Thursday, October 15, 2009

Love and Light

Today is a national day of remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss ( I’d never heard of such an occasion until last year when some friends of a friend lost their baby a few days after birth, similar to the shocking way in which we lost Frannie. In observance of the day, they asked their friends and family to light a candle in memory of their daughter, and I just loved that idea. Maybe it’s the concept of a burning light that resonates so much, because I know that Frannie’s light is with me every day.

I’m feeling a particular yearning for hope and light right now, as the month of October is full of painful meaning for me. Two years ago this month, I had the first of 3 miscarriages. I remember taking Ellie trick-or-treating that year and being so excited at the thought of having another little one by the time Halloween rolled around again. The very next day, an ultrasound (the second of that pregnancy), revealed that there was no longer a heartbeat present. A few months later, I became pregnant with a baby who was due on October 19th of 2008. Again, I miscarried. The second pregnancy loss hit me really hard, as I was so sure that one would stick. I never forgot her due date. Another miscarriage late that summer left me wondering if we should just give up on the idea of having any more biological children. Then, last October we found out I was pregnant with Frannie. I remember having such mixed feelings at the time. I was so emotionally exhausted from the pregnancy losses, and I wasn’t particularly optimistic about our chances of carrying to term. But still I believed it was possible that things would work out. I carried my little bit of hope right there alongside my overwhelming anxiety and fear. Then, as the pregnancy progressed and Frannie grew and developed, my hope started to give my fear a run for its money. The day Frannie was born, I believed we’d finally reached the finish line. Safely. Joyfully. I believed the hope had won. And now here I am, a year after first starting to know my baby girl in utero, and I’m more broken than I ever could have imagined.

Tonight I’ll light a candle to honor Frannie, as well as the three babies we lost through miscarriage. And I’ll be thinking also of all the families out there whose dreams have been shattered by miscarriages, stillbirth, or neonatal death. May our love for these precious ones be a warm, glowing light in the world, and may we strive always to be sensitive to one another’s suffering.