October is here.
In my world, this means crisp leaves and chunky sweaters and it also means participating in Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The month of October is widely recognized as a time to honor those families who know the experience of losing a baby.
It might sound depressing to participate in a month dedicated to baby loss, but I actually look forward to it.
I look forward to the ways in which it strengthens the camaraderie in what I refer to as our “loss community.” There is such an air of generosity. Everyone is eager to gift each other with beautiful keepsakes and countless opportunities to recognize the babies we are living without.
It’s also a chance to learn and to educate others. There are awareness campaigns that share statistics and testimonials depicting our varied experiences. I am always so grateful to those who are committed to doing their part in breaking the silence around pregnancy and infant loss.
We are talking all year long, but Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month can help raise our voices.
With everything going on, it almost feels like a time to celebrate. I often feel myself getting swept up in the enthusiasm of a month dedicated just to us — the families who had to say goodbye to their babies. I will usually think to myself, “This is great, this is all our community wants. A chance to recognize our experiences.”
Except, that’s not true.
There is something else we want more than a month raising awareness about our heartbreak.
We want our babies back. There could be a million Octobers and it would never make up for the fact that what we really want is a lifetime. We want a lifetime with the babies we lost too soon.
This is the other side of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Yes, we know how important this month is. In fact, one in four women knows exactly how important this month is. October is ours and I know how much we look forward to the opportunity it gives us to speak our truth and share our babies.
I also know that this month, with all of its beauty and light, is another moment for us to reflect on why we need this month in the first place.
My feelings of longing will not change my affection for this month. During October, I will happily participate in Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I will light my candle for the Wave of Light. I will share graphics with my daughter’s name and blog posts about our story. I will wear pink and blue to raise awareness and in the midst of it all, I will be acutely aware of one thing.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month will always be a substitute for what is missing and it will never be enough.
So, to quote Anne of Green Gables; “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” But, I also want to say that I would always be ready to trade a world where Octobers reside for a world that my baby can live in instead.
Read more from the author at her blog, An Unexpected Family Outing