October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month. Often motherhood has not been the journey I expected. I’ve experienced both stillbirth and miscarriage while growing my little family. One thing I’ve learned is that every mother has been affected, even in some small way, by pregnancy and infant loss. No matter what part of the story you are, I am remembering you today.
- To the mom with empty arms, yet to experience first steps or midnight snuggles, I see you. I see the way you watch other mothers with longing and envy and hope in your eyes. I see the hours you spend in doctor’s offices being poked and prodded, left with a devastating prognosis or the stark reality of no answers at all. “Keep trying,” they say. I see your feeble smile. I see you fall to your knees each night praying for a baby, just the chance to complete the family you see in your heart. I see you fight back tears as your friends and coworkers and family members announce their pregnancies. I see your strength and resilience as you take each new step in the journey to your baby. I see you. You are loved and understood and not forgotten.
- To the pregnant mom who has finally conceived the baby you’ve desired for years, I see you. I see your excitement and disbelief that this baby and your belly is growing. I see you choosing names and making plans. I see the hesitation as you tell each new person about the pregnancy as the reality and anxiety settle into your heart. I see your fear as you lay awake many nights counting the ways that this pregnancy could go wrong. I see you in the hospital room holding that brand new baby for the first time, as relief spreads through you and you realize that each difficult moment has made you the mommy you are right now. I see you. You are loved and understood and not forgotten.
- To the mom with only one child, who cringes when strangers ask “Just one? Don’t you want more?” while you paste on a false smile and reply that you’d love to have more. I see you. I see you counting the calendar every month only to be met with disappointment, I see you thinking of that baby who grew for months in your belly but is now missing from your little family. I see your pain in considering the answer to, “How many children do you have?” and your reluctant reply, “Only one.” I see you wondering with each conception: Will this baby finally be the sibling we get to keep? I see you. You are loved and understood and not forgotten.
- To the mom surrounded with littles ones, at times exhausted and overwhelmed, but savoring each joyful moment with those happy, healthy children, I see you. I see the way you love and care for those tiny humans that now outnumber you. I see your silent tears on the hard days when you wonder if this is the right place for you. I see your bright smile as the baby finally sleeps through the night and you realize you can do this. I see the way your face falls when you hear a friend lost her pregnancy. I see the compassion and sorrow and pain in your eyes as you bring meals and send flowers and write cards to cheer her up. I see you. You are loved and understood and not forgotten.
- To the mom who watches her daughter lose yet another pregnancy, another grandchild you dreamed you’d get to meet, I see you. I see your heart breaking as you think through what words to offer your daughter, knowing there are no perfect words to say. I see the sympathy in your eyes that says you would trade places with your daughter, if only you could save her from this pain. I see pride swell up in you as you realize the incredible strength your daughter has. I see you. You are loved and understood and not forgotten.
Photograph by www.leslieeure.com