize the baby that I lost, to give me closure in a way. I feel like I need something to mark his existence, proof that he ever existed at all. That he was here. That the Big Guy and I loved him more than anything else in the world, just like we do our two girls. I know that nothing can fill that hole in my heart but I want people to know that I am the mother to 3 children. I was pregnant 3 times. It happened. I’m not crazy. I didn’t imagine it. I am not over it.

I’ve finally decided on a tattoo that I think is perfect. It’s a poem, one that I’ve quoted to my girls since they were babies. I am going to have it tattooed on my left-hand side rib cage, near my heart because that is where my children always are with me, in my heart, forever…even if you don’t see them or forget they exist. For me, they are always right there with me.

If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a pregnancy take today to feel your feelings.

Be kind to yourself. There is no right or wrong way to feel. There is no expiration date on loving a child. It doesn’t matter who else remembers or cares, you do.

We all have our wounds. They might not show on the outside but they are there. Be kind to one another and cherish every single moment with the people you love, especially the little people, because time is fleeting.

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