These words are for those who have known the heartache of pregnancy and infant loss-the mothers and fathers, grandparents, and loved ones. I am writing for those of you who so lovingly share your stories of loss and the photos of your babies gone too soon.
I need you to know something.
Your story is a blessing.
The story of your loss and the grief that comes after–it is a gift to the world. That story is yours to share because it is your truth. It is up to you to decide when and where to share it or if you want to share it at all.
I need you to know something else.
Your story, your baby, your photos–they do not require a trigger warning.
There is nothing wrong with using a trigger warning. I just want you to know that the decision to use one is for you to make. Others may come into your space and request that you use one, but it will always be your choice.
There are those who will feel the urge to notify you of their discomfort. They will feel compelled to share their fear, their anxiety, and even their disgust. They may even try to bury their hurtful words under platitudes of love and light. Their words, that seem so cavalier, may cause you to cower in doubt. You might feel like retreating and taking your truth with you.
You are the brave one here.
Whether you share your story publicly or whisper it to yourself in solitude–you are the brave one.
Telling your story, the one you tell of love and loss, is an act of pure courage. Those who only want to live in a world of love and light, do not understand that the bravest people have learned how to exist in the shadowy places.
I do not think these people–the ones who recoil at our baby’s photos and who tune out our words–I do not think they mean to be cruel. I think they are scared that our reality remains their possibility.
We get it, don’t we? We know this fear. It is the same fear that came crashing in on the day we lost them and it is the same fear that never really left.
Losing your child and every single dream you had for them, it is terrifying.
When others read our words and look at our photos, they might get the urge to turn away. “Why didn’t you warn me?” “This photo is too upsetting.” It’s like they think that our tragedy is contagious. That if they simply look upon our heartache, it will jump through the screen and find its way into their world.
But those who do not want to see our truth–they are forgetting something.
They seem to forget that where their eyes may rest for a moment, our hearts have to live for a lifetime.
They get to scroll on and they will scroll on.
We will still be here. We will keep sharing. We will always love our babies.