I’m coming up on an important milestone. And I’m going to be spending it in a heartbreaking place. Saturday, September 23rd will mark ten years since Nate and Sam died.
That very day, I’ll be at the International Stillbirth Alliance conference in Cork, Ireland. On the Saturday night, there will be a memorial service for all our babies gone too soon, at the beautiful St Fin Barre Cathedral. I can’t quite say I’m looking forward to it, although if I am to spend it anywhere, I can’t think of any place more wonderful. I’ll be surrounded by my sisters in sorrow. There will be plenty of other people around who understand. But they’re also all strangers.
I went to the conference in 2015, when it was in Vancouver. There I attended as a parent, listening to the talks and learning about research into stillbirth. This time I’m going as a researcher, and will be presenting work I’ve done on changing the language around miscarriage (to miscarriage, instead of spontaneous abortion, which I’ve written about before). It will be a whole different experience, and I’m not sure how it’s going to go.
I’m intimidated by researchers who have specialized in this area, people who have MDs and PhDs after their names! I’m not a stranger to research, it is my job after all, but this is a whole other element. Over time, researchers tend to get to know one another well when they work in the same field. You see one another at the same conferences, write papers together, give feedback on one another’s work. I’m not part of that at all. I move in a completely different circle. Even though I’ve written a book about pregnancy after a loss, Joy at the End of the Rainbow, I’m terrified of negative feedback!
And I’m doing it on one of the most emotionally charged days of my life. Will I be able to hold it together and be professional? Will I be taken seriously?
My husband will be home, with our living children. We won’t be together to bake a cake, to honour our sons together as we usually do. How will he manage without me? How will I manage without him?
I guess we’re about to find out!