The internet and I are frenemies. I use it for information, which it gladly provides. I seek out stories similar to mine for comfort - to know I am not alone. And when I find those stories, plus a hundred more, I instantly wish I was. The other day, I went Blog-hopping. This is a phrase I have just now coined (copyright pending) to explain jumping from one blog to another via the links on each writer's page. I Blog-hopped for a good two hours, reading story after story of women who know the same pain I do. Two hours. And I could have continued for days, linking from one person's anguish to the next, never crossing back.
A whole new world has opened up to me. A world I never new existed and will forever wished it didn't. I stumbled upon this particular website as part of the Small Bird Studios blog. Anyone who writes a blog on baby loss can enter their URL and add their blog to the list. Women who come across this site searching for support have several stories to choose from. When I added my site, I was #509. Five hundred and nine! That means, there are five hundred and eight other heartbroken women who have found this site and entered their blog. Five hundred and eight other mothers who know what it is like to feel broken and incomplete. If that number seems staggering to you, think about this: that list is only the women who write a blog AND happened to find this website AND then decided to add their name. (Since adding my blog, I have revisited the site and it is now up to 521. For those of you not doing the math, that is eleven more women.) This is when my friend the internet becomes my enemy. When it links me to story after story of heart ache. When it reminds me that not only am I not alone, but the amount of people here with me is far too many.
Sometimes, reading about someone else's pain makes me feel connected. I feel less crazy. I feel validated in my emotions and my actions. I think, "Oh, I am so glad I am not the only one who feels that way. Oh, wow, she does that too!" I read their stories and I cry along with them, and I feel cleansed. But then, I keep reading. Blog after blog. Post after post. The circumstances vary, but the pain is the same. And then, I begin to hurt. Not just for my baby, but for all of the babies. For every mother who had to say goodbye. Another ant bite on an already swollen ankle. Wait, that's not the best analogy...an ant bite is too inconsequential to describe the heaviness of this magnitude. It is both comforting to know that other people understand. But it is also heartbreaking. When you have felt the pain of your own creation being ripped away from you, you wouldn't wish it on anyone else. Ever. We are united in agony, bound together by tears and shattered souls.
Sadly, stillbirths and infant losses happen more than you'd like to think - and they will continue to happen more than you will personally know of. I never in a million years dreamed I'd be on this end of the keyboard, pouring my heart out into a blog like this. But I am. And so are hundreds of other women. And we all want the same thing (besides a time machine to undo the unthinkable). We want our babies to be remembered.
Maybe you know someone else who has been in my shoes. Maybe you have seen them struggling with their laces. Maybe mine is the only face of loss you know. Maybe yours stares back at you in the mirror. I know there are at least four women whom I have met through our shared tragedies who are reading these words right now. And I want to say to each of them that I am so very sorry you have to feel this pain too. I am so very sorry your baby is not in your arms. This is not how it is supposed to be. But, we are strong. We are fighters. We will remember our children with a love we never knew was possible. We want everyone to know they were beautiful and wonderful and pure. We want everyone to know their name. Hunter. Avery. Brooke. Ava. Kenley. Much love, Mamas. Much love.