Twin Cities Mom Collective

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness | Getting Up Again

I don’t have a first-grader.

That keeps running through my head, and I don’t know where it came from.
Back to school season has never been a reminder of babies lost, but this year, it was.

Sometimes, I see the hole where my Hattie is supposed to be so unexpectedly.
I found myself thinking of the family roll-call, the ones moms and dads yell down the street when playtime is over and it’s time to come in for dinner:

Sophia, Evelyn, Hattie, Wesley!

But she’s not there. I don’t have a first-grader. And that’s not sad because one of my girls moved on to second. It’s hard because I allowed myself go down the hole that she’s supposed to be in. I wondered if she’d get the same first grade teacher we had last year, where her desk would be, three girls climbing on the bus. But I don’t have a first grader, so for me, imagining that beautiful picture is a hard image to recover from.

I really think the shower is the best place to cry because it feels less intense. You can’t feel the tears burning out down your cheek if you turn the temperature hot enough. You can cry as quietly as possibly so the running water covers it even from your own ears. So you don’t have to admit it. Even to yourself.

There is a hole where my first grader is supposed to be, and some of you are walking with that hole too, whether it’s first or kinder, middle school even. A place your person was supposed to be. So you let the water run down your back. And sometimes, you kneel down and even put you head in your hands and just let the water run. The trouble with being there, and anywhere else is that once you’re down you don’t know if you can get back up.

The load feels heavy, the feelings thick, the breathing hard. And sometimes you have to remember that what it takes to stand again is already in you. You already have plenty of times before, so I know that you can now.

We can figure out breathing next, but for now, just get up.

I said this over a year ago, but had forgotten, and in a low moment last month a friend quoted me back to myself. We so often forget what’s already in us and what we already know.  Now it’s running in my head on harder days and maybe you need that in your head too.

I don’t have a first grader but I can get up.

We can figure out breathing next, but for now, just get up.

The rest follows suit, it always does, but for now, get up.

I often hate to be that girl. The one that keeps talking about this, but I remember feeling alone and I just can’t let you stay there too. Even if you only ever hear this virtually, let me say to you:

You are not alone and your loss mattered. Your heart matters, the person you became because of it all matters. You matter.

The stats say “1 in 4,” because 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss, but the truth is that ONE IN THREE WOMEN will experience either miscarriage or the loss of a child at some point after birth. One-third of us want to speak our normal and while some of you may have needed to hear you aren’t alone in any way, I’m asking that if you’re on the other side of this supporting friends,you hear this: We are asking you to walk alongside us in it. We need you to help us normalize our normal by simply allowing it to be a constantly open discussion. Be open to hearing, be open to asking. Be open to the fact that it’s uncomfortable and awkward, but that silence breeds loneliness and hurt while uncomfortable and awkward tells a friend you’re willing to feel a little weird if it means she’s cared for.

When someone lets me comfortably talk about my experience, I feel safer, more confident and, actually, more normal. Let’s be women that allow that space to become more comfortable, to speak and to hear, in this type of pain and all others.

I do not like to celebrate this day, that word does not feel right, but I do want to mark and note it alongside you. I want you to know that you matter and you have a safe space to talk about your baby.

It became incredibly important to me that the lives of my lost little ones were marked and it was important to me to find a way for you to mark the lives of the children you have lost. We have a Forever Loved wall where you can do just that. Know that we stand with you in your pain and your loss and in remembering the baby you will never forget. To add your baby to the Forever Loved wall – click the photo below.

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Baby loss may not be your struggle. If you’re walking through something different, we have a number of articles where our writer’s share what they’re going through, in various ways. You can find those in the post linked below.

Most importantly, if your struggle feels like too much and you’re not sure where to go with that, please look at the list of resources linked below and reach out for help. Admitting a need for help is a courageous act, and often, we just need to know where to go for help. Find that guide by clicking the image at the bottom.

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