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A Spritiual Walk to Remember

10/17/2012

Belle

I’ve been struggling with whether or not to post this. Partially because it might sound ridiculous to some people, partially because I’m terrified of jinxing what is currently occurring in my uterus. After much soul-searching, though, I realize that to not do this for fear of some people judging or laughing is ridiculous and up there with not studying for my math test during lunch for fear of looking like a nerd (for the record, this happened a lot in school and thanks to my fear of being “nerdy” – which I already was – I now suck at math!). I also realize that jinxing pregnancies does. not. happen. If so, every blogger who took her BFP with a positive outlook and optimism would have lost their baby and that just is not true (thank goodness!). 

Thank you for all the support and enlightening comments on my “woe is Belle” post about the Walk to Remember. An Offering of Love left an excellent comment that really made me think:

“… It was interesting to read the comments to this post regarding families who brought children to the event. I certainly see how it was painful for you, but I see the other side too. i have good friends who just attended a similar event in their state. This couple went through multiple, multiple rounds of IVF to have their first; then multiple rounds of IVF and multiple losses to get pregnant again. Their second pregnancy was twins, who were born very premature. They lost one of their twins within a week of birth due to complications from the prematurity. So, for them, they took their older child and the surviving twin to the ceremony because for them it’s about making sure their children grow up remembering their sibling – not about flaunting their fertility. I think it’s important to recognize that everyone who was there was in attendance because they share a common history of loss, and we can’t know their history and pain, just as they don’t know ours.”

She has a very, very valid point here and one that I had not really considered.

My therapist suggested I attend this walk as a way to mourn my loss and heal. She has also lost a pregnancy at 36 weeks due to chord complications. Talk about a nightmare, right? She admitted that she did not struggle with infertility and was able to become pregnant again very soon after her loss. She now has several happy, healthy children who bring her joy, but I’m sure will never erase the pain she feels from losing her first.

So for her, bringing your living children to a Walk to Remember would not seem insensitive. For me, and for many other women who have struggled to conceive just to lose it, we don’t have that happy ending (yet).

In no way am I belittling a loss. Fertile or fertility-challenged, whether your child was conceived in the comfort of your own bed or between two paper sheets, a loss is a horrific experience. What I think might be a little different is the mourning process for a fertile woman vs. a woman who is fertility-challenged. We have a little more to process. Losing a child is isolating, period. Losing a child after infertility can be even more so.

Wannabemom left a heart wrenching comment about her experience with a loss support group:

“I joined a grief group after losing Abby and it was great to be with other couples who had lost babies, but we were still different. I remember the first night, we were doing this activity and you had to answer questions. One of the questions was ‘what gives you hope/gets you through’… and I remember the girl I was paired with saying ‘knowing I can have another baby.’ I bawled my face off at those words… because I don’t know that. Incidentally, the four other women who were in that group with me are all now pregnant… and I am not.”

What I have drawn out of these comments is that attending a Walk to Remember, a loss support group, etc. when you might be one of the only women without your happy ending can be another devastating blow.

In a perfect world where money and time off work were no obstacle, I would find each and every one of my fellow fertility-challenged women who have lost a pregnancy or baby and fly us to one location to hold our very own Walk to Remember. Sadly, the world is imperfect and my bank account is scary low.

Instead, I’m going to propose a Spiritual Walk to Remember on Saturday morning, October 20. It does not matter where we are, or where we walk. It does not matter how long or short your walk is. It does not matter if you walk in a park, in your neighborhood or just around your backyard. What matters is that all of us struggling to let our babies go can gather in our own space and know that somewhere else – maybe in your city, maybe half-way across the globe – another woman is doing the same. The point is to know that while we might not have an actual hand to hold, we have spiritual hands.

Some of you might find this really corny. Some of my non-fertility challenged readers who have never experienced how isolating a loss after infertility can be might think this is senselessly dramatic. I promise, it is not. The pain and loneliness we feel is so crippling at times that it can become impossible to let our babies go. Maybe this will help.

For my walk I will revisit the park in town where I used to photograph herons and geese while pregnant with Pip. I would daydream about walking him through the ducks, teaching her all about how they fish and migrate. I have only been back to that park once since my loss. My photos that day were mediocre, at best, and my spirit was heavy. This time will be different. I’ll be walking at 9:30 a.m. If I feel so moved, I will photograph a bird in memory of my Pip, and then I hope I can let Pip go.

