ShoreWoman

It happened again. It happens more than you might think. It happens weekly. It happened today. A baby died. Not just any baby, but a “rainbow baby.” Not mine. Someone else’s. A courageous PALS mama just like me lost her hope, her joy, her breath, her life, her baby.

Words are lost on me. My body wretched along with my stomach as I saw the post. A beautiful baby girl, three months old, born after the loss of a brother or sister baby.She is perfect. Was perfect. Even putting her in past tense now feels wrong. A betrayal of the most unjust kind.Looking at her beautiful black hair and her eyes glistening bright with life, my heart shatters into a million jagged pieces again.

I remember. I remember when this loss was mine and how I feared this mama’s fate when I was going through my own pregnancy after a loss. Death after death. Loss after loss.

This is the PAL mom’s nightmare. This is what we have all been through and are so scared will happen to us again. We come to this community of hope during the scariest time in our lives for courage and belief that it won’t happen again. That this time it will be different. We enter this community of love and support at PALS believing, because we have no other choice, that this time we will get the baby.

Then sometimes we do.

When we do, we might think we are safe. We have crossed the finish line. We have the result of a living breathing baby.

Until one day we don’t. Like today when one courageous PAL mama’s baby, her rainbow baby, died.I ache for this mother. I want to wrap her in love and breathe breath back into her baby’s lungs. I want to fix it. But I can’t.What we can do is embrace this courageous mama. We can wrap our arms around her and say we remember how it feels to lose a child. We also don’t know exactly what she is going through because each loss is unique. But we are here.

PALS is about community. It is about hope and advocacy and support and courage. We are courageous, not because we avoid the fear but because we embrace it. We choose hope over fear by accepting that fear is part of the journey, and we know nothing in this life is guaranteed.

Nothing.

Not a rainbow. Not a year with her or ten or an easy life after he arrives.

The reason you are all so courageous is because part of thinking about trying to conceive, pregnancy and parenting after loss is knowing that nothing is guaranteed and choosing to hope anyway.

And then sometimes we become courageous in our journey because we face the fear and realize that hope has to look different. We have to choose hope and realize we are courageous, even when we take that leap of faith, believing we will be okay if we stop trying, or heaven forbid, face loss again.

I know for those who are pregnant again after a loss or parenting during that first year or any year after, the loss of another child is our fear. We might want to turn our cheek and not make eye contact with the mama who looses her rainbow baby or the invisible mother who will never get the chance to raise a living child.

But let’s run towards, not away from, our fellow loss mamas of all kinds. Let’s hold them up. Wrap them in that blanket of support and say, “If it’s too hard right now, I’ll hold hope, pain, sorrow, all of it for you. Until you are ready. I will walk beside you and hold your hand and not turn from it. I will listen and try not to say the wrong thing. I will see you! See your pain and your reality. Maybe I won’t fully get it but I will witness it. I will accept it. It will be real.”

*Photo Source: “shore, a woman” by Luca Vanzella, Creative Commons

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