pregnancy and infant loss awareness month
Miscarriage

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month: 2 Reasons Why You’ll Never Forget Your Babies

It’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, so be sure to visit the resources page for support and ideas throughout the month!

One thing I worried about when I had my rainbow baby was that I would eventually forget or stop caring about the babies I lost to miscarriage. And while that certainly hasn’t happened, life is busier now. This means that I don’t always remember significant dates or take as much time to reflect on the losses and the what-ifs. Especially after 5 pregnancies, a lot of the details start to blur together. I don’t talk about the babies we lost as much as I used to, and I don’t really brace myself for due dates and loss dates anymore. Things have changed now that I’m no longer in the depths of grief.

But this week, something happened that reassured me that it’s actually impossible to forget any of our babies.

The body really does keep the score.

pregnancy and infant loss awareness month

October 9th

I had been in a horrible funk, on the verge of tears all day, unsettled and anxious, and just generally in a bummy mood. It took until the evening to realize what the date was. October 9th.

October 9th…

October 9th?

Oh.

It’s been exactly 5 years since we lost our second baby.

It didn’t surprise me that I’d forgotten. As I said, life is busier now. Most of our significant dates are during this time of year (especially during pregnancy and infant loss awareness month), so it’s not unlike me to be a bit blue from October to January. I used to anticipate these dates, dread them, make plans for them… But today, it just snuck up on me.

Surprisingly, I didn’t feel guilty. Instead, I was fascinated. It’s amazing and comforting to know that it’s practically impossible to forget. Each of our babies left their mark, yes, even physically. I still carry them with me. Even if I don’t realize what day it is, my body remembers the babies we carried.

pregnancy and infant loss awareness month

Microchimerism

Aside from my stored trauma not allowing me to forget significant dates, I was reminded of another thing I learned about regarding the physical mark our babies leave on our bodies. There’s this really cool concept called microchimerism. And, while I’m certainly not a scientist, I’m going to attempt to give a very broad explanation.

Microchimerism is the presence of a small number of cells in an individual that have originated from another individual and are therefore genetically distinct.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microchimerism

This means that, during pregnancy, cells from the fetus move all throughout the mother’s body. And they stay there, long after the pregnancy has ended (even if you miscarried or terminated).

These fetal cells migrate all over a mother’s body, becoming part of the heart, the brain, and blood…

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/10/your-babys-leftover-dna-is-making-you-stronger/381140/

Our babies quite literally become a part of us. In recent years, there has been a lot of research into this concept, and the effects it has on women throughout their lives. There’s still a lot to be learned about it. But for those of us who are remembering our babies during pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, even this basic knowledge can be comforting.

Our babies are a part of us forever. They are within us, even after they’ve gone. And you’ll never be able to forget them. Your body makes sure of it! This is something I’m particularly grateful for, after feeling like my body has failed me again and again. Of course, the body keeping the score isn’t always so comforting, but this week it came through for me and helped me remember and honor my second baby.

Who are you remembering during pregnancy and infant loss awareness month? Have you ever had your body remember a significant date before you consciously realized what day it was?

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