Breaking the Silence
This week marked a key date for those of us who have felt the joy of being pregnant with a child and then had that happiness along with our hopes & dreams for them shattered by the loss of one or more of our children. October 15th was Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day and it got me thinking.
Though I’ve touched upon the loss of our identical twin boys – Micah & Julian – a few times via this blog, it hasn’t really been a venue where I’ve wanted to speak about this very sad event in our lives.
We weren’t comfortable talking about it or telling our story. And, most people were more than happy to avoid the subject at all costs.
I mean..what do you say or do for a grieving parent? Who wants to think about the fact that babies sometimes die? No one.
So I and many of the people around me dug in and set into survival mode. We didn’t (usually) discuss what happened. I publicly put on a front that everything was okay. I speculated about what people thought or said about our circumstances. And, I grieved. A lot.
I was lucky to have several people in our lives who would check-in. Who kept me connected to others and to the day-to-day. Who ultimately had a part in helping me heal.
Then, in October 2011, I was pregnant again. And, wow, I can’t describe the mix of feelings and thoughts that ran through my head – from the moment I found out…all the way through delivery. It was scary. It was terrific. It swung from being real to surreal.
I took the pregnancy one day at a time (again with a lot of help from good people) and was blessed with two amazing little boys on June 1, 2012.
Gavin and Quinn aren’t replacements for their big brothers but instead are special little guys who have helped to heal my heart and fill the void that was placed there in May of 2011. And, I believe whole-heartedly that Micah and Julian are with them and us in spirit. Always.
Now that Gavin and Quinn have entered our lives, they’ve opened the door to breaking the silence. Friends, coworkers, & even acquaintances -armed with this happy occasion – have made an effort to connect and to let us know how they’re feeling. To extend their congratulations. To ask about the boys. To share that they too were saddened by our loss.
What I’m realizing is that our experience and all of our boys not only touched our lives in many ways – the good, the bad – but they’ve also had an impact on others around us. Though people may not have talked about it, they were moved to feel something. And, in their own way, they were supporting us from a distance without us even knowing it. That realization is comforting.
This post is not about dwelling in the past or focusing on our loss – though as parents we will NEVER forget about Micah & Julian and the fact they’re not here with us – but it’s about the outpouring of kindness that I’ve experienced about the arrival of Gavin & Quinn.
Each of the exchanges where people have gone out of their way to stop and tell me how they’re feeling are captured in my mind:
- “you have no idea how my heart sings for you”
- “I was so sincerely happy for you & Jon when I heard you delivered your boys”
- “After the loss of your boys, I included your family in our prayer group so we could help” – the receptionist at my doctor’s office
- “When I heard you were pregnant again, I prayed for you every day” – from a stranger who had heard about our situation
- “I was thrilled when I heard your good news”
And, we’ve had so many people wanting to meet our little guys and being so generous with them. It’s been absolutely amazing.
So, thank you. To everyone who has been with us on this journey. Whether supporting us during or after our loss, sending/giving us strength from near or far, or extending any form of kindness our way.
You’ve helped. You’ve shown that you care. You, too, honor the memory of our older boys. You join us in celebrating the blessing that is Gavin & Quinn. You’ve made it okay to open up and break the silence.
For all these things, I am and will be forever grateful.