today, October 15th, is a day designated for the national remembrance of children lost too soon: babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or newborn death. all across the globe, people will be lighting candles between 7:00-8:00pm (19:00-20:00) local time to remember either their own children gone or in solidarity with other grieving/healing parents. it is to increase awareness and to bring those marked by such a loss together in unity. grief is isolating; knowing others can share your pain or understand it, without explanation or apology, makes it less so.
in our home, we now observe this day as Tummymuffin Remembrance Day; we will remember and celebrate our first three Tummymuffins and talk about them with their brother. L may have no clue what it's all about now, but as he gets older, he will know what the candles mean, and why they're important. pregnancy loss shouldn't be a hush-hush topic; too often it's treated as a shameful secret that must be hidden...but why is that so? is it to protect others from feeling bad? is it to avoid the awkwardness of sharing someone's pain?
a few days ago, an acquaintance told me she was expecting again. after the round of congratulations, she revealed that she'd lost a baby between this one and her living daughter, and had lost one before that. i told her, seriously, that i was so sorry for her losses.
she brushed aside my condolences: "really, it's okay. i mean, it's in the past. it's fine, it's fine."
i looked her in the eye and told her that i'd lost three babies before having the miracle fourth one.
she stopped, grabbed my hand, and said "oh. oh. you know. you really KNOW then. yeah." and was quiet.
"i'm so happy about your new little boy-to-be," i said, "but i will remember and celebrate the other two with you also."
"no one has ever said that to me before," she said thoughtfully. "they do deserve celebration, don't they?"
yes. yes, they do.
so please, if you or someone you love has lost a child before or right after birth, take a moment to remember, recognize, and celebrate that little life. and offer comfort, hope, and healing to those who may need it.
for more information about October 15th, you can read more here and here. for a thoughtfully-written blog post about it, you can go here.