I am a grieving mother.
Through three miscarriages, a stillbirth, and an infant loss- Not one day goes by when I don't think of my girls. They are my whole world, every bit as much as my living children.
I am also a blogger. I have a platform and an audience and (I believe) a responsibility to use that platform and audience in a way that builds up community and encourages people.
Of course, in this space, I advocate for a lot of things. I advocate for a non-traditional style of education. I advocate for a certain style of informed and intentional parenting. I advocate for making it work for you, not doing what I do.
I also advocate for pregnancy and infant loss awareness.
And its very, very hard....because, I too am a grieving mother.
I too cry myself to sleep some nights.
I too have people make insensitive comments.
I too have to fight against unexpected triggers...and known ones I can't ever hope to avoid.
Yet I still write. Why?!?!
For about a million reasons, but for one big one.
I don't want any woman to think that because they are still grieving their loss a month later, a year later, or more that they have done something wrong. That there is anything at all wrong with them.
Grief has its own crazy timeline, but I've noticed over the last ten years (between Kenna and Siena) that social media has raised awareness and made talking about loss more acceptable. Unfortunately, it has also put a perceived cap on how long one should talk about it.
For example, pregnancy and infant loss is tragically prevalent. This means that on somewhat regular intervals, our online communities will face a loss. It almost doesn't matter what kind of loss- miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss- friends and followers will rally around this woman for a few weeks and then they will float away to the next story (maybe another loss, maybe not). The blogger/person facing the loss will keep talking about it for a few more weeks. Then they realize no one is really paying much attention any more, so they go radio-silent and work through their grief on their own.
In reality this part is good. Such a deeply personal loss cannot be worked out publicly. Its a grueling rollercoaster.
The problem is when they decide to break radio silence. In my observation, the majority either never (or rarely) talk about their loss again or talk about it at first and then realize that now their loss has become a liability. As in, if they are a legitimate business owner, speaker, author, whatever, now instead of the support of their followers they start losing followers and as a result income.
And sometimes in dramatic (and rude) fashion. It isn't just loss of followers, its private emails telling you to "go away and never contact" a person again and people reporting your emails as spam to your server. It's people telling you that your content needs to be held because a newsletter is full or it might be upsetting so maybe keep that just to the pregnancy and infant loss people, even rejecting it outright.
It is the rare few who keep talking about their loss months and years later.
So why do I?
Because I'm still a mother. I'm still a grieving mother, walking that delicate balance between the living and the dead.
I'm not telling you this that you will feel sorry for me. Please don't make that mistake. I can take it and I do take it each year because every day another family joins this club. I want them to know that their new normal is ok. If they are still thinking about their baby a year or more later. That's ok.
All still ok.
See at the end of the day, it isn't all loss of followers. Frankly, that's mostly annoying and usually temporary. It's hard in the moments, but not what sticks with me in between posts. At the end of the day, there is a deep feeling of honor when a woman comes to me and tells me her story. I am so humbled to be able to share in a woman's healing...sometimes decades old...when she tells me the story of her little one gone too soon.
I have heard from women who's loss was 50 years ago and they still have a desire to share their story with someone they can trust. Unfortunately they quickly learned, like the moms of today, that sharing had a cost that they weren't sure they were willing to pay.
So mama if you are out there and getting the message that there is something wrong with your grief as it is lasting beyond some arbitrary socially acceptable limit, take heart.
Your great grief is just a measure of your equally great love.