It is October 15th. Exactly two years ago, we announced we were expecting our rainbow baby. For those of you that do not know, a rainbow baby is a child that is born after a loss — the rainbow after the storm. Today is also pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day, at 7 pm tonight, people all over the world will light a candle to remember the babies they lost; causing a wave of light. It really is quite beautiful, but something I would have never known about would I not have been part of this club. The one no one ever wants to be a part of, but the one that 1 in 4 women are. The club whose members mostly suffer alone, because even though it is 2019, there is still a stigma around pregnancy loss, and since going through it myself (times three..) I can honestly say that you really don’t know what its like until it happens to you.
I am one of the lucky ones, I am part of the statistic where more than half of women who suffer recurrent losses go on to have a child, and because of all the hardships we’ve gone through, I never take my son for granted. He truly is my miracle, the one that stuck and held on through all my complications. But even though I’m lucky to have him, that doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with the fact that I lost three pregnancies. Three times of double lines on the test, of telling our parents, of planning for these babies. Not knowing if I can give my son a sibling, even though I told him 6 months ago he was going to be a big brother, because he was, until he wasn’t.
The things that most people don’t realize (unless you’re going through it yourself)
Not many people ever talk about the aftermath, about the triggers. No one talks about how the pharmacist assistant gave me a judgy look and started to ask me questions about the “abortion pill” I had to take, trying to find out if it was indeed for an abortion. My body was so fiercely holding on to a baby who didn’t have a heartbeat anymore, that medical management was necessary for my own health and safety. I remember telling her that yes I was pregnant but no, the baby wasn’t alive anymore. I felt like I needed to defend myself — as if it wasn’t hard enough already. Nobody ever talks about how the medical forms you have to fill out from now on are triggering; Number of pregnancies vs Number of live births. (My stats are 4 vs 1 by the way).
And what is it about society, that when it comes to having children, everyone wants to know or weigh in? The most innocent questions can be triggering for those who are going or have gone through loss, or infertility. I remember getting asked if I wanted children when I just lost two. Of course I did, I just didn’t know if I could even have them, or how many more losses I could take before I decided it was enough.
Now that my son is a year and a half, people often ask me about having another one, most of the time I tell them the truth, which is that I’m not sure if we can. “We’ve had complications”, I tell them. When in reality, we were going to have a baby in two months. And there’s no guarantee that the next one will stay.
Even just hearing people “plan” their pregnancies, or getting pregnant without issues and exactly how they wanted can be triggering. I feel myself getting jealous, not because I want them to experience the same as me, I really wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. It is because I wish I could experience the same. But I know better. A pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean I get to bring a baby home. In fact, for me, 3 of my pregnancies ended in incredible heartbreak, hormone fluctuations and the most intense physical and emotional pain I’ve ever experienced. Seeing those two lines on the stick doesn’t just mean joy for me, it also means next level anxiety.
I often wish I could go back to the girl I once knew, the carefree one. I lost her when I lost my babies, my future with them. Awful things happen, and not just once. Just because it happened once doesn’t mean it won’t happen again, and that became all too prominent for me on this journey.
So tonight, I will light three candles, and remember all what could have been.
And to whoever is reading this, please remember that everyone might be on a journey you know nothing about, and that even the most innocent questions of all, could be triggering to some of us.
And last but not least, to all the loss mama’s out there, even though it might feel like it sometimes; you are not alone.