On this Memorial Day, I remember my baby.
Many people remember their lost loved ones on Memorial Day. Before now it hasn’t been that big of a deal to me. Most of the people in my extended family who have died in my lifetime, have mostly been older or not close to me, and so it hasn’t impacted me as deeply. This year is different.
Our culture doesn’t talk about about death very much, and too often people don’t know what to say to someone who is grieving. We do have some rituals around death, but for miscarriages and even stillbirths, we do not have any rituals. Many people never tell anyone they’ve lost a baby, and some choose to wait to announce pregnancies until after certain time periods. (I’m not criticizing you if you have chosen to do that <3). I’m a shout-it-out-before-the-pee-is-dry-on-the-stick girl, personally. It was hard enough telling people who knew we were pregnant, but it was much harder telling people who didn’t know.
The death of a baby is not like any other death. I never got to see my baby laugh. I never got to hear her voice. I never got to see if she looks like Mama or Daddy or Sissy. I do not even know if it was a boy or a girl, tho’ I assume girl since we have two already. She’s a person I am missing getting to know. No one else knows and thinks about a baby daily during pregnancy like Mama does. So often, Mama is the only one who remembers her lost babies–alone.
I do not have the memory of little things that she would have said, or her sisters would have said about her. Instead, I have a 2 year-old who asks “Why our baby is in Heaven?” and “When are we going to get another baby?” :’(
Right now, one of the worst parts is no one else remembers my baby with me. No one even asks how I am. I should be pregnant. I should be getting ready to birth in a few weeks. Instead my womb is empty. My belly isn’t big with a growing child. I am not waiting for life. I am waiting for the day to pass that I would see my baby.
You may be reading this and thinking, “I don’t know what to say! What if I say the wrong thing.” Yes, it can be easy to say something that might hurt someone’s feelings, but if you stick with a simple, “I’m sorry for your loss,” and a hug, you cannot go wrong. Weep with those who weep, and laugh with those who laugh. Yes, some people may not look sad, but I would guess there are very few who do not remember their lost babies with sadness and who would not appreciate a hug or a remembrance.
An aunt gave me a hug and cried with me. A friend sent me a card when she found out. You can send a message and say, “I remember with you.” That means so much to know that on this day, I’m not the only one who knows there’s a person who is missing in my life.
What if you didn’t have a place to go and remember your child? What if you had a D&C and did not get to hold your precious little one? I am sorry. I have a friend who had made her own mourning ritual. Every year she goes to the ocean with a friend. I am making a necklace with my Ella Rayne’s conception month, passing month and due month, along with my other two children’s birthstones.
Please share your story in the comments below, and I will remember your little ones with you. :candle