“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
-This photo was provided by Dawn and Issacc Ikener, in loving memory of their son, Keiran Michael.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. The loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy or after birth has far reaching consequences for parents, family members, friends and everyone with whom we interact. It is impossible to put into words, the full scope of such a loss.
The above quote by Maya Angelou is meaningful because it addresses an often unspoken sadness for bereaved families. That ‘untold story’ is our future without our children. And while some of us go on to have more children, the impact of that specific child with a future untold, is forever bittersweet.
In reality, even the tiniest of babies, the earliest of pregnancy losses, can leave our hearts heavy and aching. Sometimes in society there is a misconception that a child’s value is based on gestation or age at the time of death. But it is our personal attachment, our hopes and dreams, our love for who that child would have grown to be, even the essence of who we are as women, which dictates our grieving. There is great sadness in the loss of that missing piece of our future.
My heart goes out this month, to the many families who have experienced early losses. These families have few tangible memories, few photographs and mementos. They have had the least amount of time with their babies. I also hold close to my heart, the families who are newly grieving the deaths of their children. It feels impossible some days to move forward in hope and healing. I tenderly remember and honor the bereaved families I have met over the years and who have inspired me with their courage. I think often of the families who move slowly and painfully into their futures, unable to tell the story inside of them, isolated by loss.
For me, the gift of Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Awareness month is the permission it brings to grieve openly, to celebrate our families and to find our way together. It is my hope that in remembering and in sharing our stories with each other and our loved ones, that some peace of mind can find its way into the hearts of grieving parents everywhere.