Three years ago I was laying in bed as much as I could. I was sick. Thankfully, it was the best kind of sick. The way that I get super sick and struggle to function in my first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy. Hyperemesis was the game, and I was playing heavy defense just to keep up. But like all moms say — it’s worth it. So worth it to be sick all day, cling to your bed or couch like it’s your best friend. Eat anything you possibly can that doesn’t turn your stomach. Avoid every food, smell, or picture that makes you run for the bathroom. All so worth it though.
We bought pumpkins that October to announce our newest little member who would be joining our family. We shared that news almost exactly 3 years ago. We were thrilled, and fingers crossed, we were going to have another boy so our Jack could have a little brother. It was kind of perfect.
I had the same due date with both of my babies, which also just so happened to be my birthday. I mean, what are the odds? So I was very familiar with this timeline from my first pregnancy. Exit the first trimester right before Thanksgiving and move into the second for the holidays. Celebrate the holidays feeling baby kicks! Then kick off the new year with the big anatomical ultrasound. With Jack I was so nervous. So scared something would be wrong. With baby #2, I didn’t even think twice about it, until seconds before I walked into the ultrasound room.
It was that day that my life changed forever. We learned that something was wrong with our baby. That day started what we would eventually know — our son would die. We walked a hard road. We grieved and we changed, and we are different people now. Our second son changed me for the better. I miss Gabriel every day.
I think what has surprised me most about this road of losing a child is that I’m not alone on it. I’m not the first woman to lose her baby, and unfortunately, I won’t be the last. There are so many women who have lost their babies. There are so many reasons why.
The numbers are astounding. A general number people give is 1 in 4. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss, whether that’s through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death.
Over 23,000 infants died in the US in 2013. My baby is included in that number.
Stillbirth affects 1 in 160 pregnancies — about 1% of all pregnancies.
Any woman of child-bearing age has a 10-25% chance of having a miscarriage, with increased rates — as high as 50% — based on history and maternal age.
So what does all of this mean? It’s all around us. We are all impacted by pregnancy and infant loss whether it’s something we have walked through personally or we know someone who has. Most of us have someone in our lives who we love who has lost their baby. There is still a lot of shame, still a stigma around this topic. Women still have a hard time sharing about their babies, and many have endured much heartache suffering through it alone. No one should have to walk through the grief of losing a child alone. That’s what days like today are for. They’re here to remind us all to REMEMBER. Remember the babies who are no longer with us. Remember the mamas, the daddies, the siblings, and the families who miss their babies every day. Time goes on but we never forget. It means the world to have our babies remembered. I want to encourage you today to take some time to love on those who have lost. Let them know you remember them in their grief. Do something to honor and remember their baby. Even if it’s as small as a text, it will mean so much to them.
Tonight is the Wave of Light. At 7pm in your time zone, would you light a candle? The candles are lit in remembrance of the babies we have lost. It’s an amazing way to show others that we care and they aren’t alone. This will be our 3rd year lighting a candle in memory of our Gabriel and all of the other babies who are no longer here. Please light at candle with us and take a picture!
I run a small group called Project Gabriel. We are here to support women who have lost a baby. If you have lost a baby, would you check us out? Even if you haven’t lost personally, we would love your support! You can find us at our website, on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you are walking through this, please know that you aren’t alone. You are remembered and you are loved. We are here, too.
Today I send a big XOXO to all of my fellow mamas who have had to say goodbye to their babies. You are strong and amazing.