When people look at me they see a lot.
Some may thing I look nice. Some may think I look unapproachable and cold. Some may think I look like I have all my shit together. Some may think I look like a hot mess. Funny, crazy, confident, strange, friendly, cold. When you look at anyone, you make assumptions about them. That’s human nature.
But, on top of the things people think I look like, do I look like someone who’s baby died?
Do I look like someone who has had 4 pregnancies, but only hold 2 of my children?
Do I look like someone who watched their child fight for his life? Who had to decide if burying, or cremating, their baby seemed like the right choice?
Do I look like someone who cried on my couch for 3 full days after I found out I had miscarried my first? Who went through the physical and emotional pain of losing a baby that I never got to meet or hold.
No, I don’t. Because who does? The scars we get from child loss are inside. Not out. Those scars are deep, and angry looking. They unfortunately don’t heal very well.
Death doesn’t discriminate. When it decides that it’s your child’s time to go, it just takes. Regardless of who you are and how good of a person you try to be.
Miscarriage and infant loss happens to 1 in 4 women. A quarter. That’s a huge number. Congenital heart disease affects 1 in 100 children. Many CHDs result in a significantly reduced life span. The life with a child that has a chronic, life threatening illness or disease is hard. It’s worth every minute. But it’s hard. It’s stressful. It changes every tiny aspect of your life.
A miscarriage is devastating. You always hold that baby in your heart. Never meeting a life that’s grown inside of your body is shattering.
Talking about this isn’t for pity, or to scare anyone about having children. Half of the children who I’ve been fortunate to carry aren’t with me. But I wouldn’t change a single decision that I made.
For my first, the joy and excitement that I felt when I was carrying was exhilarating. Every pregnancy I had after had a bit of a looming shadow, the fear that comes after you’ve experienced a pregnancy loss.
My two healthy boys are the best things in my life. I love every tiny thing about them. Killian’s pregnancy, delivery, life and death is the most significant thing that has ever happened in my life. I’m so grateful I was chosen to be him Mom. It’s making me a better mom. A better wife. A better person. Every journey I’ve had with my children has been worth the happy moments and also worth the heart breaking ones.
But look around you. Look at your friends and family. Look at the women, and men, you see walking down the street every day. You simply don’t know who is in the trenches of the worst battle they’ve ever fought. More than you would ever guess are experiencing pain that is indescribable. Be it from miscarriage, the death of a child, grandchild, niece or nephew. They may still be fighting the fight with their baby, trying to keep them safe with every breath they take.
So please, be kind as often as you can. Be gentle. Because just like me, you can’t see the scars that they have inside. You don’t see what happens behind closed doors when the nights are long and hard reminders of what’s missing.
I’ve chosen to talk about this. And I’ve chosen to talk loud. Most don’t. So please please please, even when you don’t want to be, try to be compassionate and kind. It’s true what the cliche saying says. “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about”.