Thomas would be three. He was born sleeping, four weeks before he should have been squirming and howling in his parents’ arms. His sisters have heart-shaped stork bites on their foreheads, where Thomas kissed them, they are told. I remember Thomas and his mom and dad and two little sisters and brother-to-be on October 15.
This Friday, October 15, is Infant Loss Remembrance Day. We are called upon to remember those who have miscarried, had ectopic pregnancies, stillbirth or the loss of an infant. I’m not a mother who has had to deal directly with any of those issues, but I have wept with those who are weeping and mourned with those who mourn, because I can empathize. I know losing one of my children would be devastating to me, personally, and to my family as a whole.
In my group of mom friends online, there are multiple miscarriages, a few ectopic pregnancies and at least one NICU loss. My mother lost a child to miscarriage before I was born. There must be many others I don’t know about. Over 15% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage or stillbirth. It’s a deeply personal subject, and one that I know some parents keep to themselves. I can’t say what my reaction would be, I can only know that I hear these stories and want to craft a picket sign and protest death and its ravaging horde of emotions, fear, depression, anger, numbness and grief.
I can’t mourn for long, in mid-October, however. That’s when God gave me life. Almost three years ago, October 16, 2007, I had Wendy. It was an emergency c-section and a fantastic doctor that brought her into this world, but I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about the human being she is now.
Three years later, my Wendy-bird is trouble on legs. She’s got an infectious smile that usually appears when she knows she’s been caught, but often accompanies snuggles and giggles of other sorts. In the last couple weeks, I’ve been told by people I know that she’s a girl, now, and not a baby. I want to punch those people in the face, even though I know it’s true.
She’s long and still round, but thinning. Her feet are nearly as large as Mia’s feet and wears a 4T. She’s going to follow the trend in my family, which is that younger sisters are bigger than their big sisters. She looks like my sister and my ex-husband and Mia. She’s got my chin. Poor thing. Her hair is almost all the way down her back, now. She doesn’t want me to put it up, and usually pulls it out of its ponytail holder or clip or bow.
Her laugh is usually muffled by the stuff under my bed, because she’s typically cat-hunting for Scarlet. She’s got incredible ninja skills that allow her to creep into the kitchen, open the pantry or refrigerator door and sneak snacks there. If she takes too long deciding, the ding of the fridge door is my only indication that Wendy’s on the prowl. I don’t remember life before I had them both, before I watched them play together and fight for prime couch space on a Saturday morning and happily blow and pop bubbles in the backyard. She’ll dance to music, no matter what genre, with an abandon of spirit and moves entirely her own. She wants me to dance with her, and I do.
Mid-October is a time for mourning and a time for rejoicing, for me.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4).
Tomorrow, I mourn; thereafter, I dance.
I don’t want to diminish the loss felt by families who have dealt with these issues. We will never forget those we have lost. We carry them around in our hearts. If you have experienced miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or infant or child loss, please visit www.glowinthewoods.com where the moms there deal with this subject with courage, love and grace.