October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month. I am fortunate enough to have not experienced a loss of my own child, but have experienced a loss in a different way. At 8 years old, my parents sat my siblings and I down to have a “family talk.” These talks typically consisted of our next move or an upcoming vacation. But this one was different.
My parents informed us that before my brother and I were born they had another baby. We had an older brother. Being young and not fully understanding the loss of an infant, all we understood was we lost the chance of having a big brother. It effected my brother the most as my younger sister and I would play and leave him out being the boy.
As this information wasn’t easy on my siblings and I, I can’t imagine how hard it was on my parents. My mom carried my brother 40 weeks and 4 days to all of a sudden feel as if something was wrong. She called the doctor saying that she hadn’t felt him move as much and she was concerned. Knowing that my brother was growing out of space she hoped that was all it was. Only to go to the hospital and hear those terrifying words that there was no longer a heartbeat. They had found a knot in his umbilical cord, but beyond that no reasoning for him passing. They had to say goodbye even before they got the chance to say hello.
Two months later my parents were pregnant with twins (my brother and I) and although my mom will admit “it was too soon” as my brother and I came into this world at 28 weeks and had to spend 90 days in the NICU we were fighters and are now grown healthy adults. My parents weren’t given one but two rainbow babies and although they had to go through more heartache to keep us in this world there was a reason we made it through.
After my parents told my siblings and I about our brother we have made it a point every year to remember his birthday, we talk about what kind of person he may have been and how he would fit in our family. The loss of a child is the greatest grief and those that endure it are stronger for it.
To those of you who have lost a child to soon, my heart goes out to you. If you have other children who have lost a sibling I encourage you to tell them at an appropriate age. Although heart breaking it has brought our family closer. It has informed me as a woman and my brother as a future husband the fear that comes with bringing life into this world. I have heard it described as “being robbed” you were given a life that was taken too soon. But each October or each “birthday” take time to celebrate that life, because although gone to soon it is a life worth remembering.