As the month of October ends, it signifies the close of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The many stories of triumph over tragedy are inspiring. It’s a joy to see that healing is possible when you put in the work and fight to thrive after experiencing the devastation of infant loss.
It’s been refreshing to hear the tales of hope and to witness the many acts of courage.
To reach such a place of restoration is honorable. However, I’m still haunted by one reality that’s bought my membership into this life-altering club: I buried my baby.
While discussing infant loss during a women’s conference, I was surprised to see the subject being framed as a badge of honor. October is a month of awareness, yet it is sometimes referenced as if it is a celebration. I guess surviving such a loss is worth celebrating. And having a community of support surely deserves some rejoicing.
But experiencing pregnancy and infant loss is no pleasure.
In as much as we’ve found ways to honor our babies lives by celebrating their birth, we must not allow anyone to sugarcoat our experience and forget the horror in having to bury your child.
The process of selecting a coffin for a tiny 3-4 lb. baby is heart-wrenching.
Trying to find an outfit to fit his tiny body is emotionally exhausting.
Organizing a funeral service to honor shattered dreams of a life cut short is dreadful.
Seeing that pile of dirt waiting to cover your promise of motherhood is agonizing.
To have your baby lowered into a hole in the ground, never to be seen again, is horrendous.
It’s an image that leaves no room for celebration. And for many families, it’s a nightmare that never ends.
So, yes, we’ve found creative ways to cope. There are support groups within our communities. We host beautiful memorial events in remembrance of our sweet babies. Our social media pages have become platforms of consciousness offering hope to others in this life after loss.
And yes, many of us have gone on to live fulfilling lives in ways that we never imagined possible.
But we can never erase the pain of experiencing pregnancy and infant loss.
As admirable as it may be that we’ve gained the strength to survive, we will never forget the horror.
It’s not always rainbows and sunshine.
I buried my baby.
Remember the horror.
Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash
Kierra Sunae’ is an infant loss advocate committed to supporting families on their healing journey of life after infant death. As a wife and mom who has triumphed over tragedy, she is a ray of sunshine determined to make grieving hearts smile again… one footprint at a time.