• Jodi Laughlin

I AM ONE IN FOUR!!


Here we are, our 3rd year celebrating Prenancy and Infant loss awareness month and the life of our daughter- trying to draw awareness to the incredible impact such a brief life can make.

It's never enough. That's how I feel. No one will EVER understand unless you have the unfortunate circumstance of walking in these shoes, of burying your infant baby. But I am also starting to come to terms with the fact that, that is OK.

I know that I will never understand certain grief either. I have said it before, but I truly believe we all have our "cross to bear" and this is mine.

If this month, we make just ONE person realize that the death of your child is an ongoing process of grief, or that just because her footsteps aren't heard in the house DOESN'T MEAN SHE ISN'T PART OF OUR FAMILY and that just because you don't take a baby home from the hospital DOESN'T MEAN THEY NEVER EXISTED.... if we can make one person realize one of these things, then I will feel I have honored our girl.

I am still struggling to grieve and process my ectopic pregnancy. Technically, I am currently pregnant for the fourth time. My loss with the ectopic was so early that it is difficult for me to group that with Noelle's death and my journey, pregnancy and birth with her. But I also do not want to negate the significance of that life. And that is how I feel.... it was a life. I had another heart beating inside of me for a short period of time and we connected. I may not have known that soul as well as I know Noelle's, and I may have never held them in my arms, but I still carried them. I still loved them. And that love deserves to be recognized, to be celebrated.

So this month I celebrate my first born, who made me a Mother and taught me a love I never knew existed. She was the first child I birthed and held and rocked. She taught me true selflessness. She taught me a love I never knew existed.

I celebrate my third pregnancy. I may still be processing the impact this life had on mine, but I know that I will forever think about the little life that implanted in the wrong spot and wonder "what if?"

We went to an event this year hosted by Three Little Birds and they asked us to have a table set up for Noelle's Light to discuss what we are doing to honor our daughter. There were several other tables there with parents who have turned their grief into something tangible and it was beautiful to see.

We talked to many families whose wounds were so fresh... whose babies were just taken from their arms. You can feel how raw the pain is. Sometimes, I forget. But as I talked to these parents, I remembered.... I felt it.... I wanted to crawl into a dark hole with them and hide. That's what I remember the most... wanting to hide.

But it wasn't until I started to share that I realized there was life after death.

I am amazed that I could stand there and give these couples advice and support, the way that other couples helped me in the first weeks and months after Noelle died. As much as it still hurts, I recognize that healing does happen when you allow it to and that although my heart may never feel whole in this life, it can continue beating.

Maybe my purpose during this month isn't to make people who haven't experienced a loss understand it better... but maybe my purpose is to help those who HAVE lost a child feel less alone... break the stigma that you have to hide, that it shouldn't be discussed. We should not hide!

I want to shout from the rooftops- I AM ONE IN FOUR!! MY CHILD LIVED!! ACKNOWLEDGE HER!! IT IS OKAY TO SAY HER NAME!!

I am now preparing for a third birth... Noelle's sibling coming any day now. I wonder if this baby too will remind me of her, the way Lily reminds me of Noelle. I love that a piece of her is here in her siblings.

When I imagine Noelle today, I don't usually picture a baby. I mostly think of her running around, free, with long, brown, wavy hair and a big smile- older than her younger sister Lily is today. I picture her holding Lily's hand and leading the way. I picture her happy. I picture her loved.

I picture her full of life.


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