I am the mother of three amazing boys, two living and one in Heaven, our guardian angel. Though my youngest was with us for only a few days, he was and is a huge part of our family. But how does that translate to a random stranger who innocently asks you that question?
My answer changes with each conversation. Sometimes I say two boys, sometimes I say three but stop at that, and sometimes I do go into a little more detail about our sweet little boy. I feel guilty for not including all of our boys, I feel guilty for telling people I have three boys, leading them to believe I have three boys here with me, and I feel guilty if I tell them the truth and then see that awkward foot in their mouth look they give me. Guilt, guilt, guilt.
That was 2013. This is 2014: I’m done with the guilt. Time after time, I’ve talked to women and men who have the same inner struggles; people who have lost babies through miscarriage, prematurity, sickness, or unforeseeable causes and couples who battle infertility, and long to see that plus sign on the pregnancy test. Why do we feel so much unspoken pressure to silently put these experiences behind us and move on with a smile as if nothing happened?
We live in a society that openly discusses and embraces the amazing efforts to raise awareness around causes such as breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and heart disease, just to name a few. But why is something like the loss of a baby still such a taboo subject?
Miscarriage happens to more women than breast cancer. Odds are, if not you, than someone you know has suffered from a miscarriage. These women and their partners struggle silently, feeling guilty that they feel so sad, knowing it was still early. Often people tell me they feel bad talking about their struggles in front of me because my baby was born and lived days before he passed away. That is so heartbreaking to me. A baby is a baby, no matter how long they are with us. As soon as parents see the positive test, or hear the first heartbeat, that baby becomes part of their family. It’s not fair for them to cry alone late at night or fall into depression without feeling like they can or should talk about it.
No matter how it happens, losing a baby or trying for years to conceive, has become a daily and even hourly occurrence. Yet we still don’t talk about it. This is why, in 2014, I pledge to share my story as often as I can, to reach out to as many women that I can who have gone through these heartbreaking experiences and tell them they have a support group in me. I realize everyone is different, everyone grieves differently and if you’re not up for sharing your story that’s okay. But I hope by sharing my story we can start a conversation, and get rid of the taboo. Lets talk, people! For those of you reading who are lucky enough never to have experienced this, you can help by spreading the word. Encourage people to give their REAL number and be proud of it. Talk about it with your family, coworkers, your friends, anyone. Just talk. Women and men everywhere will thank you.by Sara Raak