It can be frustrating sometimes to advocate for pregnancy and infant loss awareness. In all honesty, probably most forms of advocacy come with frustrations. Yet with pregnancy and infant loss sometimes I feel like I'm a voice that no one wants to hear. So many people who experienced these losses, seem content to sit back, be silent and say “yes, it happened but I'm over it.” or “it was a long time ago” or “I'm so busy now, I can't even think about it.”
This year, in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, the pastor of my church and I planned a Service of Hope and Healing. Despite the fact that at least a dozen women in the congregation have come to me over the years and shared their stories of miscarriage, stillbirth and other baby loss, only fifteen people chose to attend. Twelve of those were there for me.
On the one hand, it was extremely gratifying to have those dozen people (family mostly) care so much about my losses. My eleven-year-old nephew brought me flowers that night which was beyond sweet. My sons both volunteered to read. On the other hand, it wasn't supposed to be all about me. I was trying to reach out to others.
I was temporarily discouraged. Then, after the service, which only lasted half an hour, I spoke to a woman I'd seen at church but never had the chance to talk to. She briefly shared her story with me and I shared with her. I gave her a big hug which seemed to surprise her. When I left, she was still quietly talking with the pastor. I wasn't part of their discussion and it wasn't any of my business.
For whatever reason, I feel like this woman really needed to be there that night. I haven't talked to her since. I don't know very many details about her loss several years ago and even fewer details about her life now. But I do believe we touch other peoples' lives in ways we may never be fully aware of. I believe that reaching out to help someone is never a bad idea even if you wind up feeling you haven't been able to help at all. The intention to do something good in the world matters regardless of what you perceive the outcome to be. I've told my kids for years that one person really can make a difference in the world. Feeling small and overwhelmed should never stop you from trying.
So I will continue to advocate for pregnancy and infant loss awareness. Even when it feels like I'm the only one talking and no one else is interested.