As I said in a previous post, when I was pregnant with Cora we lived in a small town with a 4-year religious university. We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons), and that school was BYU-Idaho. The ward (congregation) we went to was specifically for married students, and there were around 200 couples in the ward. If you know anything about Mormons, you know that we're kind of known for having big families and starting early, and this was no exception. At any one point, about 75% of our women's group (called the Relief Society) was pregnant. It seemed that with every baby's birth, another pregnancy was announced.
So when Cora died it was a shock to everyone. Especially all those pregnant ladies.
There were a few very compassionate women whom I am SO VERY thankful for. They really got me through. But 3 or 4 in a group of 100 or so women still leaves you very lonely. All of those women had had miscarriages, but the latest one was 14 weeks. A loss at that point isn't so....public.
I felt like I had some horrible disease. People avoided my eyes in the hallways. Nobody sat next to me anymore, always leaving a chair between, even in a crowded room. I'm sure most were well-meaning. I'm sure they didn't want to say something to hurt me any more than I already was hurting. They didn't want to invade my grief. But all it really did was make me feel very very very alone.
A little over a year later, just a week after Erin was born, we moved across the city and with that move came a new ward. Maybe it's because this ward hadn't experienced my loss too that they were more tolerant of my talking about Cora when we talked about how trials can build our testimony and things like that. Maybe it's because the bishop of this ward had also lost a child (a son, hours after birth, due to a heart defect).
Looking back on it I get so frustrated. I get frustrated that our culture is so terrible at dealing with someone else's grief...especially if it's a child. Especially if they died before they were born.
All the parent of a child who has died wants is to be allowed to remember her child. Eventually it will come less with tears and more with smiles. But we still want to be allowed to remember. And we want others to remember too, without expecting us to completely fall apart at the mention of the name. Please, accept our children. Accept that we will always miss them. Accept our grief, not as something to be avoided but as something that just is.