October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. It is a solemn thing to direct attention to but it is something that one in four women face. And it doesn't just effect the woman, it effects her partner.
There is no real firm reason as to why so many experience pregnancy and infant loss and I won't try to come up with an answer. But what I do know is how bittersweet a pregnancy after loss can be.
My husband and I started to try for a family after we were married three years. I never paid much thought to how difficult it could be. No one tells you that infertility and miscarriage are a very real and devastating part of womanhood. For two and a half years we dealt with unexplained infertility. It was a hard thing to comprehend that my body was not doing what it was created to do. But never the less we persisted. We became pregnant with our first in 2011. We shouted it from the rooftops...only to have it come crashing down at one ultrasound. We experienced another pregnancy and loss a year later. I became pregnant once more months later and we were cautious about spreading the news. Every day was a small victory shrouded in fear. A song I sung almost daily was "All of Me" by Sanctus Real where the first verse is...
"Afraid to love something that could break. Could I move on if you were torn away? And I'm so scared of what I can't control. I can't give you half my heart and pray He makes you whole. You're gonna have all of me."
That's how I felt; so afraid to celebrate the hope that was growing inside of me because it could be gone tomorrow. I wanted to guard myself from the feeling of letting myself and others down. But my husband and I resolved to celebrate amidst the fear and anxiety. We chose to give our baby all of us. We had been chosen to carry this baby and we would celebrate every day of their life, no matter how long or short. That little hope is now three and the joy of our lives.
Going through loss is painful. Going through it alone amplifies it. If you have experienced loss before and find yourself pregnant again, I encourage you to share and celebrate amidst the fear. If others don't know what you are going through, they don't know how to support you. Having to put on a front everyday when you are crumbling inside is not good for your heart. You don't have to tell everyone, but tell a few so that you have support for the highs and lows. And I pray that there are many more highs than lows. One day at a time.
If you know someone experiencing loss, reach out, bring flowers or a meal. You can say "I can't imagine the pain you are experiencing but I am here for you to cry and process." Don't try to fix or justify the situation. Just be there.