The Hankerer has been pretty quiet over the last few months but I’d like to restart with a fitting post.
Today is National Baby Loss Awareness Day in the UK and International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day in the US. I lost my hanker because I was grieving for our pregnancies that had ended too soon and after the stress of multiple losses the smaller things just didn’t matter to me for a while.
This evening a ‘Wave of Light’ will commence globally in remembrance of babies that have died in pregnancy, or during or after birth. At 7pm, candles will be lit and burned for an hour and as people do this in different time zones, a wave of light will spread across the world.
One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage and every day in the UK 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth. That is a huge number of grieving parents but still it seems taboo to talk about it and people don’t know how to react or what to say. I found the silence the hardest thing to deal with.
My husband and I didn’t meet our three would-be babies but the attachment I feel to them is very real. Whether they were medically considered clumps of cells, embryos or fetuses, they were babies to us. These failed pregnancies represent possibilities lost. We had planned for them, we had a bedroom for them, we had light-heartedly bickered over names, researched prams that would fit in my tiny car boot, bought maternity bras and imagined their faces and characteristics. I witnessed the flicker of the tiny heartbeat only for it not to be there at the next scan. I willed them to keep growing, tried in vain to stop my body miscarrying and bargained with God that if this one could make it… In life we have control over most things; we have come to expect it. The lack of control over miscarriage is maddening and humbling all at once. I am a person who needs a plan and I didn’t have a plan for this.
We will be lighting three candles this evening in remembrance of the three miscarriages I’ve had over the last year and I will always love them and remember them as my babies.