I encourage you to join me on Saturday at a time that is convenient for you. You can be public about joining by leaving a comment and then sharing a post or photo on your experience or you can be private. If you are not a blogger but want to share, email your experience to me with instructions to either post it on my blog, or keep it private just between us.

Most importantly, know that each and every one of you, those who have lost babies and those who have lost the hope of babies through failed cycles, are in my thoughts and that you are never alone.

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36 Comments

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  1. October 17, 2012

    Thank you for this. I’m totally in. The one place I went to for the day I knew I was pregnant was the cemetery to visit my grandfathers grave. Not sure I want my walk there, but I’ll find somewhere. Also, my MIL suffered a loss and the family goes to the baby’s grave for remembrance. I still think the Walk is not a place for children because a lot of women suffering from loss haven’t found their happy ending. But that’s why I’m so glad I have this space! Love you and thanks again for planning this!

  2. jak #
    October 17, 2012

    this is a beautiful idea, belle.

  3. October 17, 2012

    I really like this idea, not ridiculous at all! I’ll walk with you to remember.

  4. October 17, 2012

    I feel much about the walk to remember as I feel about blogs that go on to become pregnancy and then parenting blogs….they give me hope. I need to see that there is “the other” side. My girlfriend went last week and brought her newborn twins. They suffered far worse than most – getting pregnant with quintuplets by IuI, losing 3 early on and then giving birth to live twin boys at 23 weeks only to lose them in her arms. She went back this year to celebrate her boys and to complete the circle. Last year they walked the walk alone and heartbroken, a year later as a family of 4. I hope that next year you get to bring this little one (or two!) back with you to celebrate pip and how far you’ve come.
    I feel awful in reading your post to think that it never even occurred to me to walk for my little lost baby B. while I was lucky enough to continue on with the other baby, it still breaks my heart to think of what might have been. I would love to walk on the 20th to remember him. I love this idea.

  5. October 17, 2012

    I think this is a beautiful idea. I will join you, in my own way.

    And I wanted to say that I think you are absolutely right, that losses after IF or previous losses come with a lot more baggage and require a lot more processing. I’m not saying they are worse or harder, but that they are complicated by that loss of hope for the future. It really is a different thing to face. And I appreciate that it is scary to put that out there, in black and white and I respect very much that you did so.

  6. SRB #
    October 17, 2012

    What a beautiful idea. I will be there, with “Belle’s” on. xoxo

  7. October 17, 2012

    I love this. I’ll be joining you on Sat. 🙂

  8. October 17, 2012

    I love this, Belle. I’ve never experienced a loss because I haven’t actually been able to get pregnant in the last two years we’ve been trying. However, I am still very much mourning the hope of babies through many, many cycles that have led me absolutely nowhere. I have an IUI scheduled for Saturday (most likely) and I would really like to join you in this. Is that ok?

    • October 17, 2012

      Oh Jenn, I would be honored if you joined. You are right – every failed cycle is it’s own loss of what might have been. xoxo

      • October 17, 2012

        Then I am definitely in. I need some time for serious quiet reflection. However, I just remembered that my foot is broken….duh! So instead of walking, I will sit outside under a tree in my backyard and just BE. xoxo

        • October 17, 2012

          *hugs* I forgot about your foot, too. Did I tell you I broke my foot when I was 25 playing drunken hopscotch? I ended up with all kinds of complications and was on crutches for 6 bloody months! Honestly, not a day goes by that I am not grateful for the ability to walk! I know you will find the perfect place to rest and remember.

    • October 17, 2012

      Love this. I’m in.

  9. Romy #
    October 17, 2012

    Hi Belle,
    I’ve been reading your blog for ages and LOVE it – but I don’t think I’ve ever left a message.
    First of all, your tests look awesome! I was so excited to see those pictures this morning even though I technically don’t know you at all (I may sound a bit like a creepy stalker now…).
    I’m doing my first IVF and am 2dp3dt and can’t wait to start testing in a few days.
    In response to your observations of the inclusion of children in this walk, I so understand how that must have felt. In my fertility clinic, for some reason there are women who bring babies/children to their appointments. It has always annoyed me but when my husband and I were there last Friday for the retrieval and then this Monday for the transfer, I felt like a bad person; I could NOT stand the kids’ laughter and loud talking/running around at those moments. Have you encountered that at your clinic too?
    Best of luck, I’m sure those tests will just keep on getting darker!
    Romy

    • October 17, 2012

      Hey Romy, thanks for delurking and good luck on your cycle! Splurge on the good pee sticks. They are totally worth it when it comes to squinters 🙂
      Yeah, sometimes people have babies in my fertility clinic and I always, always, always feel this angry stab of jealousy. I realize, though, that a lot of these women, if not all of them, had to go through hell to have their child. I try to let that thought calm me down but it does not always work. More than kids at the clinic, though, kids at restaurants get to me most, to the point we don’t go out to eat very much. One of my first day dreams about my children was feeding them, cooking for them and taking them to exciting restaurants to expose them to new and delicious things. (I love to eat!) When I see other people doing this I get overwhelmingly mad and it ruins supper. All this to say – totally normal but I don’t know how to fix it!

