October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Despite my high hopes of having written something other than Dear Baby Ikes by now, I’ve…not.  I can’t even remember if I wrote anything at all last year on October 15th, but without going back to check, I suspect not.

I don’t feel the need to retell my story of loss here today (though I should recreate an About page or the like).  Suffice it to say that four miscarriages over five years or so makes for a very long story to tell. I do tell it when it seems to be the right thing to do, but this year it doesn’t feel like it’s my own story that weighs heaviest on my mind. Stuff has been rather…ugly, lately.  Not only for me; a friend’s marriage and a long-term relationship between two other friends both fell apart recently, with no solid indication in either case whether there’s even a chance for them to be put back together. Humpty Fucking Dumpty. That’s not what this day is actually about, of course, but for me that kind of grief touches very close to the sort grief with which I do have more experience. I’ve written previously here and there about the impact of my losses and how I did and didn’t deal with them on my marriage.  I’m not sure I have much new to say about it now, and while I logically know I’m not the only one who probably seems to struggle more than most (at least it seems that way to me), I will never be one to spout platitudes about how it only made us stronger, closer, better as a couple.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to look back with more perspective and see it that way, but I guess I’m still not far enough removed. Someday, I hope.

I always hate this time of year, anyway, mostly because my first miscarriage happened in September, but the way the changes in the daylight and the trees and the seasons always coincide never fails to leave me with a months-long hangover of remembered grief.  Last year I felt a little bit better equipped than usual to cope.  Having a baby will do that, at least in my super-scientific sample size of exactly one.  We even took Ike to the gathering at a local park organized by a local Face2Face group (find one in your area here).  He’s older this year, obviously, and the 7 pm International Wave of Light gets dangerously close to interfering with his bedtime, and he’s got a new tooth coming through, so I’m not going to try to take him to the park this year.  For other reasons, too, it simply is not as appealing to me right now.  The healing vibe has faded, through no fault at all of the organizer or the group, but for me…I just can’t do it this year.

What I have been able to do of late, is reach out and make connections with a couple of women I ordinarily am not very close with, who now unfortunately have their own history with pregnancy loss.  These are more real-life more-than-acquaintances/Face.book friends, but not members of the online ALI community, so in reaching out I did have a bit more trepidation that they wouldn’t be open to talking about it, that I’d end up hurting feelings more than I would be able to help. Thankfully that wasn’t the case in either situation, and both seemed somewhat relieved or at least touched and not hurt that I’d brought up the subject seemingly out of nowhere.  Their stories aren’t mine to tell; I could probably do so making them anonymous, but that isn’t really the point I want to make today.  I find it quite hard to articulate the gratitude I have for the ability to reach out and make those connections.  Like we often say, it’s not a club anyone wants to join, and there is of course nothing about their losses that actually makes me happy, but I am so very glad to have felt brave enough to reach out and offer to just listen, if nothing else.  It’s not something I could have ever done without having lived my own bit of hell. The community of ALI bloggers has been an unending and ever-present source of support when I’ve needed it (and hopefully I’ve been able to lend support back as well), and it felt rather amazing to take the risk and extend that support rather spontaneously to women who probably have no idea that an ALI community exists.  Paying it forward, I hope.

So that is my take on October 15th this year.  As you remember the babies that aren’t here with you or with your loved ones, look around and take the risk of reaching out.  Bet that saying something is going to help someone much more than saying nothing.  There will be many names on my mind this evening as I light my candles, and while I’d never wish for the list to grow, I hope that those grieving can have the tiniest bit of comfort knowing that they aren’t the only ones who will never forget.