Welcome Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends and anyone else who needs an ear...Please come with an open heart.

This is a place for anyone who has felt the loss of a child. Treat this as a communication haven regardless of how or when you felt your loss. My definition of loss: miscarriage at any stage, still birth regardless of week gestation, infant death at any month, and loss of a child even if your child was all grown up. For me they all hold the same root of devestation. None are more profound or more "easily" dealt with than another.

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Please tell your story

Monday, November 3, 2008

Signs And Symbols

The doorbell rang on Halloween night, for about the 40th time, I think. I trudged toward the door, feet hitting the floor a little harder then necessary, sure I knew what was coming. I was expecting yet another throng of teenagers partially dressed in their parent's recycled clothes so they could cash in on the free candy. Or, if not then a pre-school sized group of tiny Tinkerbell's and Diego's running up to the door as their parents stood at the end of the walkway and waited.

I answered the door with a sigh - Then, I stopped short and breathed in sharply. Standing before me was neither over-generalized group, but a mother, a father and very 8-year old looking daughter. Emma - what would you have been for Halloween if you had the chance?

Our interactions were atypical of the "trick-or-treat...don't forget to say thank you's" I had listened to all evening. In fact, we didn't even speak for a minute. We just shared a smile: the mother and I, the father and I, the daughter and I. Emma, what would you look like at 8 years old? Oh - how I wish I knew.

I recognized this family. We live in a small town. But I didn't know their names, only their faces. I felt rooted to my doorstep, sure I was supposed to focus on this encounter with all my energy. Then mom spoke, "Is Bear here or is she out?". I was stunned. She knew Bear. Of course- our kids went to the same school. Just because I didn't know her daughter's name didn't mean she didn't know mine. She doesn't know my other daughter's name. No one I met after 2000 knows Emma's name unless I TELL THEM!

"No. She went with a group of parents and kids from next door. My youngest is sleeping." I replied, still struck by the easy gait of our conversation. She really listened to my words, nodding and making small noises signaling her agreement with my ideas.

"What did she dress up as?" she inquired, really wanting to know. "She didn't" I quickly said.

I could have left it at that. I answered her question, but, surprising myself I continued, wanting her to know more. "We have a different way of looking at Halloween. Our family I mean." I paused, gauging her reaction but she was still genuinely smiling and nodding. I went on, "You see, we have a daughter who passed and, well, when you are born with a sister already in heaven you approach certain holidays from a different standpoint, sometimes, some years anyway."

I thought I must have said too much. I mean, I was blabbering on to a woman I knew from face recognition only. She simply deepened her smile, but the look in her eyes shifted, and I knew. I knew she, too, had felt the loss, the devestation that takes hold in the crevices of your heart when you lose a baby. Her smile said it all.

So, I ask you - Is that all we have? Is that the bat-signal for dbm's? A smile, a nod, and a look in our sad eyes? And does one of us have to be brave enough to say the words before the reconition can be acknowledged?

Reading Missing_One's post tonight really got me thinking about this.

WE are everywhere.
WE, the women who were pregnant, then weren't.
WE the women who carried babies, then lost them, delivered them, held them as they took their last breath, WE are EVERYWHERE.

And yet, we don't recognize each other. We can't. We don't have a colorful display of sorrow so we can find each other in a crowd.

Instead, we take our other children to pre-school, we suffer through subsequent pregnancies fielding the "is this your first" question 10 times a day, we shop at the grocery store, we rent movies, we get hair cuts. WE are just like everyone else, except not.

Although wearing a sign, or a pendant, or - hell I don't know - a flashing neon sign is out of the question, it would be nice to know how to connect, how to respect each other with a small smile and a nod.

The wed have rings.
The un-wed don't have rings.
There is a pink arch for cancer awareness.
There are magnets on cars if your husband or wife is in Iraq.

Where are we? How can we find each other in real life without taking the ultimate chance and saying our truth out loud,

"I lost my baby. My baby is dead."

Question: Do you say it out loud? If so, are you met with smiles and nods or pitying glances? Is is worth it?


CLC said...

No one has asked me yet. I keep waiting and waiting. I am ready to say, no this is my second. And I am ready for the follow up "How old is your first?" I don't know how long I will have to wait.

Travelwahine said...

I've been asked a few times. My son 6 years old, answered the very first time. We were at Cookie Cutters and the stylist asked, "Is he your only one?" My son replied, "We have a baby in heaven".

Kristin said...


MrsSpock said...

Someone needs to come up with a baby loss ribbon...

Hmmmmm...maybe a project for UTERUS?

Cara said...

Mrs. Spock- Always the thinker, eh?

I'll email Mel and she what she thinks.

Travelwahine - My kids say the same thing, the with eyebrows up they turn to me.

Amy said...

Cara, this is beautiful, sad, but beautiful.

I have a Oct. 15th Pregnancy and Infant loss ribbon on my car. I have a baby in my heart button on my name tag for work. I say it more often then not, I am the mother of a child I cannot hold. I hope to somehow recognize those who have walked in my shoes. Either by their car, a ribbon like mine, a bracelet that I can see has meaning, a necklace that carries ashes, or yes, a smile and sad eyes. I hope one day, this subject is more spoken of and understood and we can know one another outside of the blogland.

I love your comment to the family at the door. I appreciate Bear's wonderful sense of the holiday itself. I too wonder what Emma would have been, what she would look like. I look at my Nephew who is one year older than Emma and I think, so, what do girls your age do? Sometimes, he tells me of his "girlfriends," now, I think of Emma.

I think maybe I will make a shirt for subsequent pregnancies that says something to the effect of: This is not my first pregnancy, this is not my first child, I have__living children, ___children that are in heaven, I've had ___# of miscarriages and this child well, this child is #____. Too bad we can't do that and put it out there in black and white!

Wow, sorry for the babble!

Much love and peace to you.

k@lakly said...

I leave it alone. Idon't have the strength to explain or help someone understand it all. It' sjust easier right now for me to feign innocence. The people that need to know, they already do.

Cara said...

Amy, thanks for your babble! I really want to hear how each of us handles this intimate issue withing our own lives.

K@lakly - I totally understand. I used to leave it alone too, then one day I got mad and felt like educating people...I am a teacher after all!

I Believe in Miracles said...

This is a good question. I struggle with a similar thought of who to tell about our IF (since we actually have never gotten pregnant yet), but have found out along the way of some babies in heaven when I have been willing to share about my story. Maybe it just depends on the person (both doing the telling and person being told)?

Eskimo_Kisses_4_U said...

Only a few people know I have been pregnant before. My first three, which all resulted in miscarriages before 10 weeks, were never announced to anyone besides the father. Only being 9 weeks now, I have only told three people...I'm afraid I'll jinx myself if I tell anyone outside of the small doctor, parent circle.

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