January 9, 2015

Talk about that baby!

Not long after I lost our second child - Angel - to an early miscarriage at eight weeks, I knew I wanted to help foster dialogue about pregnancy and infant loss as a way to remember her.  As a result, I eagerly participate in projects that help give a voice to this taboo subject.

For example, when I heard that Katy Larsen - a fellow blogger - was putting together a compilation of stories written by women who had experienced a loss and was looking for submissions for her new book, I jumped at the opportunity to write and share the story of my miscarriage.  The result of Katy's efforts is a beautiful book called Because They Lived. My story, entitled "Because Angel Lived," is featured in the book. It made my heart soar to see it in print and to know that others might read it and be comforted by the reality that they are not alone if they have just suffered a loss.

Recently, a friend shared with me another project aimed at breaking the silence and erasing the shame that surrounds miscarriage called Don't Talk About The Baby (DTATB).  This project is working to put together a documentary film "that explores the culture and shame surrounding miscarriage and infertility," and they are calling for stories:
We want your voice to be heard, and you don't need to be a part of the final film in order to tell your story. We encourage you to record your story and share it with us, so that we can share it with the DTATB community.  Tell us about your journey. Tell us about your baby, your loss, your treatments, your life, and how you're breaking your silence to take the stigma away from miscarriage and infertility. There are no guidelines concerning video content or swearing, so please feel free to tell your story exactly as you feel most comfortable telling it. Simply record your video, upload it to YouTube and contact us with the link. We'll add your video to the website, and may feature it on the Facebook and Twitter pages. Your story is an important part of this movement, and we'd be honored to share it with the world on your behalf. 
Although the idea of filming myself was a bit uncomfortable, I knew I had to do this!  So one afternoon during Christmas break, I set up the camera in our bedroom, pulled up "Because Angel Lived" on my computer, and filmed myself reading the piece I had written  for Katy Larsen's book.  The result is below and is today's forget-me-not.

After sharing my video with DTATB, they contacted me and said they had decided to feature my video on their Facebook and Twitter pages with plans to also share it on the DTATB website!  To say I was thrilled would be a huge understatement!  There is even a possibility that I could be interviewed for the documentary!!

And then, I got a message via Facebook from an old friend.  I had shared the DTATB page on my timeline, and she had seen it in her newsfeed.  After watching my video, she sent me this:
Jamie, I just listened to your story "Because Angel Lived" and I feel the need to message you and let you know how it affected me. It is not going to be the same as you would expect. I don't know how much you remember but in Jan of 2000 my husband and I lost our son at 14 weeks into our pregnancy. It was considered a live birth even though he could have only lasted maybe seconds. That remains to this day the most devastating day of my life. It took me a very long time to grieve and get to a point where I could move on. It was ultimately the birth [of my second son] later that year that saved me. There were still things about that time that I never got over and one of them involved you. On July 4th, which was my original due date, we were at your house for a celebration but I wasn't feeling much like celebrating. You and I ended up talking some and during the conversation at one point you told me that it was time for me to move on. Those words broke me because I couldn't move on and I felt ultimately abandoned by the friend who had been so supportive. When you lost your Angel, my heart broke for you. I would not wish that pain on anyone and I grieved for you and your family. At the same time I realized that I was still upset with what had happened all those years ago and that, in some ways, it kept a slight wedge on how I could view you as a friend. I was cautious and afraid to be close to you again. I prayed that you would have the support and understanding you needed during that time but did my best to distance myself from it. Hearing your words tonight gave me the closure I needed. Hearing you admit that you had said things in the past to others grieving that you were hurt by and knowing that in your heart you thought you were doing the right thing helped me to let go of that hurt and finally fully forgive. So thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being so honest and open and saying all of the things I wanted to say to you 15 years ago. I hope that because of your story there will be less hurt between friends because there will be more understanding. Because Angel lived, there was forgiveness and healing.
 Her message to me is the exact reason why we MUST talk about miscarriage and infant loss!

I do remember when I admonished her to move on from her loss - as if someone could ever move on from the loss of a child.  And as I say in "Because Angel Lived," when I said those insensitive words to my friend, I said it in complete ignorance. I admit my this in the following portion from "Because Angel Lived":
I understood the comments after my loss were coming from those who had good intentions.  I knew this to be true because before my loss, I had offered up those same condolences to friends of mine who had experienced miscarriages.  At that time, I didn’t know how to comfort a woman who had just experienced the loss of a baby. 
My friend's e-mail to me was humbling for me to read and inspirational.  Her message confirmed to me that sharing my story - and Angel's story - is something I must continue to do.  Because if reading my story or something on this blog helps there be, as she says, "less hurt between friends [and family]," that's all I could ever dream or hope for!

"Because Angel lived, there was forgiveness and healing."

What an undeserved gift those words are to my soul!  Love you, my friend!!!

Today's forget-me-not:



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