Today I took part in a walk for those who have lost a baby. This, sadly is a pretty broad category. I know families that have had multiple miscarriages, had chemical pregnancies, had mid pregnancy loss, late term loss, still birth, babies die during the birthing process and had babies die right after birth. I've cried more tears than I care to count for these families, and I know I will cry again. Sadly I also know I will hear these stories told anew for years to come. It seems as long as people are having babies, we're also having losses. They say, a loss, is a loss, and yet some seem so much harder to bear.
Some women lose babies and seem to go right back on with life, while others get completely lost in the grief. Some women decide to get pregnant right away, while others decide that they can never have another child. Some women give birth to a silent baby, and then pump milk for another mama as a way to heal, and honor their child, yet another may bind her breasts that very day because she can't bear to feel her milk coming in for a baby who won't ever nurse. None of these choices is right, and none of them is wrong. There is no right way to heal from this process. There is no one who can tell you what to do, how to grieve, and when it will ease. Even someone who's walked your path won't know what will be right for you. All you can do is grope your way blindly through the pain, and pray for grace.
Today we listened to a few women tell their story (which I missed as my miracle child Ruby wanted to throw rocks in the river) and then we walked through the covered bridge over to a beautiful wooden bridge and threw rose petals into the river to honor the babies that lived only in hearts and wombs, never in arms. We were last across the bridge, and each tossed in a handful of rose petals. I found myself unable to contain the tears, thinking about each and every baby, mother, father, family, myself included. I watched the rose petals float down the river, drifting slowly out of my line of sight. I thought of these sweet babies, each entered our lives for brief times, and then slowly drifted out of them. Then I noticed that several rose petals were caught in the debris of the river, in the swirling eddies and currents. Those are the pieces of these babies we will never forget. The places they touched our lives, imprinted our souls and got caught up in the debris of our hearts. Somewhere in the current of our blood as it flows through our bodies are these babies, these loved, wanted, much wished for babies.
And we will never forget.