October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is a day to remember babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss or infant loss. It is a day that 1 in 4 women have cause to “celebrate”. It is a day to acknowledge losses such as miscarriage and stillbirth that are all too often not acknowledged as a loss of a child or as a reason for grief. It is a day to acknowledge babies born too soon, babies lost to SIDS, babies lost to congenital birth defects… and probably many other reasons I have not had personally been affected or impacted by.
In honor of that day, I changed my Facebook status to link to Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope — a grassroots effort to raise awareness of the prevalence of pregnancy and infant loss. And, while browsing their site and debating whether to submit *my* story… I came across a monthly writing challenge —
September’s topic: How has the changing of seasons (from summer to fall) impacted you in your grief journey?
To be honest, most seasons remind me of my loss in one way or another. I found out I was pregnant for the first time at Christmastime. I miscarried in the winter… and spent much of the spring outside, somehow trying to work through grief by walking around in nature (not that I understood it to be grieving at the time). My due date would have been at the end of summer. Which leads me to fall…
It has been 7 years since that first fall after I had a miscarriage. This year, it hardly feels like fall. But, typically, that nip in the air and even the reunion with my beloved Pumpkin Spice lattes remind me of that first fall following my loss. It was a fall that I had expected to spend with a baby in my arms and taking a break from the master’s program I was currently enrolled in. Instead… I found myself doing my first internship at a local psychiatric hospital (and being introduced to Starbucks from the kiosk there, although I don’t think those pumpkin spice lattes were around yet). I spent my days trying to counsel, console and guide others while still working through my own loss and depression. Somehow… I don’t know how… I still managed to make a difference (I hope!) And I managed to get through, with the support of a few people who probably helped more than they will ever know.
Fall also reminds me of how I was led through darkness and despair and somehow grew closer to God and my husband through the ordeal of loss and the struggle to have a child. Since that first fall, I have been blessed with my amazing 4 year old. Fall reminds me of special times with him… going to Harvest Festivals, visiting the pumpkin patch, how excited he was on his first hayride. Fall reminds me of despair… and then reminds me of hope. This fall I grieve less for the child I lost and more for so many who have more recent losses. I hope for the day that they can discuss their own losses and get the support they need… and I hope for them to have hope that grief will lessen over time and one day spring will come again.