I blinked and June arrived.

I have dreaded this month, particularly this date, June 7th because it represents a life that will never be. A path that wasn’t mean to be taken. A child I wasn’t meant to know. Today would’ve been my second baby’s due date. Miscarriage grief is heavy and long. Most days I feel as though it might as well pack a bag and stay because it isn’t going anywhere.

It’s not only present on the day you lose your baby. It doesn’t stop hurting, the reminders don’t go away.

It’s the baby website emails that you remember unsubscribing from that will hit you unexpectedly with an email about how many weeks along you’d be.

It’s the formula samples in the mail.

It’s the dates you already had marked on your calendar; the ultrasound booked for January that you had to call and cancel.

It’s getting to your due date month and feeling that you should be sitting on the porch, rubbing your belly, and feeling proud to have made it to the third trimester – soaking in these last weeks of calm before the baby comes. Instead, you feel like something is missing. Because they are.

It’s seeing the days get closer and closer to that date, your baby’s due date. The would’ve been birthday week. The day you’ll never forget regardless.

It’s knowing that for every year, for the rest of your life, you’ll know just how old they would be. And you won’t ever stop wondering who they might’ve been, what life would’ve looked like, even who you would’ve been if you had not lost them. Because loss changes you too.

I saw a post on Instagram a while back from another mother who suffered losses. Her post was encouraging moms to use their names. To name the babies that we’ve lost. I know for me, I think about my baby every single day. When I read her post and scrolled the comments reading the names of all these mother’s angel babies, I knew I had to name my baby.

I am not announcing a birth today. Instead, I’m letting the world know that we are parents to a sweet angel baby named River.

River because when I was pregnant, similar to my pregnancy with Julia, I had a feeling about what their spirit was like. With Julia, I knew immediately that she was fierce and strong. It was a feeling that lasted with me my entire pregnancy. I just knew that she was going to be full of life and spark. And she was and still is, 100% that.

When I was pregnant with River, I felt something very different. River came to me during a very intense time in my life. Yet it was almost as though as soon as I knew about them, they felt like they’d fit right into our life, perfectly. I felt like River had a gentle spirit, a peaceful one. I can’t explain how I knew this, but it was a strong feeling, similar to the one I had about Julia when I was pregnant with her.

The name River means, well, of course, a river. But for me it is about what rivers, and water represent to me, which is calm and tranquility. Everything about River’s short life was gentle and calm. I didn’t get sick. I didn’t feel too scared. There was a lot going on at the time, but when I was stressed I would hold on to this thought, of having my sweet baby in my arms, in our yard, while watching Julia play this summer. It was a very specific daydream, but it was one that made me feel an indescribable feeling of joy and anticipation for their arrival.

I think about River and the life we would’ve had together every day. The thoughts range from, feeling and believing that their sweet spirit hasn’t left my side – when I see a cardinal visit my bird feeder, I think of River. Sometimes when I see two little birds chasing each other in the tree branches, I think of how the pregnancy I lost began as twins. My heart is forever conflicted with that detail. I mourn for the baby I knew about. But it’s hard not to wonder what some alternate universe would’ve been like if the twin pregnancy had stuck. It’s a lot to wrap my head around. But truthfully, I feel a connection mostly to the baby I for sure knew about. The one I saw wiggling around on the ultrasound just a week and a half before they passed away inside me, unknown to myself or my body until weeks later.

I really wish that there wasn’t such a stigma when it comes to talking about miscarriage. We give each other space to grieve our grandmothers without ever saying “but at least your other grandmother is alive”. I mean, that would absolutely horrible to tell a person, wouldn’t it? Because no one can replace the space in your heart that a loved one held once they are gone. So why is it so common for mothers to hear these words after miscarriage? “At least you have one.”, “You can try again.”, “It wasn’t meant to be.”. Would you tell someone who’s loved one’s life was cut tragically short, that living longer, “wasn’t meant to be” ?! For some reason though, people think it is ok to say this to mothers who are grieving a miscarriage.

It is not okay.

I recently connected with a friend over our shared experience of miscarriage and it meant so much to me to have someone to talk to who understood it, completely, because she went through it. And the thing is, we don’t walk around wearing a badge stating the suffering we’ve been through. Finding out that someone you know has been through a loss just like you, isn’t going to happen unless you talk about it. So I encourage you if you’re reading this, two things :

1. Don’t be afraid to open up. In the case of miscarriage, it is extremely common, and the chance that you know someone who has gone through it is almost guaranteed. It was six months after my miscarriage before I spoke to someone face to face who had not only been through it but who was willing to talk to me about their experience.

It’s understandable that some people will not want to talk about it at length, but in my situation, being able to share my experience and hear my friend’s experience made me feel so much more validated that I wasn’t alone in this.
Being told a statistic is…sterile, meaningless. It doesn’t really help to know that I’m 1 in 4. It honestly sucks to know that.
But to talk to another mom, and know that I’m not alone is validating. It doesn’t fix anything necessarily, but it made me feel something that I hadn’t felt before. I felt seen and understood.

2. If you haven’t had a miscarriage, be mindful of how you speak to mothers who have. Miscarriage is not easy to talk about and if someone has found the courage to mention it to you, please do not be the person who says “It wasn’t meant to be.”, “You can try again.”, “At least you have one.”. If you don’t know what to say, hold space for them. Things that might actually help: “I’m sorry.”, “It’s not your fault.”, “Do you want to talk about it?”.

I’m going to end this post with something I personally believe in that might not necessarily resonate with everyone but does for me. When I think of human life, I think of souls. I believe in reincarnation, it’s something I’ve studied a lot in the last couple of years. That being said, I don’t feel like the babies we lose are ever really “gone”, they’re just somewhere else. And I do think souls can come back. I have hope that, that maybe, someday, if we ever have another baby, maybe River will come back to us. I trust my intuition enough to know if that’s the case. But, if not, I also strongly believe that River’s soul has a purpose. I do not feel that River has left our side. I feel that they are a guide for our family, an angel we are lucky to call ours. And no matter what the future holds for our family, River will always be our second baby; wanted, loved, and never forgotten.

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