Today’s blog post is a very difficult one to write.
I must confess that when I was young, I always assumed that getting pregnant and carrying a baby to term, then delivering and raising the child to become a productive adult –in that sequence – were automatic. That if you wanted to become a mother, you just made the decision to and it would happen. Like a button you switched on and voila, you were pregnant and nine months later, you were holding your bouncing baby boy or girl.
But over the last couple of years, I have come to the sad realization that I had been most naïve in my thinking. Perhaps the most naïve I have ever been all my life. So because I have come to learn of so many women -close friends, relatives, colleagues, friends’ of friends and other women who have gone through the loss of a child.
They have had miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, still births, have lost their babies during childbirth, or their babies have died within hours, days or months of being born. I have become aware of many such incidents especially in the last three or so years. Perhaps because I am in my early thirties and this is the time when just like I, most of my peers are now settling down and starting their own families.
My relatives and close friends who have lost their little ones –either in the womb or in infancy have been most painful for me. I have held these women close. I have cried with these women. I have cried for them. Unspoken words have been uttered during such moments. I have silently mourned with these ladies.
Most of the time, if not all the time, I didn’t know what to say.
And each time, I questioned God over and over again, asking him ‘why?’
I have come to know that many other women have gone through this –gone through the loss of their little angel.
I have also come to know that such a loss is not something that’s talked about much.
How it happens is that most of the time, the lady experiencing the loss will not share the news with many people. Maybe with just family and a friend or two. But yet in no time, her network of friends, colleagues and relatives will be in the know, with the information having been relayed though the phone, email, coffee with the gals, at a wedding, during office tea or lunch breaks, at family gatherings, during the chama meeting….. The loss is usually discussed in hushed tones, with people talking about it with forlorn faces. Most conversations often end with “woiye that’s so sad”.
I have also come to know that most of the time, friends and relatives are often concerned and want to help, but yet they don’t know how to go about it. They don’t know where to start. They don’t know what to say. They don’t know how to go about comforting them. Even though you badly want them to know that you are hurting with them, that you are there for them.
Now, the month of October is dedicated to remembering all those cherished little angels who went too soon. The ones we never got to hold in our arms. The ones who we held in our arms but are no longer with us. The ones who went to be with the Lord already. Actually, I didn’t know about October being the pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, until my friend Mama Azizi brought it to my attention.
Incase you are like me and didn’t know, pregnancy and infant loss awareness month is dedicated to the memory of our little babies, our little angels who are not with us today. Of honoring the babies that were never born into this world, or who were here for a short time. It is dedicated to those who are suffering or know someone who has suffered a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, a still birth or lost thier infant. To both mothers and fathers who live with the memories of their departed little angels.
While Mama Azizi and I were discussing the issue, she told me something that got me really reflecting. She said:
“….this is something that many people don’t talk about, and don’t realize how it greatly impacts on the grieving woman or even the entire family. In Africa, we just tell them not to worry, that you are young and you will have more children. But really, is it that easy to forget?”
I couldn’t have said it better.
So my blog this week is dedicated to creating awareness on this issue.
If you have a story you wish to share, and which you think will help other women, men or families going through the same thing, feel free to leave a message in the comments section of this post. If you wish to let other people know how they can help, what to say or how they can be there for their friends, relatives or colleagues who are going through something like this, you can leave a message too. If you have an inspirational quote or a Bible verse that got you through such difficult moments, you can share it here. If you have any words of encouragement to women going through such an episode, women who are wondering how to move on, how to overcome the pain, how to start living again, you can share here. If you know of any support group in Kenya that helps people going through this, you can share the information below. If you are a professional and have some advice, leave a message below. If you have any questions to ask, or if you have any positive comments, feel free to share in the comments section below. God bless you.