Oct 22 2013
Last night as I laid awake thinking, wishing I was sleeping. I thought of all the strong women I have been blessed to meet, that have shared their innermost and secret pain with me. I am so in awe that they are wanting, willing to share with me. I suppose it is because they know I understand. They feel comfortable sharing their loss, their heartache.
I started counting and I am so saddened by the numbers. I can remember the first mother that approached me and told me that her son died 17 years ago when he was 21- that was a week after Lily died.
A few days ago at the gym a women looked at me and said- ‘you had your baby!’ I said –‘yes’, she asked the dreaded question -‘is it your first?’ -‘No’ (long pause) -‘It’s my 4rth.’ –‘Oh wow, how old are the others?’ –why why why! –‘Um well 5, 7 and now a 6mth old. Um my 3rd died.’ Her face falls, she starts crying. ‘I’m sorry I’m an emotional person.’ She says –‘It’s ok’ I say over and over once again feeling annoyed that I have to comfort someone else’s un-comfortableness with my loss. She then says ‘my son is 15 and my daughter is 5. The gap is so big because I lost 3 babies in between.’ –Oh. Now it was my turn to be sorry.
A month after Lily died I started going to a bereaved parents support group there was always a half-dozen other parents sometimes more. All grieving, trying to cope, wanting to be understood by the outside world in their journey. One session a mother who had lost her baby at just 2 days old said ‘at least you had yours for 2 months’ another on a different occasion said ‘but yours did get to go home’ -hers lived his whole life at the hospital her baby was almost 5 months old when he died. Those comments may seem harsh to an outsider, I was not hurt, I did not feel slighted they were expressing how they truly felt; real raw emotion and they were right. From that moment on I was able to begin appreciating the few things Lily gave me. I was lucky she lived for 2 months and I was lucky she came home for 15 days. I was lucky to see her smile. I was lucky to have her if only for a fleeting moment.
In the last 2 years I have had so many encounters like these. Women telling me of their miscarriages or their friends’ stillborn babies. There are people I have known for years and only recently told me they have lost babies. I am honored that they can share their hurt their loss their sorrow with me though I am saddened by how many women go through this alone. Grieving in silence.
In 2005: Stats Canada reported- 8,495 women experienced fetal losses in Canada (miscarriage) with 1,863 infant deaths (under 1 year)
In 2011: BC Vital Statistics reported 441 stillbirths and 167 infant deaths in British Columbia. These statistics do not include miscarriages that occur before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In the US the numbers are too overwhelming to understand.
According to www.hopeexchange.com a site focused on pregnancy loss, it states:
“There are about 4.4 million confirmed pregnancies in the U.S. every year. 900,000 to 1 million of those end in pregnancy losses.”
“More than 500,000 pregnancies each year end in miscarriage(occurring during the first 20 weeks).”
“ Approximately 26,000 end in stillbirth
(considered stillbirth after 20 weeks)
Approximately 19,000 end in infant death during the first month.
Approximately 39,000 end in infant death during the first year.
Approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage
Approximately 75% of all miscarriages occur in the first trimester.
An estimated 80% of all miscarriages are single miscarriages.”
* According to the site their data is based on ‘march of dimes’.
This is another website with statistics for fetal loss, stillbirth and infant death. The numbers are for the USA and therefore incredibly and sadly way higher than Canada but I think it gives an immense sense of understanding to how many women suffer- silently.
- National Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness Month ~ Wave of Light October 15th 7PM (myfrugalsavings.com)