Why I Remember
October 6, 2021
When the month of October rolls around, there is an internal struggle that happens inside me. October is the month that I miscarried my first set of twins. This year it will be 12 years since it happened.
I struggle for a few reasons that seem silly to talk about, but I’m hoping maybe I’m not the only one. I feel self-conscious that I still make remembering a priority. I wonder if I am acting entitled by bringing up something from so long ago that people may perceive as attention seeking, or just depressing by talking about it. I know that I’m one of the lucky moms that went on to get pregnant fairly soon after my loss and have 3 healthy boys – I have no right to complain.
Until I miscarried, Thanksgiving was my favourite time of year. Tons of family, no pressure of gifts – just lots of good food and love! When I lost my twins, it became a trigger. An instant bad mood and low time for me. After the first horrible year, I knew it had to stop. The world had gone on, and I wanted one of the worst times in my life to not be something that I sat and dwelled on, but something that was more of a celebration/remembrance of the biggest “what if” or “what could have been” of my life.
I started by hosting a big group dinner party for Thanksgiving each year. They were epic. They were somewhat of a distraction and took a week of hardcore planning, time, and energy. Elaborate meals with all of my favorite people. There was no mention of why I needed Thanksgiving to be perfect or acknowledgment of my babies, just a way to bring joy and happiness to my favourite people on my hardest day of the year.
Then I had an idea. I had just switched careers and I was sent to one of those “pump you up” sales courses where you leave thinking that you can take on the world. One of the speakers had mentioned that every year he gave out pumpkin pies to his clients as a way to stay in touch, and it stuck with me. I could do this. Not for work promotion purposes, but as my own way of remembering my twins by giving back and turning a really horrible time of year into something that’s fun for those on the receiving end.
I started with 70 pies my first year. Each year I have increased my amount, added to my list, making it my own personal challenge. This year my number is 200. 200 pumpkin pies!
Some friends have come to count on them for their family gatherings, others post on Instagram completely PUMPED that they’ve been “pie’d” – yes, that’s what some call it. Others are confused, lol. Some know why I do it and cheer and hug me when I show up at their door to remember and celebrate with me, and others are just happy that someone has thought of them and loved them enough to gift them something.
The time that I spend in my car, driving from place to place, is often spent thinking back to the time of my miscarriage, sending up a prayer, thinking of my friends and others’ babies that are up in heaven partying with my kids, and having the solitude and alone time that I crave to remember.
It’s not all sunshine. I’m an introvert, so by the end of the week I am fall-down exhausted and I crash for a day or two. The smell of pumpkin pie makes me nauseous after being in it for days on end. But for some odd reason, I kind of like that it’s not all happiness. I like that it’s costing me something. That what I am doing is not without sacrifice.
So why do I remember? Why don’t I just “get over it” after 12 years? Why do I need to be a “Debbie downer” and bring it up on my social media feeds every year? To the ones that see my remembrance post and keep scrolling or roll their eyes, to that I say, “If that’s you, it’s not FOR you that I do it. And that’s ok.”
Here’s why I choose to be that person and why I choose to remember & celebrate:
1. To acknowledge the life that I was lucky enough to have inside me. This was my first pregnancy, and I had so many thoughts and hopes for it. It wasn’t just a fleeting thing to get over. It was life. And it ended. It’s important to remember that all life matters. Even if I hadn’t gone on to have other kids, I was a mom to those babies inside me. I was told by people at the time to just “get over it”. It’s not that I wasn’t getting over it. It’s that it is something that happened to me and to my babies, and I am allowed to acknowledge that a life/lives were lost. They are worth remembering.
2. For my boys. We celebrate what would have been my due date as a family each April. We have a cake, we talk about them having siblings in heaven we will get to meet. I want my kids to be comfortable talking about these things so that when they become husbands or have friends that go through a miscarriage they don’t shy away from it and know that it is not an awkward unmentionable event. What I remember from my time right after the miscarriage was that it wasn’t talked about. It wasn’t acknowledged by anybody. We went to a movie night with friends and it was the elephant in the room. I was dying inside and we couldn’t talk about it. Nobody stopped to bring us a meal or flowers because they didn’t know if they should or not. When in doubt, DO. It’s better to make an effort and do the wrong thing than to do nothing. It’s not about you and how awkward the conversation will be. It’s about them. I also wanted to teach my boys that there is more to being pro-life than being anti-abortion. I am pro LIFE. All life. No matter how long or how short lived. Those babies inside me were not fetuses. They were siblings to my kids.
3. To show others that it’s ok to remember. It’s ok not to remember as well, but I want those who are silently suffering to know that it’s ok to remember. However you choose to do it- whether it’s privately or in a more public way. There isn’t a right or wrong way. This is your experience and you are allowed to own it however you choose. Whenever I post about my experience there are others that tell me about their “heaven babies” that they celebrate. I love that. I love that the dialogue I longed for 12 years ago is a lot more open than it was back then. I love (and hate) that there are other moms with empty spaces in their hearts waiting for a day to be back with their babies, and that we will all celebrate together. I love that something that’s been taboo in our private culture is becoming more inclusive & commonplace. I believe it makes us stronger humans, it helps to heal our hearts and brings us together as moms, dads and communities.
Am I telling you to go out and buy 500 pumpkin pies as your act of remembrance? Not at all. This is what works for me, but there are tons of ways that you can choose to celebrate that extra heartbeat that was once inside of you.
A year after my miscarriage, my dad showed me 2 trees he had planted as a visual reminder of the babies I lost. He named them “Q” & “R”, because my next babies started with “S” and “T”– he wanted them to be the letters that came right before my babies that followed. Seeing the trees in my parents yard and the visual of them growing taller was incredibly significant to me.
Remembering can be as simple as lighting a cupcake on your own and taking a minute to just allow yourself to have the thoughts of “what if?”- who would that baby be today? Or it could be telling your story to make it a little easier for the next mom or family that thinks they are going through this alone. Volunteering to drop off a meal at someone’s door that is going through something similar. There are endless possibilities.
The important thing is knowing that there is no shame in remembering. It will begin the path to healing and becoming whole again- even with that small hole missing in your heart where that baby still takes up space
-Abby< Back to Blog