Sitting down to dinner a few days ago, the conversation swung around to some recently uncovered family history.

I have blogged before about there being a high risk of further pregnancy loss in my potential reproductive future- both of my grandmothers suffered multiple miscarriages ( at least 3 each), as well as a stillborn baby to my paternal grandmother, and the death of a twin baby ( in utero) from my maternal grandmother. On the bright side, my mother did not suffer any complications with her pregnancies, aside from giving birth to me at 26(?) weeks.

All in all, it is about a 50/50 situation as to whether, in my next pregnancy, I get to bring home a baby, or not.

Anyway, an incredibly sad tale was revealed to me that was recently discovered by my family.  My paternal grandfather- who is deceased- had a little sister, and for 9 months, this little girl lived as a member of his family.

For reasons unknown, (in about 1930/40- I am not sure) this little girl passed away. In a small graveyard of a tiny Australian town, her tiny body rests. She has no tombstone, no indication of love- merely a wooden marker with a small metal plate identifying her name and dates.

My paternal grandmother was questioned by my family about this- a tiny little girl, seemingly unloved, abandoned by her parents when they moved away from the town. What was wrong with her? they asked. Why does she have an almost unmaked grave? How could they leave her?

She reacted in a way that is typical of people of her “generation” (pre baby-boomers).

” I don’t know, it wasn’t talked about. They didn’t talk about the baby after she died.” she said, very tersely, conversation over.

This little baby, my great-aunt ( or would have been) was not even given the decency of her life to be acknowledged by her family.

How heartbreaking is her tale?

I understand that people did not speak of child loss, they simply were expected to pick up and move on and forget.

It makes me feel sad that even though this little girl lived for 9 whole months, she was seemingly forgotten by her family, only to be re-discovered by my family, 3 generations later.

It also makes me feel relieved that now, in this day and age, pregnancy and infant loss ( while still taboo) is widley acknowledged, and there is no ‘shame’ in it.

I am so thankful that my babies are remembered. Each and every day. I talk about them. I keep the in my heart.

 

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