I joke a lot that people should be forced to work in food service, because it makes you a better person. It gives you a perspective that can’t be duplicated elsewhere – you see the best and the worst in people and it changes you, makes you more considerate and more understanding.
When it comes to understanding others, most of us can sympathize – empathize, even – but unless you’ve been there, you can’t really see things from their perspective. Perspective is something you can only learn through experience.
Of course, not all perspectives are welcome, or easy to learn.
For me, one particular perspective has been over two years in the making.
Two years ago, I first broached the subject of miscarriage on this blog.
Two years ago, my first post on the subject came from a raw, painful place. I was reeling from our second loss and struggling to come to terms with the fact that this very normal, though very painful, journey was the journey we were on.
Last year, I wrote from a calmer but still anxious place, as we were just over a month away from meeting our little boy, but still harboring fear that something could always go wrong.
This year? This year I’m writing from a place of such disbelief that I’m not even sure words can describe it (but obviously, I’m going to try, otherwise what am I doing here?).
The past year has been a whirlwind, watching this tiny person I hoped for arrive, thrive and grow, making my heart simultaneously overflow with love and tremble at the sheer immensity of what we’ve done. I mean, we created a person that we are now wholly responsible for, and for the most part, have no idea what we’re doing.
And this person – this tiny little person – has all but erased the memory of what it was like, two years ago, to be writing a post to tell our friends and family that we were hurting.
How, in such a small amount of time, has he changed everything?
And how is it fair that I was given this perfect little person, while so many people never get that reprieve?
This is the part where people usually say things like, “everything happens for a reason” or “you are where you’re supposed to be.” And while those comments are generally well-intentioned, they’re not particularly helpful. Yes, I’m grateful to have this beautiful child and yes, for me, the pain has subdued, but when these seemingly harmless platitudes are made to women and men who aren’t currently holding their silver lining, they can be downright hurtful.
I will never say I’m grateful for the experience that brought us Franklin. Going through three miscarriages while we waited for him to arrive was gut-wrenching. What it did, though, was give me a not-so-unique perspective into what so many people are going through behind closed doors. And by talking about it, I’ve been able to open a dialogue with friends and family, many of whom have confided in me their own struggles.
So once again, I remind you that tomorrow, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. At 7 p.m. in your local time zone, join me in lighting a candle for an hour to participate in an International Wave of Light to remember those lost too soon through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or as an infant.
Though their lives may have been short, the mark they leave on our hearts is real.