We may not see their babies, but there are mothers all around us.
Young women, healthy women, unmarked families who are the one in four who have lost their babies in pregnancy or early childhood.
We may not see their children, but their families have their birthdays engraved into their mental consciousness like a deep cut into their souls- that day will never go away for them, though it is never celebrated or recognized by others.
And yet their children are real. They lived, they breathed, their tiny hearts likely beat blood through their four chambers, and their very being became part of the mothers and families who made them.
They still carry their identity. They still carry that grief.
These mothers’ bodies are certainly not broken for having lost, but they are broken for the silence that surrounds them. They are only broken for others having forgotten.
So if you know a one in four, speak their childrens’ names if they had one. Practice speaking it out loud, whether it be one or one thousand days since they passed.
Make their existence known in the present, still, for their desire to have lived is not any lesser.
This morning I walked out the door to free the chickens from the coop, and for the first time this year, my boots crunched into the fuzzy blades of grass, concreting my footsteps into frosty markers of where I’d been. Thick, dreamy clouds lifted off the lake on the horizon, the sun struggling to make its way through the challenge the morning brought.
Then only moments later, as I wrapped my jacket around my ever-growing waistline, watching the chickens noisily pecking over their morning breakfast, the sun suddenly worked its magic, and there, brighter than bright, fiercer than fierce, she still rose.
As one in four families around us remember their babies lost, this Infant and Fertility Loss Awareness Day on October 15th, take a moment to remember, appreciate, and marvel in their resilience and strength. Move past the shameful excuses you have to choose not to.
At the very least, light a small candle Sunday evening and watch its flame. Watch as it battles to bring heat, one air molecule at a time, bringing a warm glow to a dark room. Watch as it goes out, too, and remember and appreciate what feeling it brought to you, instead of forgetting what is no longer. Feel that feeling, feel that loss.
And then on Monday, and any following day for that matter, reach out to your one in four. Validate them in their feelings of loss, for perhaps the very first time.
Let their memories be real, to each of you. Let them live.