When I posted last week about the feeling of isolation that comes with losing a baby, it prompted several e-mails from people who said they had my blog and found it helpful. Some people were on a timeline similar to my loss, some people have had more recent losses.
I love hearing from people who are reading, but it never fails to surprise me that someone besides my mom and my three loyal commenters are actually out there reading. E-mails and comments from people I don't know I remember that the story I'm telling is, unfortunately, a story that lots of people can relate to. I remember how much I needed to read stories of baby loss written by people who had eventually found their way through the grief, back to some version of themselves that wasn't impossible to live with.
This idea of desperately needing connection after an event that feels so isolating obviously resonates with people, and in a weird coincidence with timing (or maybe no coincidence at all, since feelings of isolation and connection have obviously been on my mind), I am really excited to announce that I just recently became involved with a project that is all about making connections.
The website Faces of Loss was created in 2010 by Kristin, after the loss of her daughter, Stevie Joy. She created a corner of the internet where women could tell their stories of pregnancy and baby loss and, most importantly, find each other. It's one of the ways that my little tribe came together.
If it sounds like a directory of grief, that's because it is.
But it was also incontrovertible proof that I was not alone in my grief. And that was life-changing.
In the past year or so, the site has not been active, although interest has continued. Submissions were being e-mailed quite regularly for a while, but they weren't getting posted online. When my friend Brandy wanted to recommend the site to someone she knew who had a recent loss, she discovered that the website wasn't being updated. Because it had been such a valuable resource for her after the loss of her son Andrew, she decided to investigate, and I told her that if she would get things going, I'd volunteer to help edit and post submissions.
It turns out that the original team simply didn't have the time or resources to devote to the website, and Kristin was relieved to have people offer to work on a project that she wanted to see continue. So Brandy got a small team together and we are picking up where things were left off in 2012. We have been working to post every single submission that was received between then and now.
We have just now gotten through a significant number of the submissions that were waiting in the queue, and we're now accepting new submissions. Bring 'em on. These are stories that need to be told.
|I ordered this shirt (no longer available, though they have other great designs) from To Write Love on Her Arms and I love the reminder.)|
But, so far anyway, my e-mails have received positive responses. People are still eager to have their child's story told.
And this shouldn't surprise me. Of course we want our babies to make some mark on this world, the way they made their marks on our lives. Of course we want to put a voice to our suffering. Of course we want to tell our story. We need to hear someone else say, "Me too."
I'm not going to lie--it's not easy to read all these stories as I format the posts to go up. They are heart-wrenching. It's like sometimes I forget that I've lived through this too, because I read these stories of women having to say good-bye to the babies they would willingly have died to protect, and I think, "Oh my gosh, how did she survive?" (How does any of us?)
And I think that's another reason NOT to stay silent. Another reason to Speak Your Truth. Because someone else's life may look easy from the outside, but all those cute, smiling faces on the website are the faces of bereaved mothers. Planet My Baby Died is unfortunately rather well-populated.
Please feel free to spread the word of Faces of Loss as a resource for bereaved parents. If you're on Facebook (I'm still not!), you can "like" our Facebook page here. Many of the women who tell stories also share their e-mail addresses or blog addresses if you want to get in touch with someone whose story that really speaks to you; you can also share the love by leaving comments at the website saying "I'm sorry" or "Me too."
And thanks for reading here, and for (sometimes) letting me know you're out there. Your sympathy, your empathy, your share in our grief and joys, even if I don't know your name, as cheesy as it sounds, I swear that I can feel the love.