I'm sure many of you have heard in the news the terrible story of the woman who was shot multiple times outside a pediatric clinic in Texas as her newborn son was abducted. Fortunately the baby has since been returned to his family, but will grow up without his mother. The woman accused of the murder and abduction had reportedly just had a miscarriage and told her fiance that she had given birth to his baby.
It's a sick and horrible thing and part of what upsets me is how this may portray those in the baby loss community. It reminded me of an episode from the show Private Practice in which one of the main characters who is pregnant, is tied up and temporarily paralyzed by a crazed and desperate woman who had recently lost a baby and in her delusional state thinks that the pregnant woman is carrying her child. She basically performs an at home C-Section and leaves the woman for dead. Granted it's a TV show and the baby ends up being taken to the hospital, crazy woman arrested, main character lives, yadda, yadda . . . yet again it's the portrayal of a woman who goes bat-shit crazy after losing her child.
And I wish I could say that it's not like that in real life. But this woman in Texas proves otherwise. But I can say, for the most part, that is so very far from the truth. I've lost a son. I've given birth to a baby who didn't cry upon delivery and left the hospital with a small box of mementos instead of a newborn safely buckled into his car seat. I lost a piece of my heart and became one of the hundreds of thousands of women who are an unfortunate statistic. But while it may not have felt like it early on, I didn't totally lose my mind. I didn't for once think to do something so horrible and drastic like steal another woman's child. Sure, I became one of the bereaved, but I became a person who had to figure out how to live life again with someone I never had to begin with and in doing so I have met and encountered so many others who have been there - before me, with me, and sadly who continue to be after me. Who have survived. Who have, in a sense, triumphed over this awful and horrible loss that at times feels like it can consume you by simply getting up each day and doing our best to live life again. I have found some incredibly passionate and strong and beautiful voices in the baby loss community. People who are normal and inspiring. Our tragic experiences may have forever changed us, but I truly feel that each one of us has gained some intangible strengths and genuine qualities that are a result of these brief and powerful lives that touched ours for far too short of a time.
When I was pregnant with Finn, and would see other pregnant woman I would often get a twinge of bitterness. I would unfairly assume that they didn't know how lucky they were or how good they had it. But I would (and still do) try to remind myself that I don't know every one's story. I don't know what people have been through and what burdens they are carrying with them every day. Because the bereaved are all around us. I sometimes wonder what people see when they meet my husband. Upon first glance you probably don't see a man who in the span of eight months lost his son and his brother. Because somehow, someway he didn't totally lose himself. Which is kind of amazing if you think about it. But it's the only life he's been given and it's the way it is. And we are certainly not the only people affected by tragedy.
In fact, what I have learned is that the bereaved are some of the most beautiful people I know.