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!).
“… 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.