October is the best. The Fall season means the school routine is set, the air is crisp, and the leaves are colorful and bountiful. October is the time for jumping in leaf piles, pumpkin patches, hay rides, corn maze adventures, creating Jack-o’-lanterns, mumkins, visiting apple orchards, tailgating, planning Halloween costumes, and so much more.
In our family, October carries special meaning because it is also Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Unfortunately, 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage. A pregnancy loss took my breath away before my daughter had a chance to experience her first one. My entire family was thrown into a tailspin of grief and confusion.
How do we tell the kids?
How do I deal with this pain?
How do I support my husband in his grief?
How do I process my emotions without scaring the kids?
How do I breathe?
How do we function?
How do we survive this?
Our house was ready for a new baby, but we found ourselves with a crib, a stroller, bottles, and clothes that would never be used again. Facing the day was suddenly full of obstacles that seemed endless and impossible… there were constant reminders of what we lost. For my husband, it was the empty high chair, now pushed into the corner of the dining room. For me, it was the lies from the mirror that reflected a baby bump and swollen breasts.
All I knew was that I desperately wanted her back.
I was aimless and distraught, and I couldn’t “fix” what was broken. I found a way to tell my kids that the baby wouldn’t be joining our family and I fumbled along the way. A lot. In that conversation, and in our loss, I found a focus and purpose in writing our story. So, I created a book as part of my grief journey.
After my miscarriage, I was overwhelmed and didn’t have the energy to search for resources that could help us. I hope that families can read Saying Goodbye to Olivia together to help parents explain a miscarriage to young children. My goal is that the book can encourage each family’s conversation while empowering kids in a scary, unfamiliar situation.
This October, I will think of our little Olivia, and how our family still misses her. My heart will ache and I’m sure there will be tears. I will also appreciate the beauty and busyness of Fall that surrounds me. I will move forward with a deep breath and solemn smile while holding hands with my husband. Our daughter will be with us for every step. She may be gone, but she is still part our family – always.
This month, allow yourself to grieve if you’ve lost a baby. Allow yourself to smile, as well. Please reach out to families who may be in a similar situation, just to let them know you are thinking of them. The Fall seems a perfect time to reflect, acknowledge wishful thinking, and be grateful for happy days.
Marie started her journalism career as a copy editor and paginator for a newspaper. She eventually left the newspaper business and has continued as a freelance writer for more than 20 years. She founded Write Away K, and is the author of many children’s books. She published two books to honor her daughter, Saying Goodbye to Olivia and Olivia Had Trisomy 18. Marie and her husband are graciously permitted to live in a house with their cats. They are also parents to two children and one angel baby. Please visit BooksbyMarie.com to learn more.