You Can Always Adopt: Pregnancy After Loss Support

hand-in-hand-1428232I’m over at Pregnancy After Loss Support today with some thoughts on the emotional side of deciding to adopt after loss. Here’s a snippet:

“The notion of ‘You can always adopt,’ makes it seem like it is an easy process, both emotionally, and on the pocketbook. I’m here to say it’s not. But that shouldn’t necessarily dissuade you.”

You can check out the full post here. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*Photo credit.

The World is Listening to Mark Zuckerberg, But Not for What You Think

Mark Zuckerberg is no stranger to being in the news, with the press often scrutinizing his every move. But today, Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan sought out the public by announcing that they are pregnant. Pregnant after surviving three miscarriages. Sharing that, in itself, is huge, but he didn’t stop there. He went on to talk about the emotional side of loss:

“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience. Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.

So far over one million people have liked this announcement. More than 27,000 people have shared it. And that’s not including all of the media outlets who have reported on and shared it as well. What a tremendous step toward breaking the silence surrounding miscarriage and baby loss. He added:

“In today’s open and connected world, discussing these issues doesn’t distance us; it brings us together. It creates understanding and tolerance, and it gives us hope.”

It’s safe to say that when Mark Zuckerberg talks, people listen. And people talk.

Thank you, Mr. Zuckerberg for putting a spotlight on a much needed, and long overdue conversation. We hope this empowers others to speak up. We hope this helps to take away the stigma associated with loss. And we hope for a continued healthy pregnancy, safe delivery and lots of joy to come for you and your family.

 

Perseverance in Loss: Pregnancy After Loss Support

falldownseventimesstandupeight2I’m over at Pregnancy After Loss Support today with my first post as a monthly contributor. I’ve shared some insights on how—and why—we kept trying. Here’s a snippet:

“How do you do it?” This is a question my husband Aaron and I have often been asked over the years. It being, survive and carry on after seven losses. It being continue to try for a family with living children. It being handle each pregnancy after each loss. It being navigate the adoption process. And most recently, It being parent our 2 year old and 11 month old boys.

You can check out the full post here. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and how you do it.

*Photo credit.

Two Years, Eight Months and 10 Days After Loss

Most parents would love to see their kids’ names in print. A marquee. A byline. A scorecard. A ballot. But you know where they don’t want to see it? On a gravestone.

Two years, eight months and 10 days later, Sarah and Benjamin’s marker came in and was placed on Friday. While we’ll have the official dedication soon, we went yesterday for Father’s Day to see it. And it is beautiful. Well, as beautiful as something signifying your dead children can be.

It wasn’t that it took two years, eight months and 10 days to make it. Rather, it was that Double A and I couldn’t move forward on it. It was like we were paralyzed by the emotion of it. Baby K’s was taken care of right away, as there was only one choice for her marker. My mom and aunt (who works for the cemetery) coordinated it, and Double A and I signed off on it. But with the twins, it just sat. A heavy guilt weight on our shoulders that we couldn’t move.

And then my Papa died in February, and going to his funeral also meant going back to the cemetery for the first time since we lost the twins. It’s not something I’m proud of, but at the same time, neither of us feels like we need to go there to remember them. That said, I hated that we had to view their temporarily marked grave for the first time in front of a crowd. I was ashamed, especially when the temporary marker spelled Sarah’s middle name Hannah instead of Hana.

Here we were, celebrating my 96-year-old Papa’s life, while a couple of plots over were our children who never took their first breath. It was an awful juxtaposition, and at the same time, we left the cemetery with a renewed sense of strength and courage. Sarah and Benjamin deserved to be recognized.

We hadn’t planned on the timing for Father’s Day, and quite frankly, I was surprised that Double A said he wanted to go to the cemetery. But there we were, with Baby Boy and Little Guy too. The sun from the blue skies made Sarah and Benjamin’s names and the bronze edging shine bright, and brought a warmth I didn’t think was possible. We had the boys gather rocks to place on Sarah and Benjamin’s joint marker, and on Baby K’s while we explained to them about their brother and sisters, and how we put rocks down to show that we had been there, and continue to carry on their memory.

