I took me over a year to attend my first SHARE meeting. It was hard. The passage of months hadn’t lessened my pain. Speaking around a table of parents who had experienced loss did not bring me comfort. Instead, I felt the weight of their stories and sadness. The next day, I saw my therapist and it was her gentle suggestion that maybe the group was “too much” for me at that time. I was carrying my own problems; how could I carry theirs too? Continue reading
This week, Autumn turned three months old. Based on my due dates, Nelle would be 22 months and Iris would be sixteen-and-a-half months. But Autumn is older than they will ever be. Once I passed 16 weeks, 1 day of pregnancy, and 21 weeks, 1 day of pregnancy, Autumn will always be older. Continue reading
For the past two years, I have attended All Souls’ Day mass on November 2nd. It is part of the Allhallowtide Triduum, beginning with All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints’ Day, and then All Souls’ Day. Barely two months after Nelle was born, it was the first time I had set foot in a church after we had lost her. The following year, I had lost both Nelle and Iris and still did not know what the future would hold for us. It gave me a strong sense of community to be around other people who were thinking and praying for their loved ones. In that type of situation, I always look around, trying to find the signs of grief on the faces of others. While people were gripping their candles, or sometimes holding hands with those near them, I did not always see the tracks of tears, even though, for the third year in a row, mine flowed freely. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I submitted an essay to a website under a specific theme. The rejection email came with a simple sentence: “Thank you but unfortunately this is not what we are looking for.” It hurt more than it should have, as I know rejection is an unavoidable aspect of writing.
An opportunity arose recently for me to send my story to the Chicago Daily Herald through someone I know. I worked on it. I tailored it to the type of audience I knew would be reading. I went a long time hearing nothing, then was asked to submit a photo and the suburb where I live. Not unlike my pregnancy, I didn’t believe that it would actually be published until it happened. And today, it was included on the website.
It was validating, because it made me feel that my story was worth telling. Awareness about pregnancy and infant loss will come from sharing stories. Awareness about grief will come from talking openly and honestly about navigating loss, and the days, weeks, months, years, and lifetime that follow. Stories matter.
How physical my missing is. An entire body experience.
I anticipated that parenting after loss would be hard. I had moments of intense sadness looking at my living baby girl and thinking about my other two baby girls. Outside of those moments, I had been fairly even-keel. But this week, and passing the day that Nelle was born has thrown me decidedly off balance. Continue reading