Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Anniversaries October 25, 2012

Do you have an “anniversary”, a day that is significant on your journey? Maybe it’s the day you decided to stop trying to conceive, or perhaps it’s the date of a miscarriage or stillbirth. How do you deal with those days?

My friend’s father died earlier this year, and she recently marked what would have been his birthday. She gathered some of her family and “celebrated” in a way he would have enjoyed. Her friends understood it was going to be a rough day for her and we gave her space and offered to listen, if she needed to talk.

But how do you deal with an anniversary that many other people wouldn’t understand?

I don’t really have any of those anniversaries. My quest for a baby simply ran out of gas. I never actually conceived, so my losses weren’t marked by any particular events. But if they were, I would mark those anniversaries the same way I remember other losses.

I wouldn’t schedule any work events or meetings that day. In fact, I might take the day off all together. I would be kind to myself and I’d allow myself to experience whatever emotions came up or me. I think I would give myself permission to just let my sadness be.

And the following day I’d get up and get back on the horse. I’d go about my business and I’d keep myself moving forward. I would get on with my life and I’d make plans to make it the best life it could be, and maybe the next time the anniversary rolled around, I’d feel that pain a little bit less, but that doesn’t mean I would forget what brought me to this point in the first place.

That’s what I’d do. How about you?


9 Responses to “Anniversaries”

  1. Andrea Says:

    For me, it’s June 13th, 2011: this is the day our dreams of having a baby naturally were shattered. After what I believe was the most difficult year in our marriage, I finally began to see adoption as a viable option for us. There was a specific day earlier this year when I thought, “Okay, I’ve had enough of this”, and decided to officially look up adoption agencies. However, I still wondered if I was truly ready to get into adoption: after all, every time I need to take progesterone, my mood goes way downhill. The confirmation that I was indeed ready came when June 13th this year came… and went. I was shocked to realize a few days later that I had “missed” this anniversary; I didn’t think about it at all that day. To me, it meant relief; some peace of mind.

  2. Amel Says:

    Same as yourself, I’ve never conceived and we’ve decided to surrender to life without kids, so I have no anniversary date. For some reason I feel somewhat “lacking of closure” ‘coz of that and I’ve been wondering if I should actually do something to help with the lack of closure – like have my own ritual or something, though I haven’t really decided on the specifics. Hmmm…but after reading Andrea’s comment, it makes me think whether this kind of anniversary is necessary – or maybe it’s necessary only when I feel like it that year instead of having to do it each year…dunno…I’m still trying to figure it out…

  3. Maria Says:

    My date is March 27, the day of the miscarriage of my one and only pregnancy after many years of TTC and what I thought was my miracle baby. After it happenned, I bought a butterfly charm for my bracelet and was going to get the date engraved on it but I decided not to because I wanted to try and forget the date. The first anniversary, I spent the day at work and reflected on how much better I felt than the year before. After a few years, I was also surprised when the day came and went and I didn’t remember until afterward. My husband thinks about it every March, and he tries to keep busy to keep it off his mind. I recently took the butterfly off my bracelet as a way of trying to completely let go of it. It will be 8 years this March.

    • Jen Says:

      OMG, Maria, our month and date is the same. My date (second miscarriage) is March 27, 2010 and it was after 6 years of TTC since my first miscarriage (after only a two months of being off BC) and thought it was our miracle baby as well. The anniversary of the first year was horrible, but as each year goes by it has gotten easier for me to be at peace. It is date that I will never forget, but no one else knows or remembers it, which is fine I don’t expect them too. Since, we never knew the sex of our babies, I never got anything specific to remember them by. I do have a baby journal I started with my first pregnancy and that I have boxed up with a burping cloth and bib, my mom had purchased, some oneses/socks and a cross-stitch baby sampler I had started. I didn’t purchase a thing with my second pregnancy – too scared and now I am glad I didn’t. I still usually shed some tears on that day but the pain associated with it has gotten less and less every year.

      • Maria Says:

        Mine was after 5 years of TTC. It happened 14 weeks into the pregnancy 2 days before I was scheduled to see the doctor. I really wished I could have had that sonogram picture as a keepsake. I did buy a newborn onesie and I remember how I felt throwing it in the garbage about a year after it happened. I am really ok now and have been for a while. Even so, 2 years ago during the month it was due to be born I saw a little boy around the age mine would have been at that time, and it almost made me cry. If it was boy, we were going to name him Oskar, a girl Heather.

  4. Our first was miscarried on 16 October 2005, due 26 May 2006, so she would be 6-1/2 now. I don’t know the sex, but my husband swears i was pregnant with a girl, and so we named her. I had 2 other really, really early losses, but i don’t really have dates in my head for those, and probably wouldn’t remember except someone i work with has a daughter 3 months older than our last child would have been.

    By an awful, ugly coincidence, my niece had her first baby, a girl on 16 October 2010. I think i would manage some years to forget our anniversary, were it not that all the family is celebrating the birthday of her daughter. Of course, “child loss day” is 15 October, so that is a reminder, too, but not as painful as the birthday of a child relative. I think it wouldn’t be so very difficult if we could be a part of the child’s life, but she lives across the country and i may never meet her, just see the posts on Facebook.

    I’m not a big believer in “God causing all things” or “directing the minutes of our lives” or whatever, tho many, many of my friends seem to believe that way. (I just believe that God promises that ultimately it will “all work for his glory” but not the ins and outs and details.) I absolutely gave up any belief that “God directs all things and knows the best” when my niece had her daughter 3 weeks early on our anniversary date. I can’t imagine anything more cruel than believing God chose that on purpose.

  5. Nadine Says:

    I have two anniversaries, the day I miscarried and my due date (on December 25th, this one is difficult to forget). I have the chance to have an wonderful family, who even if they dont remember those anniversaries, offer me support when I tell them about it. Having my grief validated help a lot, times does too. Even if I never knew the sex of my baby, I always felt it was a boy and I wanted to name him Sirius like the star. I have a small box with all his stuff, namely a bib, my positive medical test, a poem I wrote to him after my miscarriage.

    However, this January will the first anniversary of the day I learned of the failure of my this and final IVF, this one will be tough.

  6. loribeth Says:

    August 5th (the day I learned my baby had no heartbeat) & August 7th (1998), the day I delivered her & the date that’s on all the paperwork. At least one of these dates often falls on a long weekend here, which helps. I have tried to slog through the workday, & some years it has worked and some years it’s been disastrous, so I try to take one or both days off if I can. We’ve developed a few “traditions” over the years… some of them have fallen by the wayside, but we always take pink roses to the cemetery. I will usually go through my box of keepsakes & hang out on my loss sites & blogs on the Internet.

    Other dates that stick out in my mind: Nov. 14th (my original due date), Feb. 8th (LMP date during my pregnancy), March 24th (positive pg test), and July 18th, which is the day (in 2001) of my first post on a now-defunct message board for childless women not by choice, following the failure of our third & final IUI cycle… I had lurked there for several weeks before posting and I consider it a milestone first step on the way to accepting a childless/free life. The board is gone, but I am still in touch with many of the women who posted there, on Facebook & other forums. 🙂

  7. Jenn Says:

    I have a few tough dates, but the one that is still the toughest is 11/13, the day I delivered my twins too soon. That was my first loss and since then I’ve lost two more babies. This year is 3 years since I lost my twins and the first time I will be working on their loss date.

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