Of course tears were shed. But for the first time, it wasn’t big, ugly tears. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that we are any less sad. Maybe it was that we got to go there on our own choosing, and not for another funeral. Maybe it was because we had our living boys in our arms, smothering them with hugs and kisses with all of the gratitude we feel for their existence. Or maybe it was because there was a huge sense of relief that Sarah and Benjamin’s name was finally in print, for all the world to see and know what we already knew: our children exist, and they matter.

Sounds of Pregnancy Loss Replayed

On my drive home from work, the song Breathe by Alexi Murdoch came on, and it actually took my breath away. You see, not long after we lost the twins, I came across this song, and used it as a way to remind myself to step back, take a breath, and realize that somehow, someway I was going to get through this and be okay. It was one of many songs that helped to get me through the darkest of days.

My iTunes must have been onto something because next up came Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, whose lyric, “We could have had it all.” used to taunt me. Then, for good measure, Hasa Diga Eebowai from The Book of Mormon came on. It has some choice words for G-d, which, at a time when we didn’t know what to believe in, resonated with us (and truthfully just made us laugh).

Listening to this trilogy of songs, nearly two and a half years later, brought me right back to the exact moments: Every feeling. Every sadness. Every anxiety. Every bit of grief that encompassed me then, flooded my back over me once again. I almost had to pull the car over.

Music has always been such a meaningful part of my life. It’s something I’ve relied on as my trusty companion. It has gotten me through, and taken me back to so many moments—good and bad—with a single note. And sitting there, listening to these songs, I realized just how powerful music was for me during that time. While I don’t want to be reminded of all that pain, suffering and sadness (many of these songs I still can’t won’t listen to), I realize just how far we’ve come. I’m reminded of our perseverance. Of our determination. Of our survival. And I’m reminded that we wouldn’t give up on ourselves, or our dreams. So when John Hiatt’s Rest of the Dream came on next, I was a puddle.

I’ve listened to that song numerous times, but apparently never heard it until that instant. These days, I often feel like I’m living in a dream. I look at our boys and can’t believe they are really here. I think of all we’ve been through and can’t believe Double A and I are still here. But they are. And we are too. I don’t know what part of my dream this is, but I do know that the sounds of the past never leave you, even as the new soundtrack plays on.

Does music affect you? What are your songs?

 

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Adoption, Loss & Infertility: The Community Speaks Again

For the past nine years, Mel over at Stirrup Queens has put together the Creme de la Creme. It’s a collection of bloggers’ favorite posts from the past year, and an incredible showcase of the adoption, loss and infertility community.

I’m proud to once again be able to share my experiences over there, but more so, to “meet” and read meaningful stories from inspiring people. We are a large community, and each year, this is a reminder that we are not alone.

This year’s list highlights 87 stories. Is yours one of them? Will you join me in checking them out?

Today. And Always.

It seems like now everything has it’s day: National Doughnut Day. Left-Handers Day. Talk Like a Pirate Day. I get it. It creates awareness and builds community. But does having so many days take away from days with bigger meaning? Now don’t get me wrong. I’m left-handed. I love me some doughnuts. And I may, on occasion, talk like a pirate (OK, not really, but I find it funny when others do). I just wonder if “days” are the latest in the “everyone gets a ribbon at field day” mentality.

At the same time, who am I to judge? If it’s important to people, so be it. What actually gets to me is when these fun, playful days receive more coverage than days with bigger meaning. Days whose subjects are taboo.

You see, today’s my day. And the day for all of the moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss. Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It’s part of an awareness month, designated by Ronald Reagan back in 1988, where countless babies are acknowledged and remembered. Babies whose stories had been previously hushed because no one talks about baby loss. Because those same moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends have been told that they shouldn’t talk about it. Sadly, it is this mentality that has led many, like myself, to feel like we’re alone.

But you know what? We’re not alone. And you know what else? More and more of us are not afraid to talk about it, and write about it. More and more of us are raising awareness every day. We’re helping one another by letting each other, and the world, know it’s not only OK to talk about, but we need to talk about it. And by doing so, we’re honoring the memory of our babies, and all babies gone too soon.

So tonight at 7pm, as we celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Will CarryOn, we’ll light our candles for the wave of light. But today, and everyday, we stand alongside all of the families who have lost their precious children.

For our Baby K, Sarah, Benjamin and the four we never met, we remember.