Okay, so lets get one thing out of the way, I do not have one of those cute, perfectly round baby bumps. Mine is more elongated and not at all cute. I look more like I had a few too many cookies at dessert rather than 16 weeks away from having a baby. My mom tells me I have baby bump envy, it's the truth. So many cute baby bumps out there and mine is not one of them.
Also important to know, I HATE spending money on myself. In fact, I rarely do. Even if it's something I need I will fret and pace for a good half hour before I eventually put whatever it is back on the shelf and walk to the register without it. So the fact that I've been forced to spend money on new clothes, well, lets just say it's been a struggle.
Anyways, with all that explained, I finally gave in and visited a few store in search of maternity tops and leggings. There were two major problems with nearly every single store I visited.
1) They had a limited selection of maternity clothes to choose from. I'm talking a rack maybe two, and they were very unorganized or a complete disaster to sort through. Forget trying to match sales signs with merchandise.
2) Nearly EVERY SINGLE piece of clothing was striped!!! Horizontal, make my hips look wider than a NYC skyline, stripes.
Now I remember sitting in the living room watching television shows like "What Not To Wear" with Stacey and Clinton, and I explicitly remember one of their major rules being NO HORIZONTAL STRIPES. Unless, well, you're one of the insanely lucky few who can stand to look a few pounds heavier or need a little shape to your skinny. I have always been a curvy gal, well endowed on top and well endowed behind, I don't need any accentuation in any of those areas.
I kick myself for being surprised that finding maternity clothes is a chore. Despite having what my mom always told me was an 'hour-glass' shape, nothing ever fit. Jeans have gaps bigger than the Grand Canon and tops that fit the girls are too loose around the middle and end up making me look like SpongeBob Square pants. Honestly, these are probably the exact reasons why most of my High School wardrobe consisted of sweatpants and hoodies. Clearly I was not popular for my sense of fashion...or at all...I was a nerd, a nerd with a controlling boyfriend, and a love of books and writing.
But seriously, why all the stripes? I know I may be among the few women who do not enjoy being pregnant, but I can't be the only one that doesn't want to look wider than I already am! Can't we just have some cute printed tops that don't scream Beetle Juice or Where's Waldo?! Hell, I'll settle for some print flowers or even something corny like little hearts! Just give me something, anything besides a rack full of stripes! I refuse to walk around looking like tiger for the next 4 months.
“When a child loses a parent they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses a partner they are referred to as a widow or widower. When a parents loses a child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”
October is not only the beginning of the most spectacular time of year with crisp cool air, the crinkle and crunch of fallen leaves, and the smell of cider and pumpkin pie, but it's also national Breast Cancer Awareness month, National Pit Bull Awareness month, Domestic Violence Awareness month, as well as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.
There is a unique pain that comes from preparing your heart and home for a child that never comes. Whether they're held in loving arms or carried forever in the heart, no footprint is too small to leave a mark on the lives of their parents, especially their mother.
Once a couple learns of life within a mothers womb, that life becomes real. It is filled with hope, with dreams and most importantly it is surrounded with love. It is real, and it cannot become unreal. Life is life whether it breaths air or not, especially to the hearts that created it.
The sad truth is 1 in 4 women will experience the loss of a child. That means in a given year, roughly one million precious little bundles will never feel the brush of a mothers kiss against their cheek. Roughly one million women will suffer a broken heart, and twelve percent of married couples will struggle to regain a sense of normalcy after the loss of a child that never came.
As the mother to an angel baby, I feel as though the stigma surrounding miscarriage has slowly begun to diminish, compared to just a few years ago. Don't get me wrong, the sensitivity factor is sometimes lacking, but as a whole I think there are more programs and support groups to help grieving parents. Social media being an amazing resource for those looking for support or suffering through a loss.
If you have never known anyone to suffer a miscarriage, and have never experienced the loss yourself, consider yourself lucky, but also try to be mindful to those who have. I know it's tempting to ask the newly married couple when they plan on having children, but please don't. Not everyone is an open book, and that can be a very awkward question to try and answer when your facing fertility issues. What you believe to be a seemingly harmless question, can really be a very painful reminder of a daily struggle. Besides, maybe they just don't want kids. Either way, unless they come to you and open the door to that kind of discussion, it's none-ya (none of your business).
So throughout this month, take a few minutes to read an article or two about miscarriage or infancy loss, reach out to a friend who may have experienced the loss first hand and see how they are doing. Sometimes just a "hey, how are you doing?" is enough to make a really dark day, when they may feel loneliest, just a little better.
And on October 15th, light a candle at 7PM and let it burn for at least an hour. This will be happening all over the world, at the exact same time, making a continuous wave of light in remembrance of all the little angel babies and their families who love them.