Monday was Pearl’s first birthday. I had a roller coaster of emotions. I cannot believe we have made it a year and at the same time, I am a little bit sad that she is getting so big.
I decided to throw her a birthday party because I feel like a year life is truly worth celebrating. If you know me at all, I tend to go against the grain a bit. I remember seeing other moms prepare for their child’s one year birthday and thinking that they were so absurd. They would order special invitations, pinterest the heck out of a party and even buy the child their own smash cake. From an outsiders perspective, it all appears a bit ridiculous for a child that won’t remember anything about this day. It seemed like a way to prove you were an awesome mom.
But when I had Pearl, my eyes opened to the real struggle of being a mom. The late nights, the fears, the tears and the reality that you were now responsible for another human being.
As many of you know, I struggled with even getting pregnant and then even more complications with a high risk pregnancy. I lived daily with the fear that I was going to loose her. Then, about the same time, I had two sweet friends loose their babies. One friend had miscarried early in their pregnancy and the other had given birth to a stillborn. I began meeting more mothers that lost their babies and it became clear to me that life was so fragile and that celebrating that first year was necessary.
I have been finishing the last minute details for her party this week. I settled in last night to watch my favorite show on earth, This is Us. Now, if you’re a fan and haven’t seen this week’s episode of This is Us, oh boy, you are in for a tearful doozy. Stop right now and watch it because this will be a major spoiler alert.
I love this show because at some level everyone can relate to one of the characters. Kate is one of my favorites and there are so many times I feel that she nails the emotional struggles many of us women face. This week Kate has a miscarriage and it really tugged on this mama’s heart.
Like so many, Kate feels that she is alone in this miscarriage. There’s so much shame around it: Where do you bring it up? How do you bring it up? When the reality is that one in five women will go through this loss. And with every birthday, every holiday and every major life moment that occurs, mothers are remembered of the great loss that they have faced.
This year we decided to create a line of infant bereavement cards for those who are the one in five. We wanted them to feel that they were not alone. That it was okay to feel the pain and to somehow still find the courage to move forward. I am not sure if it will even help to be honest, but I wanted to do something. I wanted to create art that started the process of healing (whatever that may look like).
The cards were named after our sweet friend’s daughter, Eleanor Rose. A portion of the proceeds go to the Angel Project which creates beautiful bereavement infant gowns from used wedding dresses. Our goal for 2018, is to have one of these cards in each of the gowns that are given to mom’s who are stricken with grief.
The cards can be bought a lovely little boutique in Columbia, Missouri called Plume. We sell them at Plume because they understand this loss better than most. They host a support group called Graceful Wait that meets once a month for women who struggle with miscarriage, infant loss, child loss and infertility. They provide a space where women can feel that they are not alone and known. We feel that this is so valuable.
Let’s stop making this a shameful thing that women don’t talk about. Let’s be there for one another. If you are one of the 1 in 5, we would love to hear your story. We would love to honor your baby. Please, feel free to share in the comments below.
We wanted to share a picture of one of the cards taken by Morgan Lee Photography. Please, spread the word and let others know they are not alone.
Hugs to all you out there! -Christy