National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is observed annually in the United States on October 15th. It is a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, still birth, SIDS or the death of a newborn.
How I wish I never knew about this day.
My daughter was born still on April 22, 2011. I delivered her quietly via C-section and never heard her cry. She was 37 weeks and one day old, and earlier that week, her heart was strong, and there was not a single cause to worry.
For reasons I will never know, my daughter died. Six and a half years later, I struggle with the fact that she is not here.
When I found out I was pregnant, and then later discovered that my first child was to be a girl, I automatically started planning her life. Parties and activities and events that I was sure we would do together. I imagined a little clone of me (and some parts of her daddy!) taking the world by storm. There would be no stopping us.
I miss the naïve woman I was then. Things were in no ways easy for me up until that point in my life, and yet I still believed in happy endings.
Now instead of milestones and birthdays, we celebrate not what her life could have been, but the joy that she brought us when she was in my belly and the lessons that she has taught us over the years.
We do not take life for granted anymore. We are not jaded, but we are hesitant. Loss has not damaged our ability to love, though. If anything, it has forced us to love harder, stronger, and fiercer.
On October 15th, we will come together with other families who had to say hello and goodbye in the same breath. Other moms and dads and grandparents and aunts and uncles and siblings and cousins who know the pain of loss. We will light candles. We will say their names. We will remember them. And we will feel less alone.
There is a community of loss parents that have become a lifeline to me. I wish I never had to meet them, but alas, I have. These people share our pain, but also out ability to survive. For us. For our babies.
Say their names. Remember our babies. Do not be afraid to hurt us. It’s far more damaging to think that no one remembers them. Remember our babies on October 15th. And on any other day, too.