Dear Grieving Mama,
It’s October. The trees have begun to shed their colourful leaves and the smell of pumpkin spice lattes float throughout the cool air. For everyone else, this is a month about Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving turkeys, and trips to the pumpkin patch. But for you, this month signifies something a little different.
This is your first October after the loss of your little one.
You wish you could go back to the time before you knew that October was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. You would give anything to have your arms filled with the sweet scent of a new baby belonging wholly to you; to be blissfully unaware of what this month signifies for so many mothers around the world.
Your heart aches for the little one you never got to meet.
You dream of family photos surrounded by fall leaves, and tiny hands struggling to pick up muddy pumpkins. This year, you will not hand out Halloween candy because it hurts too much to have smiling, costumed babies paraded across your front porch. Loneliness drenches you like October rain and you are grateful for the excuse to stay inside.
It’s been weeks since someone said your baby’s name and you whisper it to yourself just to know that he’s not been forgotten. Grief feels heavier this time of year; your feelings match the grey clouds and damp earth. I know that you feel so very alone.
Despite the fact that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, you still feel isolated. You have been forcefully kicked out of one club and quietly ushered into another. It’s not an easy club to be in – certainly none of us joined it willingly. This club has been silent for generations, but I want you to know that we’ve finally found our voice.
You are not alone.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. But more than simply raising awareness, this month is for you: it’s for the hurting mama’s and the grieving families. It’s a time to build community and to grieve together.
I see you tentatively write your story on a grief website and I applaud your bravery. In breaking your silence, you tell the world that this is not something to be hidden or ashamed of. You are not a failure; you are strong.
I know how difficult it can be to talk about your loss, to open up and share your heart to complete strangers. Vulnerability is scary and honesty is uncomfortable, but there is support to be found amidst those who bare similar scars.
I know this because two years ago, I was you.
Two years ago, I felt as if no one else understood the depth of my pain. I struggled to find words strong enough to carry the weight of my grief but I wrote them down anyways. I shared my story, and in doing so, I found a group of individuals who were just waiting for their story to be heard too.
October may be an important month for grieving families, but raising awareness for pregnancy and infant loss happens year round. It starts with a brokenhearted but oh-so-brave mother like you; and it starts with your messy but painfully beautiful tale.
By sharing our stories, we remember our little ones and proudly declare that they are loved. By opening up about the pain and the heartache, we are building a network of individuals who are better equipped to support other grieving families. And by honestly talking about loss, we are giving people the opportunity to drop the dusty stigmas surrounding grief and engage in meaningful conversation about infant loss.
It’s not easy to speak up; I know you fear rejection or awkward encounters. I know the courage it takes to start talking about something so dear to your heart. But I also know how good it is to be in community with one another; to mourn and to remember together.
Dear grieving mama, it’s October. This month is about you; and it’s about your little one. Let’s share our stories. Let’s grieve together.
Hang in there mama, you’re not alone.
Much Love From,
One Who Grieves Alongside You