October is a month of awareness. According to Wikipedia, there are twenty-eight things to be aware of this month, more than any other month of the year. May is in second place, with 19, and September has 16 things to think about. December has none.
The list for October is long and some of them I’ve never heard of. You’d have to live under a rock to miss Breast Cancer awareness. As a former teacher, I always planned a fire safety unit during fire prevention month. I’m aware of pit bulls and just how cute and poorly treated they are. While I am neither Hispanic nor Italian, I love their food and appreciate them. I support bullying prevention and I’m aware of domestic violence. I love my Pastors and plan on appreciating them this month as well. I even knew it was Dwarfism awareness month (thanks, Katie!).
Some of these are fun and some of them strike a certain passion in people. Awareness is an important thing. I will wear pink if I’m going to a sporting event in October. I am committed to ending bullying and domestic violence. I’m not one to discriminate against someone because of their Italian or Hispanic heritage (I’m more likely to invite myself over for dinner!). I know just how capable people living with Dwarfism can be (and not from reality TV shows).
I know about these things because others have shared so that I might be aware. I’m thankful for that because while we can’t contribute to every worthy cause out there, we can be aware that it exists. Awareness months exist to promote one major thing: awareness. Yes, raising money for that awareness is good and helping people is important, too. But if people aren’t even aware, how can those other things happen?
Everyone has their one thing they are passionate about, the one thing they want to raise awareness about. (If you don’t, maybe this month is a good month, when there are so many options for awareness and involvement!) All the above being said, I want to share the thing I am passionate about this month. October, among many other things, is National Infant Loss and Miscarriage Awareness Month.
This is my passion. Too many women are forced to suffer the pain and heartbreak of miscarriage or infant loss alone because there is a general rule that you don’t talk about it. My conversations with family members about my losses are often redirected to other topics because others just don’t want to hear it. Unfortunately to the grieving mother, ignoring the loss or minimizing it makes the hurt worse. Others are allowed and often expected to share their children. I have four children but by the standards of our society today, I have but one.
Attitudes like this seem to minimize the lives of Faith, Reese, and Wynn, my sweet babies in Heaven. But they did live. I saw them on the ultrasound screen. I saw two of their heartbeats. I felt Wynn and Faith leave my body. I held Faith after she died and kissed her tiny but perfectly formed fingers with the miniscule nails. Just today I pinned a book on Pinterest called “I Didn’t Miscarry Her…She Died”. I’m anxious to read it because that’s how I feel. When we use the words miscarriage or stillbirth, we minimize what truly happened. My babies died, three babies, all in Heaven with Jesus.
Be aware. Don’t minimize the loss. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Don’t expect the mother who lost a baby to forget about it or be quiet about it. Honor the baby who did live and then died, no matter how few weeks along. My baby that died at six weeks is just as much my child as my seven year old daughter dancing through my living room.
It might make you a little uncomfortable. Can you give up a bit of your comfort to comfort a grieving mother? Because while we might heal, grieving mothers never quit mourning the loss of their child.