(Topic: Pregnancy and Infant Loss, remembrance, grief)
Once a year, when October rolls around, the story that is a constant part of my life gets talked about a bit more, and noticed by more people who haven’t been through it. This is because October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month – it was declared to be so by Ronald Reagan in 1988. October 15th got established as Remembrance Day a bit later, in 2002. Another organization, I believe it was Bear Cares, started promoting a “wave of light” in 2003, the idea being that if people in every time zone light candles from 7pm-8pm local time, a wave of light in memory of babies would flow around the world. In fact, many buildings world wide light up in pink and blue (the colors of the awareness ribbon) for the evening.
This year, the candle we usually light is still packed somewhere, but we had the pleasure of being able to virtually attend a memorial and candle lighting ceremony held by a funeral home, where they lit a candle for us, in memory of Charlie, along with many others.
|Last year, I placed candles on the graves of babies buried near Charlie. The backside of the tag had some resources.|
This year was interesting – it still makes me sad to miss Charlie, but it changes. The memory of him in my arms is not nearly as recent as it used to be – it’s not less vivid, but I’m more distant from it.
I’d like to share a little piece I wrote on Facebook. I have recently started to realize that while nothing will change the fact that Charlie died, it is starting to be more important to me that he lived, and that he is my son.
Here’s what I wrote:
Help me remember my son Charlie. He lived for 9 months inside of me, and Calvin and I got to know him – how he kicked like a little tigger and became our little tiger cub, how he danced to Joshua Bell ‘s solos. He was alive, and he is our son forever. Then his heart stopped beating, and I still went to the hospital and gave birth to him, and got to hold his beautiful little body. My son lived, and then he died. I loved him from the day we found out we were having him, and the fact he never got to breathe does not negate that he lived. I will love him till the day I die. He would be nearly 3-1/2 now, and I picture him playing his aunt’s 1/8-size violin (edited to add: turns out it is actually a 1/16th size). It’s one of the many dreams we had to set aside when we had to pick a cemetery plot and a gravestone instead. Help us remember him, and remember that in the United States, 1 in every 160 pregnancies ends in a stillbirth (a baby who dies after week 20 of pregnancy). This is too many. Help spread stories like mine, help mamas and daddies like us remember the children they love but no longer have with them, and support organizations that research prevention and spread knowledge to pregnant mamas.
If you have questions or need resources, I’d be happy to try to help. ❤️ to all parents who have more children than you can see.
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Resource list: Visit my spreadsheet at www.tinyurl.com/infantloss