Back in September, my husband I participated in a Walk to Remember event put on by our local Share organization. It was an event that we participated in last year, 7 months after the birth of our stillborn son. I remember being at the event last year and seeing so many families there with small “rainbow” babies. I remember seeing pregnant women there and aching to be one of them, to have a hope of another child in our lives. We were 5 months into trying for a second child and not succeeding. We were back to our infertility struggle that started almost 3 years prior.
I was miserable and broken.
I vividly remember sitting there at the event, looking at all the babies and pregnant women, feeling bitterness. The sight of them literally brought tears to my eyes and I envied them with all of my being. I wanted to be holding a baby. If I couldn’t hold the beautiful boy we lost, then I wanted to be holding a sibling for him or expecting one on the way.
I wanted some sort of hope in my life.
At that point, I had none, nothing to look forward to but more time spent struggling.
Flash forward to this year, one month prior to the walk our twin daughters were born. Personally, I struggled with whether or not to take them to the event. I remember the feeling I had last year, the sadness and bitterness. I didn’t want to be the cause of that pain for anyone else. At the same time, I wanted my daughters to be there. I wanted them to be able to be a part of an event remembering the brother who came before them. It was important to me to do something for their brother since the last month was consumed with living the life of parents to newborn twins and I felt like he was being neglected.
I understood the struggle that those families, whom I was bitter towards last year most likely felt; torn between the child they lost and the children they are raising.
The need for the whole family to participate in something to remember the missing child and to honor that child’s existence in their lives.
Ultimately, I decided to bring the girls to the event. We kept them in their car seats under covers during the memorial service, hidden in the back of the church with my husband. It felt good to have the girls at an event to remember and recognize their older brother. We attended as a family to honor the one missing piece. I hope that by keeping them fairly hidden, I protected the feelings of other loss families in attendance. Life after loss is so challenging and the last thing I want to do is inflict more pain on those who are already hurting.
Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash