Fitting In

In my four years of this new life post the death of my son, I have never actually attended a remembrance event. Last month, the organization that I work for held a 5k remembrance event and this month, for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, we are having a remembrance walk.

I am not sure what I was expecting the 5k to be like. I knew there was a kid’s fun run. I knew there was an arts and crafts table for the kids. I am completely used to being uncomfortable around kids and frankly, I have grown to really dislike them. Coping mechanism, maybe, but I’m ok with it. Kids are bleh… I don’t fit in with most loss moms because I am the unspeakable one with no living children. Awkward.

What I had not prepared myself for was the pregnant women and their living children, especially the ones around the age my son should be. I was not prepared for an introduction to a loss mom I had never met and the conversation to be about how she met the loss mom friend I was talking to. I was not prepared to hear how they were in a new mom group at the hospital when they had their kids and the other mom they knew as well… I was not prepared for her to tell say “so we all have four year olds!”

I should have a four year old. I should have a four year old just like them. How different would it have been if he lived and I had these two mom friends with boys my son’s age? I should not feel so alone. I should not be with these people… I should not be here. I don’t belong. 

These thoughts raced in my head all together in the 2 seconds before my friend broke that silence; for me. She said told the other loss mom, “her baby is just one week older than….” And her voice trailed off as she patted her boy on the head.

She remembered him. She acknowledged him. I am not alone. I thought, as I noticed the tears rolling down my friend’s face. She remembered him.

I have walked this road largely alone. I’ve made connections with other mothers who know the pain I live with. I’ve had my husband on the occasion that he is not fighting his own battles. But, mostly alone. I didn’t feel alone in that moment. I am still kind of shocked that someone else was touched by my son enough to share him and speak up that he should be one of those four year olds too.

With all of these new triggers to face at our remembrance walk that is approaching, I am anxious. My friend is not going to be there with me. I may really be alone; the freak with no living children that nobody understands. The plague, just like it was in the early days before I knew any loss parents at all. This walk is supposed to be light hearted or whatever but how? How can we be cheery and see the light when the darkness is still so thick? I would much rather a day that I am allowed to be sad.

This Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I hope that we continue to take steps to be more open about pregnancy and infant loss. I hope that people can become more aware that not everyone gets a living child to be the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope that I can be one step closer to not being the freak.

Amber Smiley

Amber Smiley

Amber met Chris when she was in high school and married him as soon as she could at the age of 18. She was certain that she wanted children right away but that was not how things were going to work out. They lived in Las Vegas for over 10 years before they finally became pregnant via intervention and plenty of patience. Jasper’s heart stopped at 40 weeks and that was the beginning of what has become a sometimes brutal and sometimes hopeful, new way of life.
They knew they wanted more children and have since suffered many early miscarriages during the process of multiple IVF and IUI cycles which have left them with broken hearts.Feeling defeated and alone, the bereaved parents moved to Connecticut in search of a much needed new start.

Amber was inspired to work towards becoming a therapist during her process of trying to find support after her loss. She is currently a freelance graphic designer, artist and marriage and family therapy graduate student. She takes comfort in the idea that their son was a driving force for her to help other people through a time that she and her husband felt so alone.
Amber Smiley

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Amber met Chris when she was in high school and married him as soon as she could at the age of 18. She was certain that she wanted children right away but that was not how things were going to work out. They lived in Las Vegas for over 10 years before they finally became pregnant via intervention and plenty of patience. Jasper’s heart stopped at 40 weeks and that was the beginning of what has become a sometimes brutal and sometimes hopeful, new way of life.
They knew they wanted more children and have since suffered many early miscarriages during the process of multiple IVF and IUI cycles which have left them with broken hearts. Feeling defeated and alone, the bereaved parents moved to Connecticut in search of a much needed new start.

Amber was inspired to work towards becoming a therapist during her process of trying to find support after her loss. She is currently a freelance graphic designer, artist and marriage and family therapy graduate student. She takes comfort in the idea that their son was a driving force for her to help other people through a time that she and her husband felt so alone.

4 thoughts on “Fitting In”

  1. My husband and I noticed this very recently at two remembrance events. Several women with their newborn “rainbows”. While it is great they have a rainbow after a loss, they know what that this loss feels like. I was shocked they felt it was appropriate to bring a newborn to a loss event with several families without any living children (myself included). I’m only 8 months into my loss journey and newborns are a huge trigger for me. It seemed a bit like a slap in the face.

    1. Hi Amy,

      I’m so sorry that you understand this pain. It is so hard to be around pregnant women or babies for me. It has been my entire adult life but especially after we lost our son. I know what you’re saying. It is really good for them that they have a living baby. I wouldn’t wish them any bad. Just wish I could too. 🙁

  2. So brave to attend remembrance walks, I have never been to a walk or support group for the simple fact most Mum’s have children or “Rainbow babies”. Very little support out there for us parents that never get to watch our children grow. It’s a very lonely existence.

    1. Hi Rachelle,

      I did find it alienating. The walk was better. The feeling shifted a little more towards remembering the babies that were gone and there was little to no discussion about “rainbow babies”. It is extremely alienating to be the freak with no living children. 🙁 I’m so sorry that you understand this.

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