Yesterday social media filled up with photographs of candles. Whether they were tealights, pillars, or lanterns, each light shone in solidarity, remembering those little lives that burned so brightly and we're extinguished far too soon.
The pain of infant loss is hard to describe. When I started this blog I thought I was starting on the road to motherhood. As soon as that little blue line appears, your whole mindset changes. You think of a future as a mum, and you think of the baby inside you, and you see you're future in a whole new way - 'pregnant' equals 'mum'.
Who would have thought that 4 years later I'm no further forward. To the external world I am not a mum. I have no baby pictures to show, no anecdotes or funny stories. All we have are 2 scan reports that found no heart beat. That's hardly going to make it onto the Facebook page.
But to me we are parents. But it's a label that we hold close to our heart, quietly. Because loss before life isn't something the world is comfortable with.
You look at social media, and people paint their perfect worlds: smiling families, days out, nights with friends - we all share our best sides. That makes the sad things in life all the more isolating. I see friends happily announce they are expecting, or see their little ones grow, and hubby and I remember the 2 babies we've lost. I don't look at our friends enviously (okay, maybe a bit) we are genuinely pleased with their news - it's just also a reminder of the little hands we could have held
I don't hide the fact I've had 2 miscarriages. If people ask if we have kids, I explain that things haven't been straightforward. I've told a number of friends, I'm not ashamed, I think we should all be more vocal about these things. There is no shame or fault, or blame. It just is.
But at the same time I don't publicise it. I don't want to force my sad story on other people. That's why my scan reports stay filed away, and eccentric why I didn't document our second pregnancy, and then loss on this blog. Maybe with my first pregnancy I was naive. I just didn't think of the possibility that things wouldn't end well. But I also don't want to bring anyone else down. I don't want to crack that veneer of perfection that we create around ourselves online... and so I too feed the taboo around miscarriage.
So, to all those parents of lost children out there: you're not alone. I send each and everyone of you a hug, a hand on your shoulder. We shouldn't hide away, we should remember. Life isn't perfect and we should pretend otherwise.
Love to you all.