When groups of people come together to stand in unity against a single cause, mountains can be moved. October is commonly known as breast cancer awareness month. People go pink and walk for cures. Money is raised near and far. I, personally, focus my attention on another awareness – pregnancy and infant loss.
Not one day goes by where I don’t remember my mom telling us our older sister had lost her baby. It hurt. The pain took months to go away. That pain was shared, no, multiplied, for my older sister, Colleen. It hurt to look at her. You could see her grieving. It was heartbreaking to watch her pain and know I couldn’t do anything about it.
I look into the eyes of my niece and my nephew and I thank all the heavens above for them. However, in every family photo, family birthday and family outing there is a hole. This hole will never be gone and it will always hurt. We just pray that each year the hurt will sting just a little less.
Pregnancy loss or an infant’s death may hit a little too close to home for some college students. UNO senior Summer Hill knows the pain that comes from the loss of a child. She miscarried after five precious months with her son.
“I didn’t quite understand why it happened or why I couldn’t carry to full-term,” Hill said. “You literally go through so many emotions during a single day that still affect you today.”
While watching everyone stand together and march for breast cancer awareness, I wonder how it would feel if more people also marched for infant loss awareness. When will there be a time where we talk about this loss? When will it be big enough where there is no fear to mention to it, only acceptance.
Some days can be harder than others. Certain songs trigger feelings. It may not have been my child but some days, I feel that loss. It is that open sore that keeps getting picked at. It will eventually scab over but it is still there. For others, significant dates are hard. “It’s memories of dates that are important, such as the day I found out I was pregnant, the first time I felt the baby kick and the miscarriage date,” Hill said.
From miscarriages to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, there are many infants who don’t get to grow up. What would it be like for mothers and fathers to know that people are raising awareness and funds? It won’t bring anyone back, but having a sense of unity will go a long way in finding closure. More should be done, more focus, more groups, more everything. Give this just as much attention as anything else.