Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Keeping Quiet

Since losing Avery I've searched for support resources. The Internet has been invaluable in providing me with blogs, loss websites, social networking sites, etc. that have helped me through my journey thus far. These tools have been wonderful. I've connected with so many women online who, like me, are walking the grief road. I am so thankful that we live in a time where there are so many resources at our fingertips. I am however extremely disappointed in the resources available in my town.

I'll admit, I don't live in a buzzing metropolis like New York City but I also don't live in the middle of nowhere. The City I live in has a decent population but in the last 8 months, I have not been able to find a single pregnancy or infant loss support group within 45 minutes of my home. Yet, I hear more and more stories of people in my community who have suffered the loss of a pregnancy (in all stages) or the loss of their infant. Why did I not know these stories until now? Why does nobody talk about this? It is very frustrating to live in a society that still remains tight lipped about our losses.

I miss Avery so much and the thing I've found helps me the most is to talk about her. We should be allowed to openly talk about our losses without fear of judgment!  And talking to those who have suffered a similar loss is valuable.  Talking to those who have walked this road is so beneficial and helpful.  In talking to those who have lost a pregnancy or infant, the thoughts I have that I feel are crazy, or irrational, have been validated over and over again.  I am not crazy; I am grieving my daughter and talking to others has made me realize this so much more than simply reading a grief book.

I've met so many who have begun to share their stories with me. People I've known as acquaintances, coworkers and friends who have suffered loss and kept it inside. I understand it may not be easy for people to hear we've lost a baby but it’s not an easy road we are on either. Maybe if more people talked about their losses, more people would understand to our need; our need to talk about our babies and hear others speak their names. Our need to answer the question, "how many children do you have?" without fearing the response that follows when you answer truthfully.

1 in 4 women will experience a loss of a pregnancy or infant under the age of one. Think about that.

Think about your graduating high school class and just how many 1:4 is. I’d say I graduated with 150 women, which equates to almost 40 women in my graduating class alone that experience a loss.  That's not a number to be brushed off.  Yet, it is!  We still don't have resources in the community I live in to help those 1 in 4 women. And that’s just in MY community.  The lack of resources and lack of communication has really been weighing on me a lot lately.

After the incredible turnout from the Inaugural Avery Diane Hanson memorial golf tournament last year, (read about it here) I've been contemplating the idea of starting a non-profit in Avery's honor. And I think now, I am ready to take that step. I want to be able to help others in their time of need. Over the coming months I will post more about this as it comes together but the overall mission will be to support families affected by pregnancy and infant loss on our local community and to support national organizations in their efforts to break the taboo and research the causes of our losses.  I hope that I can bring the light Avery brought to our lives to the lives of other families who are walking this road alongside me. 

As a kick off, I will be adding a resource tab with links to online loss resources.  One group helping to break the taboo is the STILL Project.  They are working on a documentary film project to bring awareness to our losses.  Please check them out and watch the trailer to the film.  It's very moving. 

1 comment:

  1. Crystal, this is amazing, and I say DO IT. Just absolutely do it. Be a leader. Give Avery's life meaning beyond her short time here with you.

    And seriously, if you need help or inspiration, I am in touch with the girl who runs the OC Walk to Remember here in SoCal, and I can get you in touch. Definitely check out their website and see what they offer, and hopefully you can get some ideas of what can be done locally :)