Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Tonight at 7 p.m. all around the world, people will be taking part in what we call the ‘wave of light’; where we light a candle and let it burn for an hour to remember and celebrate all of the babies lost too soon.
“Some say you are too painful to remember, I say you are too precious to forget.” – Author Unknown
Today is a day I never imagined I would be a part of, one that seven and a half years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about. Yet, here I am. I am a mom of four with only two in my arms.
We lost our daughter Savannah shortly after birth in 2013 and miscarried our daughter Ellis in 2018. Tonight I will be lighting candles for both of them. My heart knows both sides of this day. Having experienced holding my baby girl as she passed and then five years later, feeling the heartbreak that comes alongside miscarriage. I can confidently say that the ache and longing I feel for both of them, while different, is equally as painful.
I know the weight of my own pain that I’ve been carrying, but I also know that I am far from alone in this.
One in four women have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant. That is a statistic that has both crushed me and comforted me at different times. This journey of loss can feel incredibly isolating, so to know that 25% of women have traveled a similar path to mine at some point in their lives, has definitely been a light in the darkness for me on those extra-tough days.
While I would of course never wish this upon anyone, I certainly have reaped the benefits of having this community. A community that none of us signed up to be a part of. In fact, most of us would probably give anything to be out of it, and yet this group of fellow loss moms has quickly become one of my greatest treasures.
I have experienced first hand the incredible friendships that can be formed by bonding over empty arms. I’ll never forget, shortly after we lost Savannah, a fellow loss mom came up to me and told me that the pain I felt at that very moment will never fully go away. She had lost her son 20 plus years ago, and still had tears in her eyes while speaking his name. At the time, this statement didn’t bring much comfort, in fact, it actually really upset me. Now looking back on it, though, I am thankful for her and that day. That encounter normalized grief for me.
Grief truly is love with no place to go. We long for what was lost, our arms physically ache to be filled, and our thoughts seem to always circle back to the sweet little lives that should still be here… and that is more than okay.
If you find yourself with empty arms today, or if you are familiar with the ache that I talked about, I just want you to know that you are not alone. I am with you, and I know countless others that are as well. I truly believe that life is worth celebrating no matter how brief. So, today we celebrate all of the precious babies that were taken too soon. If you would like to join us, simply light a candle at 7 p.m. and let it burn for an hour. Together, we will create the most beautiful wave of light and help all of the moms who have lost a pregnancy or infant remember their lives.