It’s October! This month is filled with a great deal of anxiety for me (I don’t even want to talk about next month!). There is so much about it that fills my heart with pain and with joy, so it may be fair to warn you that this post is a bit more emotional than usual. The most important reason for this space is to provide you with a realistic, first hand account of what it means to be a mother to one child here on Earth while suffering (differently every day) the loss of another child in heaven. I chose fashion as the vehicle for my voice and where I felt strongest because I genuinely love helping others find ways to feel good about themselves and be inspired to move forward after a devastatingly traumatic event; and as simple and unrelated as it seems, where they can put an outfit together and go out into the world feeling prepared to conquer it despite their troubles.
October is now not only for my family member’s birthdays, or the day I baptized my niece (happening today), but it is also Pregnancy, Stillbirth and Infant Loss Awareness month. It is a month dedicated to the 1 in 4 women who lose a child to miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death. It is a month when we want to speak out (loudly!) to make changes in our laws, shatter our vulnerabilities, and gather support from those around the world to wrap our heads around the senseless reasons for why so many women lose their babies in developed countries every year. I never thought about October being anything than a time we wore pink to support Breast Cancer Awareness or went pumpkin picking for our annual family photos. But now I am that woman, who honors a month for some horrific experience that I wish never had to exist!
I recently wrote a statement that I shared with friends, and after thinking about it for a while, I’ve decided to place it on this space…
“I have a daughter. Not had. Have. In heaven. I held her in my arms. And this October (and really every single moment), I remember her. My photo update is pink and blue to honor all those daughters and sons who are no longer with us for reasons some may never know. Sadly, many of their mothers (and fathers) are made to feel like they need to “move on” (we do our best!) or consider “you’ll have another” (if we are lucky enough!) and “there’s always a reason for everything” (Really? Please explain!), so they say nothing while at their family’s joyous gatherings, alongside their colleagues at work, or among strangers who have no idea that deep down inside they are dealing with daily triggers that remind them of a missed opportunity with their child. They don’t want to feel like they are making others feel bad, so they say nothing. They smile, they live, they work, all the while attempting to reconcile how the unimaginable has happened to them. How? Why? No one ever told them it was possible. Why would it be? You’re just supposed to have your baby and complain about things like no sleep or baby weight. (All legit things might I add!) But now, I am one of those women…always wondering, always wishing. And while it’s not where any one wishes they want to be, I will stand as a voice in the hopes women become aware that (while I know no one wants to talk about it…neither did I, who would want to?) you can be perfectly healthy and suddenly be faced with a tragic loss…so, it’s important to count kicks, trust your gut, ask questions and don’t settle for basic answers from your doctor. This really isn’t about freaking people out (that’s why no one talks about it)…it’s about the reality of making a life. It’s a life that we are creating…and yes, it really is a miracle! Thank you for reading.”
If you or anyone you know who has experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, I kindly ask that you honor their babies this month (and always!); and particularly on October 15th, when we take that day to remember all the lost children and light a candle to stay lit for one hour starting at 7pm in all times zones.
For further information or support for yourself or someone you know, please visit any one of these sites:
Thank you for reading and following my story.