My partner messaged me from yet another of his hotel restaurants to let me know, whilst holding back tears, that it’s baby loss awareness week this week and it got me thinking. Thinking about awareness weeks… not about my baby losses because I think about them every day and no doubt will do until the day I shuffle off this mortal coil.
I wonder who decides when these weeks will be and whether they ever really make anyone more ‘aware’ of the subject matter or whether it’s just a week that makes those who are directly affected remember with more vigour.
I’ve found myself thinking more deeply into my own losses this week, thinking more about the four beautiful babies I never held but still love with all my heart, wondering more deeply about who they would be and thinking over, once more, why we had to suffer these losses. It’s an awareness week yet I don’t see anyone talking about it. I find that when I bring the subject up with a lot of people their eyes glaze over and their eyes wander, I can almost hear them thinking “here she goes again, how am I going to get away” (I’m not talking close friends here). I find the only time you’re allowed to talk about your own losses after a certain time is when someone else has lost, and even then only if they ask to hear your story directly because they’re going through their own hell and (quite rightly) don’t need to listen to yours too, but from experience it’s nice to know that you’re not alone and it happens to more people than you are aware of.
I find this doesn’t only happen when discussing baby loss, but any loss and have come to the conclusion that we just don’t like to talk about grief in whatever parcel it’s delivered in. There seems to be a period of time where you are ‘allowed’ to express your feelings and grieve and no matter who you talk to they will listen, or at least politely pretend to. Then suddenly, and it’s pretty soon I think, you’re not allowed to talk about it anymore. People get bored of listening and if you persist in mourning your loss you stop seeing these people because they just can’t deal with your misery.
I remember being told on a number of occasions, on the loss of my mother and then subsequent miscarriages and then the recent loss of my father, that I shouldn’t ‘dwell on it’ or ‘wallow’ anymore… As if I choose to feel this cutting grief, as if I enjoy it, as if I’m purposefully prolonging my own agony, as if I should just forget they ever existed.
So as I light my ‘Wave of Light’ candle for my four babies that weren’t given a chance I think of everyone else who has suffered the loss of a baby, or a pregnancy and give them strength and hope that the future does brighten. I want to tell them that their feelings matter, regardless of how many years have passed since their loss and that they are not alone.
I spent half an hour of the WoL hour sitting on the edge of my bed listening to and looking at our beautiful boy as he slept peacefully and thanked the universe for him, aware that others aren’t as lucky as we are.
So perhaps that’s the idea of awareness weeks such as this, not necessarily raising the awareness of those that haven’t suffered, but to make the affected aware that they are not alone.