Yesterday was October 15. It was also Infant and Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day. It’s a day that actually filled me with a jumble of thoughts and feelings, and one that I shied away from writing on, because, well, I’ve got an amazing Nugget that I get to spend so much time with, and I’ve watched her grow from a squishy lump to a pretty confident, self-aware, and opinionated child.
In fact, in some ways, a part of me says that having Nugget in my life means that I don’t get to have those moments of remembrance. After all, I certainly don’t want to take away from those I know personally, and those I’ve only met in passing through the web, that don’t get to hug their children, and maybe never got to. A part of my brain says that, because we’ve got Nugget, that erases any loss experienced before.
That part of my brain is really stupid.
See, having Nugget in our lives doesn’t take away Poppy from us. No, we never got to hold our first child, but she (we’ve always assumed “she”, although we lost her before it was even too early to be able to tell), was there. She was present in our lives, and at the forefront of our thoughts. We became parents when Poppy was created; from that point forward, even if we’d never had another child, Mama and I would have been a mother and father. There was nothing that was going to ever take that away from us, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still think about that first child, what they might be doing now, what their personality would be, and how much trouble they’d be getting into.
I think that’s a good thing, and I truly believe that’s important. We’re getting ready to usher another new life into this world (due right around Christmas, for those playing at home), and we’re incredibly excited about what’s going to come down the pipe. But neither of those children remove the concept and knowledge of Poppy from us. In fact, just a few days ago, Nugget was talking about how she could see her sister. Given that the impending new baby is a boy, that caused pause, and we immediately believed she was talking about Poppy. Now, when asked to give us a description, Nugget described Anna from Frozen, but still, that moment brought the whole range of emotions surrounding Poppy’s short time back to the forefront of my thoughts.
I said above that, from the moment Poppy was conceived, we became a mother and a father. I truly, deeply believe that. It doesn’t matter if you’ve carried a child on your back, in your arms, or never even got to hold their hand. You become a mother or father. I only also hope that everyone who becomes a parent gets the chance to be either a Mom or a Dad, as well, but that isn’t always in the cards, unfortunately.
If Poppy was still with us, she’d be two and a half. She’d be running around, probably getting just as excited about Halloween as Nugget currently is. She might not have the same desire to get scared of things as Nugget does, but I’ve got a feeling she’d be just about as adventurous. She’d be testing my limits with each passing day, all while teaching me new ways to experience the world. After all, Nugget is doing just that, and Poppy would have had a couple of extra months on her.
Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade Nugget for the world. I am so very proud, and amazed, and filled with love, all because of the things that little girl shows me every day. But I will also always hold Poppy in my heart, because that’s the only place that she fits for me.
So yes, I have experienced the loss of a child. Does my loss compare to the losses I’ve seen others go through? No. But it doesn’t have to. Nobody should get into the game of saying “I lost more than you”, or “My pain is greater than yours”. Because they aren’t comparable. They are different. And they should be, because our experiences, especially along the lines of loss, are personal, and not truly for public consumption.
What we should be doing is offer support to those who have suffered, or are currently suffering. We should be picking people up, instead of watching them crumble. And, while we may not truly comprehend what someone is going through, we should at least have the empathy to let them know that we’ve had a similar experience. After all, we are expected to share in our highs, so why can’t we also share in our lows.
To those that have lost, I offer you my love, and my support. No matter what, you are always parents in my eyes. Thank you.