When I was still pregnant with Jack, I read a lot of blogs where babies were lost during early pregnancy, through still birth, and SIDs. My only experiences in real life were through my mother who had a still born child 33 years or so ago, midway through her pregnancy... She never even saw or held the baby. Doesn't know whether it was a boy or a girl. Growing up we all knew about the baby that was before us, but they didn't talk much about that baby. Maybe it was just too painful for them, or maybe they put this behind them after successfully having the four of us. Don't know.
I've also had a few friends and family dealing with infertility and some early miscarriages as well, however for the most part I didn't know about these situations until months or years after their baby(ies?) were born. I wish I could have been more helpful, I'm sure I was guilty of saying the wrong things, as sensitive as I tried to be about the situation. I hope that now, moving forward, I will know what to say, though I truly hope I never need to.
When I was pregnant, I would read Faces Of Loss, and would feel so bad for the ladies who told their stories there. But I knew this was a possibility, and I worried about what I would do if I found myself in that situation... I think that's part of the reason I decided to start blogging after Jack, because I knew writing about it would be cathartic for me somehow... One day, when I gather enough courage, I hope to post Jack's story there too. I remember scouring the interwebs to find out about infant loss, and in particular things such as organ donation and obviously Meningitis. I tried to talk to my husband about this stuff, but his eyes would glaze over. He just couldn't talk about it anymore- we grieve very differently. Instead, I searched for people who I could relate to in one way or another as no one in my real life, through no fault of their own, knew what THIS was like.
And instead of finding the exact thing I was searching for, I found all of you.
I remember the day I stumbled across Brandy's Faces of Loss post only a few days after losing Jack and literally having an "ah ha" moment (tipping my hat to Oprah for that phrase). I remember nodding my head as I read her words- her words felt like mine, her thoughts? Mine too. Even though the source of our losses were different, I felt like I had just found my twin BLM. I'm sure Brandy is rolling her eyes as she reads this, but it's true. I was so thankful to know I wasn't crazy, that what I was feeling was normal and even expected for having gone through this shit. I'm so thankful for finding this community of BLMs- a community I didn't even realize existed in this way until I found myself with a non-refundable membership.
Since Jack died, a lot of people in my "real" life have come forward to share their stories of loss and also of hope. People I knew to have children, but never knew had lost children too. Each of these people have taken the cards they had been dealt, thrown them in the air and re-arranged them to formulate a livable life in the best way they knew how. A life that exists despite a baby in Heaven. A life in which they can laugh, and love, and keep on hoping for a better day. Despite what I had expected, there was no discernible gaping hole, a giant chunk of their very being missing. Their scars were invisible, yet were revealed while they spoke about their babies.
So I guess what I'm getting at is sometimes I feel like if I keep talking about Jack's death, maybe baby loss won't be seen as taboo, at least not in my circle.
Moving forward, if people ask me whether I have kids, or whether this is my first (you know, once I am pregnant again), I'll tell my story. Perhaps not vomiting the whole sad tale on the table, but by utilizing some of the explainations many of you use. I like the idea of saying, "I have a beautiful little boy, but he didn't make it". People can ask more questions or they can get all awkward if they want, and that's fine too. I hate that I worry about hurting other people's feelings and worry how they may react. I mean, technically that's THEIR problem, not mine, right? If my story scares them, or saddens them, or worries them? Well, maybe they need to take the blinders off and and realize that shitty stuff does indeed happen to good people... And if that means they kiss their kiddos an extra time before leaving the house, or that they thank their lucky stars it is not they who is missing a baby, maybe there's purpose to be found in that.
This experience is nothing to be ashamed of, and it's part of what makes me who I am today, despite my wishes my life had a different path. At the end of the day, if I'm asked about Baby J, I'll answer as openly and honestly if I can.
I am just like any other mother- I love to tell stories of Jack. It's just too bad there will be no new stories.