Before we lost Harper, I knew very little about baby loss. I had family members and friends that had lost babies, but no one really talked about it. The medical world likes to classify it as a miscarriage or a stillbirth, depending on how far along in the pregnancy one is, and I think that carries over to the rest of us, too. Somehow, a miscarriage is supposed to be not a big deal. The baby could not have survived outside the womb, so you should just get over it and move on.
I have to admit that I had thoughts like that, too. It's ugly, and I'm not proud of it, but I'm being honest. But, God has given me a heart to understand through this experience. All babies, no matter how long they lived, they all matter. They lived. God knew them. If you were his/her mommy, even if it was too early to know whether you were carrying a boy or girl, you are still their mommy, and they matter.
I sometimes think I had it easier because Harper was born at 33 weeks. I delivered her in the hospital. I was treated like any other mother in labor. Offered comfort measures, allowed to labor in the water when I needed to. I held my baby. I kissed her cheek. I touched her little hands and toes. I had pictures taken of her. We were able to keep her with us the entire time we were there. I know this is not the case at all hospitals, but I am so grateful that we were in a place with compassionate people who got it.
My heart just hurts for moms who don't have that acknowledgement. Who choose to have a D&C or D&E because they can't bear the thought of going through the physical pain. Who choose to have their miscarriage at home, whether using medication, or waiting for it to happen naturally. They are alone, in pain, physically and emotionally, and there is no acknowledgement. They birth their tiny babies and are then left to decide what to do. Many of them have to go right back to work, if they work outside the home. Their families can be unsympathetic, or their families may not even know that there was a baby to begin with. I cannot imagine the sorrow of trying to pretend, of not being able to talk about my child, of having to go back to work the next day. Just know that my heart aches for you, and you are just as much a mother as anyone with living children.
I am sad to say that this happens within the baby loss community as well. Moms who have had babies that were still born expressing anger for a mom who had a miscarriage trying to tell them they understand. Psalm 139:13 says, "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb". Jeremiah 1:5 says, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb". God knew them. He loved them. They matter. They matter just as much as the babies that are here on earth.
October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. There are "walks to remember" taking place all over the world and this country during the month of October. In Baton Rouge, the walk will be on October 5th at Forest Community Park. You can register for the walk by going here. If you have not experienced a loss, we would be honored if you would walk in memory of Harper. If you have had a loss, I encourage you to walk in memory of your baby.