I don't remember how I found her...clicked over from a comment at another blog, probably. Her story was familiar - a son, stillborn, his absence huge and bewildering - and yet utterly specific...one particular little face missed, one particular family sorrowing, one particular struggle to resurface. I was in a quiet place in my own grieving and surfacing, and the I hear you. I feel you. I'm so sorry that resonated in me never found a voice. But I clicked back now and then, because her words moved me and her story felt like kin, her Callum an ephemeral brother to my Finn in this strange circle that binds us, the babylost.
Then she shocked me into speech. Callum's anniversary, and a link to a series of baby slings by the company she started, then sold in the aftermath...slings that are being sold this month under the wry banner of Carry On My Wayward Son, with all proceeds donated to stillbirth research. Carry on, indeed. And oh, how I laughed, having howled that cockrock anthem beside moonlit bonfires, choking on smoke and the high notes - the perfect title. But then I clicked through, and saw the label on the slings, and tears began to burn behind my eyes.
Because in early 2006, pregnant for the second time, still raw with grief and hospitalized on bedrest four hours from home, isolated and in despair at what felt like the hopeless cause of ever bringing home a live baby, it was her sling, made by her own hands, that happened to be the first baby item I ever dared purchase. It was an act of defiance and an act of hope, clicking "buy now" there in that awful Craftmatic bed. I lay still, eyes darting to the door, afraid that someone would catch me red-handed in the ridiculous, preposterous act of imagining myself with a happy ending.
I got my happy ending, that time. The baby came safely, as did the sling. It was the cocoon from which I introduced my son to the world during his early days...and since September, it's been doing the same for his sister. It's made of strong stuff, well-sewn. Of all the accoutrements of parenthood that have cluttered my house over the past few years, it's the one that I value most deeply, the one that testifies to how tiny my babies were when they nestled almost invisible within it, the one that symbolizes my hard-won motherhood for me. But realizing that C. sewed that sling - C. who did not get her happy ending with Callum - knocked the breath out of me and made me weep. My heart sang out to her, You! You helped me heal! and I knew that she would understand. And yet I would not wish anyone in a position to know how much that means.
Connection matters. A year ago this weekend Kate and I first met face-to-face, and sat together and talked into the night of our sons and of Medusa-hood and of community and grief and love. Glow in the Woods is the progeny of that night, thanks to Kate's tireless work and the contributions of everyone who writes here and visits here and comments here...it is, more than anything, a place for connections. The threads that tie us within this circle of babyloss are messy threads, narratives of sorrow and brokenness, healing and resurfacing. When the threads are all woven together, connected, our hope is that they make the circle a less lonely place to be...and make it easier to carry on.
What role have connections with other babylost parents - online or in person - played in your own coping and healing? Have you had any random encounters or small-world experiences where your babylost identity and the rest of your life have collided, as I did with C? Have you met many people who share your experience outside the ether of teh internets?