October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month; and if you didn’t know, October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I usually like to think of those who are struggling and have struggled throughout the month, and hey even throughout the year, but this year the month and date have felt a little closer to home.
We’ve been prepping our Halloween costume reveal, and I can hardly wait to share that blog post with you next week, it’s one of my favorites every year! I came up with the idea early this year, realizing I’d only be about two weeks postpartum when we’d head to our Halloween parties and likely would barely feel human again. That made me think of a costume I would feel comfortable in that would shed the spotlight on my boys, and still be an original and fun family costume. When that terrible day in February came, and I spent my entire Valentine’s Day forgoing one of my favorite days of the year and biggest days on the blog in lieu of hospital tests to confirm the miscarriage, I sat in shock that this had come so miraculously and been gone so quickly.
It took a while, but I wrote this post about what to say to someone who has had a miscarriage, and shared that I’d recently experienced one, and how I was feeling. And to be honest, at the time I was doing pretty well. Biology had shown I was capable of having a baby without years of infertility treatments, and I told myself that it would surely happen again and happen quickly since bodies are fertile after miscarriages. I figured by the time my due date came, I would be expecting a rainbow baby without much concern and just a small memory of that baby that would have been. I even kept telling myself that my Halloween costume idea would work even better pregnant, and no matter what phase I was in I was sticking with it! With each month that passed, I still stayed hopeful but became increasingly aware that my baby was getting older and our dream of giving him a sibling fairly close to his age was fleeting.
When October officially hit and I watched others start to have babies that were due around the time I was, and as the actual due date came and went, I watched a lot of my hope turn to a lot of sadness realizing how much I’d love to have a baby, and right back to the place I was at the year before my first child was born, wondering if pregnancy and a baby are something that will ever happen.
In early October a burst of new Halloween costume ideas hit, and I almost changed several times hoping to save this one for another time. But I the more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize I really want to honor that baby that would have been with a costume that was inspired by them. Even if I still wrestle with how much was just science and how much was a little soul that didn’t get to be, I still feel their presence as a piece of my life that really was, and someone I’ll always love and remember.
The stats show that one in four women will experience miscarriage or infant loss in their life, and that means 25% of women are likely spending this month thinking much like I am. Pondering how old that child would be. Wondering what they would look like. And mourning silently for the dream that could have been.
As always, I want to send a digital hug not only to these women but to those mourning the lack of existence for the pregnancies they haven’t been able to have. I heard a psychologist describe it once that it’s like grieving the death of someone, but you never got the chance to meet or enjoy them. Infertility is something so dear to my heart and something I only write about so often on this blog because I try to keep this a happy spot in a world that needs a little more happiness. But every now and then I have to share that my heart is heavy with infertility, it’s heavy with the loss of what I hoped would be this time of year either in a newborn or a pregnancy.
To all the silent sufferers, I hope you know you are not alone. And if you need to take a minute to honor that little person that didn’t get to be, you most definitely should. As I reveal a costume on Monday I hope anyone who reads this blog regularly can smile at the thought that it was meant to help a very recent postpartum mom feel a little better, and as I wear it at a time I’m in pretty good shape, I do so as a nod to that dream I’ve had to let go of for another year.
Photos by Chrissy Blake
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