Well, October is here, with all of its associated fabulous festivities. Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, and we have several standing traditions here in our house. Halloween cookies, Decorating, A different holiday appropriate movie every night, flashlight ghost stories, pumpkin carving, and of course, the main event- the costumes and candy collecting. October is a very fun month in our home.
However, for me, there is also an undercurrent of sadness. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and if you’ve known me for a while, you likely know that in addition to the 2 incredible children I have, there were 4 others who did not make it beyond the womb. It’s bittersweet- if I had successfully carried the first, second, or third angel to term, I would not have my sweet Caroline. If I had carried the fourth, we would be expecting to add another little babe to our family sometime this month.
Often, I wonder ‘what if’. What if they were here with me? I know I wouldn’t have Caroline, but sometimes, in that haze between waking and sleeping, I wonder- What if I could manipulate time, make it so that Caroline could still be born, AND I could have my four angels that I have only known in my dreams? What if I was a mom to SIX little pumpkins? I know it’s a ridiculous flight of fantasy, but I can’t help it. What would they look like? What would their little personalities be? Who would they have grown up to be? I’m told it’s a common thing, to wonder about this, but it feels so isolating at the same time.
Unless you’ve been there, pregnancy loss can be difficult to understand. It can be hard to know what to say to someone grieving a life they’ve never even held in their arms. You may worry about coming across as insensitive, or ‘too much’, and you worry about finding the perfect response. Frankly, the appropriate response varies from person to person, depending on their situation, their personal beliefs, and your relationship to them. I find you can never go wrong with, “I’m here for you,” and “I am so sorry this has happened.” Those are things that span across all demographics.
Pregnancy and Infant loss affects 1 in 4 women. There’s a great chance that you know someone besides me who has experienced this, on varying levels. Take some time this month and let them know that you remember their little pumpkin(s). Surround them with love and light this month- let them know that they aren’t alone, and that you want to honor their children’s memory. And this doesn’t have to stop when October ends! Parents who have lost pregnancies or children don’t only feel the loss when the remembrance month rolls around. It’s something that sticks, clinging to the very heart of a person. But the remembrance month is a good time to bring attention to this, and to remind you to reach out to your peers who may be hurting. I’m sure they will appreciate it. I know I do.