Shared by Autumn Marshall
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love that there is a whole month dedicated to the awareness of stillbirth, miscarriage, and infant loss. I love that we are able to speak freely about our feelings of loss, and we are no longer speaking in whispers about it. There are so many online communities that make it possible to share our stories and get that much-needed support. Even major television shows are addressing this very important topic. But for me, it's not just one month. For me, it's every. single. day.
My "month" begins in September. My anxiety whistle goes off September 1st, and it gets louder until the calendar turns to September 30. On September 30, 2011, I lost my son. I was 36 weeks pregnant, lying in a hospital bed when I was told there was no heartbeat. There were no obvious signs at first, and after an autopsy and genetic testing, nothing was ever found. For some reason, my perfect baby boy's heart stopped beating. Six years later it still tears me apart to write that. The best advice I ever received was, "It doesn't get easier; it just gets different." That is so true.
I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to have another child. My daughter was born in October of 2012. Not everyone is that lucky. There are many people who aren't able to conceive again. Or they do, but suffer yet another loss. So, yes, I am very grateful for my daughter. She is my lifesaver, as I was diagnosed with Large Cell Neuroendocrine Carcinoma of the cervix when I was 30 weeks pregnant with her. Had I not been pregnant, I most likely would not have found out so early. Does having another child take away the love and longing I have for my son? No, it does not.
As I mentioned earlier, my loss does not fit into one month. It is every day of my life. Does it consume every single day? No, but there is a part of every day where I think about my son. It's dropping my daughter off at school and realizing that my son should be in the car, too. It's when someone asks me how many children I have. It's shopping for clothes and glancing towards the boys’ section. There are so many things that can happen in a day that make me think of him. Sometimes, nothing even has to happen for me to take out his picture or visit him at the cemetery.
I love being able to talk freely about my son. I love when people ask me questions, or I am able to write about him. In the six short years since I lost my son, we as a loss community have come so far. I believe that with awareness and hope we can go even further. Just remember that for you as a parent, grief doesn't have to be limited to just one month. Remembrance can take place every day, and that is okay. Our children are a part of us and we will never stop loving them. For us, it's not just one month.
You can also follow more of Autumn's writing about love, loss and cancer at http://www.welcometomyworldam.com/