In college, I was a proud member of my sorority. I went to all the socials, served on the executive board, and most importantly, made life-long friends. These women were (and still are!) my sisters (in addition to my real life sistah, Carly) and we shared a bond that is special and unique...I mean after all, who else will hold back your hair, ??, or forgive you when you pee in borrowed pants? Not that any of those things happened to me of course...I'm just saying, sorority sisters have a friendship that is unlike any other. Now I find myself a part of a different group. Losing Callie caused me to be initiated into a sisterhood that no one ever wants to be a member of, with the most cruel hazing of all...the death of a child. Shortly after Callie died, the messages started trickling into my inbox. I had a miscarriage. My baby was stillborn. My baby had a genetic disorder too. Each woman's pain was so fresh and raw you could taste it...whether the loss had been recent or years ago. No one thinks it will happen to them. And for good reason! If you did, you'd probably be too scared to ever have kids. Of anything you could ever do, nothing, NOTHING, is a bigger risk. Being a parent will challenge you and change you. Allowing yourself to love someone as deeply as one loves a child also opens yourself up to the biggest pain when they disappoint you, do stupid things, or worst of all, if you lose them. And that is coming from the perspective of someone who was only a parent for 35 hours & nine months. Despite what we've been through, I carry the hope that the benefits are worth the risk and that one day we will know these gifts first-hand. Boy, will that be a scary ride when that time comes.
For now though, I am growing more comfortable in this community of loss. Every time I exchange stories with another woman who has experienced the death of a child, I learn something new and my perspective changes. It helps to know that I am not alone. Although our stories are always different, our common experiences create a bond that can never be broken. I talk with other ladies I know who have lost a baby. I take a photography class geared for grieving mothers. I am in online support groups. It is in these places and with these people where I can really say what I want to say...sometimes to perfect strangers, now my sisters.
I am glad that more celebrities are now making their struggles with baby loss or infertility public. Jay-Z and Beyonce had a miscarriage before Baby Blue. Bethenny Frankel talked openly about her loss. And then there is Kloe and Lamar and Bill and Giuliana who have shared their struggles with fertility with the world. These issues are a part of real life more than anyone ever wants to acknowledge and it's about time that it has come out in the open. It does not have to be a secret...that is, if you do not want it to be. I have learned that everyone grieves differently...and that's ok. Certainly, not everyone would want to share their emotions publicly...but I think it is good that you can if you want to whether it be in a blog, online community, or a support group. I, personally, am glad that I have opened myself up to talking about it. Because of this blog, I have heard from so many women, like big sisters who take new sorority members under their wings, and it has comforted me beyond belief. Old friendships have been rekindled and new friendships have been forged. I hope one day, when I am through with this awful initiation, I can be someone else's big sis... a story to share, arms to hug, and ears to listen. To my sisters, no matter what, we will always have each other. Blessed be the tie that binds...