I didn’t intend to write this today. But sometimes paying attention means letting yourself remember.
Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It’s not a day I keep on my calendar. I’m not even sure I’ve ever mentioned it before.
I’ve touched on our miscarriage in writing—here, here, and most recently here. It’s not a story I’ve documented in full though, I’m only just now realizing. It feels better suited for sharing quietly with other women in person with tears and coffee, too raw to surprise unsuspecting readers with in a blog post.
I should write it down—for myself, not to share—if only for the sake of recording a chapter of our family history.
These “awareness” days might feel superfluous, maybe even prompting an eye roll, until one applies to you. I wonder if this one in particular is more for the sake of those who are members of the club, who need to know that yes, you have permission to grieve the littlest lives, even the briefest of existences.
But then I’m also thinking it’s for the people like me, who didn’t understand and didn’t even try to understand what it’s like to lose a baby until I was the one suffering.
I am certain I hurt people with my lack of compassion before that week in June 2013, before I experienced the devastation of realizing the child in my womb had passed into heaven in an instant. Before the panic of having seen a flicker of what might have been a last heartbeat on an ultrasound, then nothing but stillness.
Then, I got it. The pain, the confusion, the loneliness.
Eight tiny weeks. That was all. A loss so physically small. But it hurt so much. Were we allowed to feel this much pain over such a brief life? We didn’t even know him yet. (Was he a he? In my dreams afterward, he was.)
We needed people to tell us it was okay to be broken for a bit, to remind us that Jesus doesn’t assign levels to our pain and then dole out grace and comfort accordingly. He doesn’t say, “Okay, now that’s enough. It’s time to move on.” We shouldn’t say those things to each other, either.
Awareness days. Yes, there are a lot. But maybe this is why I need them.
For those coping with the loss of a baby, some organizations doing beautiful things:
The AadenSage Birthday Project
(If you know of others, please feel free to share them in the comments.)
This is week two of 31 days of paying attention, a month-long mission to document and give thanks for the everyday, mundane, and beautiful.
I’m a bit behind this week, but the reality is that sometimes paying attention means closing my computer and being with my people instead. It’s always the better choice.
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