      (Also, nothing creepy at all about following my journey and being excited to see my pee sticks 🙂 Keep me posted on your cycle!)

  10. theyellowblanket #
    October 17, 2012

    This is an amazing post.

  11. Amy #
    October 17, 2012

    I will walk “with” you, Belle, absolutely. (So freaking happy about your squinter, quickly progressing to no-squinting-necessary!)

  12. SM #
    October 17, 2012

    Beautiful idea. I’ll be walking with you.

  13. October 17, 2012

    Count me in.

    I often feel pretty lonely right now. Went for a walk with my dog on Monday and realized I spent the whole hour thinking about the twins: same as you described, thinking of a future time, teaching them and then reminding myself that possibility is no longer a reality.

  14. October 17, 2012

    Not corny at all. Very much needed, if you ask me.

  15. October 17, 2012

    I love this idea and I love that you included those of us that have never been able to see a positive pregnancy test. Looking forward to it!

  16. October 17, 2012

    I never comment here because as someone who doesn’t plan to ever have children, I generally doubt the usefulness of a comment from me. But I want to comment today because this is the first time I think I may be able to say something meaningful.

    As a woman who does not want to have children and is most likely completely fertile, I am one of those ladies you would probably expect to think you are being ridiculous. I don’t think that, not in the slightest. Every emotion you are feeling, every hurt you have, every tear you shed is absolutely valid and you should in no way doubt that.

    When I was about 13 years old I was sent to accompany my recently separated aunt to the doctors, where she found out she was ectopically pregnant. Afterwards she was very poker faced and when we got to the car she just sat there, and eventually said “It’s sad really, but probably for the best” and then cried and cried. As a mother of two, facing a divorce from someone she was very angry at, she knew she ‘should’ justify that the situation was for the best, just as insensitive others probably would. But she just couldn’t and I never, ever would have expected her to. I can only imagine how much harder these kinds of losses must be for someone completely in love, trying desperately to just start a family.

    Don’t ever doubt how you feel, and I think most people who would tell you to move on simply choose to not understand for their own comfort.

  17. October 17, 2012

    I’m in! Thank you for the great idea!

  18. October 17, 2012

    Count me in! Love the idea. It is going to give so many of us a chance to grieve and honor our babies in the environment of our choosing without having the additional burden of seeing smiling, happy families who have achieved their goals. I agree with you about how differently fertiles and non-fertiles handle the grief from a miscarriage. I think the pain from a miscarriage is an enormous burden for anyone but when you’ve been trying for years on end and it finally happens and is taken from you, well, that’s a whole new ballgame.

  19. Trish #
    October 17, 2012

    Hi Belle, I have never posted but I want you to know what an inspiration you and your beautiful
    Pip are to me. Thank you for sharing your story. I will be walking and thinking of you and not only Pip but your squinters.
    So excited to follow your journey.
    Trish- San Diego

  20. October 17, 2012

    Love this! I’m in.

  21. October 17, 2012

    I love this idea, and I am in. After my miscarriage in 2009, I felt the need to light a candle in remembrance whenever I was having a hard day (and almost every day was hard.) It is so difficult because there is nothing “physical” to visit, really, like a gravestone. I have a rubbermaid container with my ultrasound photos, the “congrats” cards, and the “What to Expect” books, among other little things that people gave me in the short 10 weeks I was pregnant. 3 years later, I still don’t think I can open The Box, but I will definitely light a candle and take a walk on the 20th to honor the memory of my baby, your baby, Belle, and so many others that will always remain in our hearts and will NEVER be forgotten. Thank you for this suggestion.

  22. October 18, 2012

    I will walk with you.

  23. October 18, 2012

    Belle, this post made me cry. You just have a way of putting emotions into words–thanks for saying what I haven’t been able to say. I think I will take a walk with you ladies.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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