October 15 was Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. Though I didn't post about it, I did a lot of thinking about the issue, since it is one close to my heart. Not only have my husband and I experienced two losses, but many couples close to us are pregnant, have newborns, or have experienced losses themselves. In my new role as chaplain of a children's hospital, these losses are never far away. Some of these losses occur early, like mine. What is lost is the idea, or hope, of that child, because you haven't felt the child move, or learned its gender. Others occur late in the pregnancy, and it seems like the child is already with you and a part of your family.
There have been stories on the news lately of parents who lost their children later in pregnancy. When this couple learned that their unborn son, Shane, had a condition that gave him a life expectancy of only a few hours, they created a bucket list of things to do with him. They visited museums, went to a pumpkin patch, the beach, and much more. Though they knew they would lose Shane, they found a way to make him a part of their lives forever.
When I read stories like this, I think about our hopes for a successful pregnancy. At one time, I thought that if I got past the first trimester, I would be less nervous. Then, after hearing stories of late losses like this, I began to worry about later losses. Working at the hospital has made my worries grow worse.
But loss can happen at any point. At four weeks into a pregnancy, at 39 weeks. It can happen at age 2, or 12, 50 or 100. It isn't something we ever know for certain, even when we are given a timeline. And it doesn't make sense to live in fear of that coming loss. If we did live in that fear, our lives would be incredibly stressful!
I'm inspired by Shane's parents. I'm inspired by their desire to live in the moment, rather than worry about the future and what losses may come. I'm inspired to live my own life in that way. Instead of worrying about the possibility of losing the next baby, I want to try to experience joy in the fact that we are trying to start a family at all.
It's a difficult idea to live into, but seeing stories of other families brings me hope, peace, and joy.