Why My Numbers Matter
A while ago, Justine, another blogger (I really enjoy her writing, and highly recommend others check out her blog) wrote about our numbers – our numbers as members of the infertility world. Numbers like:
How many months without success
How many failed medicated cycles
How many failed IUIs
How many failed IVF cycles
How many miscarriages
She wrote a lovely post about why these numbers don’t matter, and why we don’t need to carry them with us. We have all suffered, regardless of what exactly our journey has looked like. While, I acknowledge that numbers may not matter to everyone, after having this percolate in my mind I decided I had to take some time to share why my numbers do in fact matter, and why I will never forget any of them.
- Each one was a life. A life that was never meant to be lived, but a life still.
- Each one is one of our children. I will never forget my children.
- Each one encapsulated our hopes and dreams.
- Each one died much too soon.
I remember my numbers, not because I need to prove to myself or to anyone else that I have suffered enough, or that I have shame for our situation (I have no shame or blame for what we have experienced). They each matter, not so that I can say, look at us, we’ve lost 5 babies (that’s the absolute last thing I would ever say), or so that I can gain sympathy from others. But the number matters because they were our children and they were living. We saw heartbeats, we waited weeks for them some of them to die, we made parenting decisions to let go when we had to, we cried, we agonized, we worried, and we loved. We were and we are parents to each and every single one of them. I am a mother to each one of our lost children, I have a connection that will never be lost to each one of them.
I have love for each one of my little children who didn’t make it. I don’t have names for most of them, I don’t have faces, and I don’t have tiny hands to hold onto. But what I do have is 5 stories, 5 physical connections, 5 distinct emotional links, and 5 separate memories of our time together. Memories of what was and what could have been.
I will never minimize any of these little babies by not counting them. Just, as no parent of living children would not count all their children (I’m yet to hear someone with 3 living kids, say they only have 2 for any reason). Just as those with living children recognize them as individuals, I do as well, and I think they have earned that right. In my heart, it makes no sense to forget them or to lump them together as our lost children, when each one was unique.
It’s just like if I’m asked how many siblings I have, I never discount my sister just because she died when I was 14. I will say I am from a blended family that results in me having 2 brothers, and 2 sisters. If people ask more questions, I will always say that my older sister was killed in a car accident. I do not hide my dead sister, because it would not be a healthy way for me to grieve by pretending she never existed. And more importantly I would not be honoring her and her memory. She deserves to me remembered, just as my babies do.
Our numbers matter to me. Our numbers matter to my husband. And, I don’t really care what anyone else thinks about our numbers, because our children are our responsibility to care for when we could, and are now ours to remember however we want.
And one more reason why our numbers matter, that I cannot neglect to mention, is that we have to hold onto the hope associated with number 6. We have to hope that the next one will work, or there is no point on trying. We have to keep remembering that things can be different, and that maybe, just maybe, things will work out and we will get a healthy little baby.
We will love each one, those that are gone and those that are still to come, as individuals for the rest of time, and therefore each one counts.
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