Today is pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. October 15th. A day to bring awareness to 70% of the population about what 30% of us go through. I say that as present tense. Losing a baby isn’t a one time event… it’s a life-long journey. Bringing awareness to this doesn’t bring our babies back and it doesn’t make us hurt any less. But I think it does educate others and I hope that it broadens understanding and deepens our compassion and love for one another. I hope my little post does that for you if you are in the 70% that has never lost a child.
I’ve lost two babies. They went straight from my womb to heaven… 10 months apart. I never got to see them smile or learn what color eyes they had… green like John or blue like me. I never will know if they would have had brown hair like John or blond hair like me… or even red hair like their Pap. I never got to hear them laugh or see their first steps. I never heard their cry in the middle of the night or rocked them while they slept. I didn’t just lose a baby when I miscarried. I lost a lifetime. It changed me forever.
Losing my first two children broke my heart. Shattered it. After our first miscarriage I walked around in a fog for months. I desperately wanted to enjoy life again and go back to the happily innocent existence I had before. But losing a child is a loss of that innocence. You can’t go back to the person you were before. There were days when I wondered if I would ever be able to make it 24 hours without crying. I wish I could adequately express the pain in my soul, but I can’t. Losing a child is a ripping sort of pain. It tears and tears at your heart.
Time passed and just when my heart began to heal it was ripped wide open again with the loss of our second child. Again, days passed through a fog of grief and months went by with tears always waiting just below the surface. Holidays broke my heart. Easter came… he would have been born right about now. Christmas came… it should have been his first with us. What if? My birthday came and we went to my favorite restaurant. I could barely eat my food. It had been the restaurant we ate in the night before he went to heaven. I learned to plaster a smile on my face… one that never quite reached my eyes. I learned to go through the motions of life. I learned how to “fake it ’til you make it.”
And one day I did make it. One day I was able to trust that God had a plan in all of this. One day I was able to open my tightly clenched fists and surrender my hopes, shattered dreams, and wasted plans to Him. That’s when healing started to settle in and heal I did. But it took a couple years to get to that point and I have two very big scars on my heart that will never leave. Scars that remind me of my children and the journey I took to become who I am today. Scars that show me that it can all be taken away in an instant and you’re left with empty arms. Scars that make me hold my babies on earth just a little longer at night. Scars that make me a better mother than I would be without them.
Healing doesn’t mean that all the hurting stops. It means that I’m not bitter and angry anymore. It means that I’ve stopped asking “why?” because I know that I won’t know the answer to that until heaven. It means that I have learned to live in the present and hope for the future rather than grieve over the past. But there’s not a single day that passes that I don’t think about the children I lost. It’s not often, but there are still occasional nights that I cry on my pillow. It’s the thorn in my side that won’t leave… but it makes me call out to God and deepens my faith.
And I look forward to heaven just a little more than before. Because I know I have two precious babies waiting for me… and I can’t wait to hold them in my arms for the very first time.
IN DEEPEST LOVE AND ACHING FOR
ASHER STEPHEN CASPER (09-16-06) and CYRUS JOHN CASPER (07-10-07)