Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | October 12, 2012

remembering those who have lost

As a general principal, I think that people take life for granted. It is hard to truly appreciate what you have until you have already lost it or if you really have to struggle to get it in the first place. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Did you have any idea that we even had a month to honor this? In 1988 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as a month of tribute and in a moving speech he said,

“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, their isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”

I have truly taken for granted my ability to have children. I never really thought about it. I was able to get pregnant very easily both times and, all things considered, I had easy goes with both (a little hiccup with E at the end and some serious morning sickness, but still). Before having my kids, I didn’t think much about struggling to get pregnant or losing a child. I had a close childhood friend who had to go through IVF to conceive her kids, perhaps I wrote that off, simply saying “that won’t happen to me.” I knew someone back in Kansas who had gone through multiple miscarriages trying to have her second child, but I honestly wasn’t that close to her so her traumas perhaps didn’t touch me as much then. Writing this makes me remember the weekend I spent in South Carolina nearly 10 years ago when the friend that I was with miscarried on our first night of vacation. Apparently, I managed to block that from my memory.

See, most women of a certain age talk a great deal about having children. Get women together and inevitably there are birth stories that will get discussed.  We moms are constantly posting photos online and updating our Facebook statuses with cute things that our kids said or did. But, what about the families that have struggled? Having a baby is supposed to be easy. Something our bodies were made to do. But that isn’t always the case. Even two of the Dixie Chicks have suffered from this and they wrote a song about how hard it can be. There seems to be some unwritten rule in our society however that our social media personas focus on the positive. Heck, we are supposed to be positive offline too. Depression and loss are things that we don’t talk about, even though we should. We are social beings. Talking helps many of us deal with the issues in our lives, good and bad. Knowing that someone else has gone through a similar situation can help us recover. Not only that, but hiding what you are feeling can sometimes make you feel even more alone and more depressed.

That is why I am in such awe of a friend of mine. A year ago, she lost her son during VBAC. Now, she has channeled her pain, her bravery and her intelligence to create an organization called The Hummingbird Network. It is a network to “to help parents and young children struggling with any kind of loss.”

I honestly cannot fathom losing a child. Now, however, I have three local friends who have lost a baby during delivery in the last 18 months and others who have had similar losses in the past. It makes me catch my breath. I know the sense of relief I had when I heard my baby’s cries after an emergency c-section. I can’t even begin to say that I comprehend the pain that they go through by not hearing that cry or by only hearing it for a very short time.  I don’t know their pain, I can only offer my love.

Monday, October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. A group of us locally will have an eco-friendly balloon release that day. It is a somber event, but the stories deserve to be told.



  1. Thanks for this Michelle. It means so much to have supportive friends when suffering through something as traumatic as losing a baby. I never thought multiple miscarriage or stillbirth would happen to me either, but it did and it is a tragedy that occurs far too often. Thank you for speaking out about this and for helping to educate others. xoxo– Whitney

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