I once met a woman in a busy Wellington café who shared something with me that I've never forgotten. It touched me so deeply. She had been pregnant nine times, and all of those pregnancies had ended in miscarriages. Her story told of unfathomable loss – of the past and of a future that would never be. Each loss a trauma. As the tears rolled down my face, I could feel all the grief and sadness she held. I knew this would be with her forever.
Another woman told me of the unbearable pain of making a decision to end the life of the child she was carrying. To be forced to decide something like this is incomprehensible. Not only is there a deep loss to deal with, but a heavy burden of guilt. How does one come to terms with that?
Recently, I met a woman who six years ago, at 37 weeks, gave birth to a child who was stillborn. As her pain bubbled to the surface, I could feel how despite the years that had passed, despite the other babies she had, the pain was not only still there, but felt fresh and raw. I could only imagine the depth of this loss, of this grief. It pulled so deeply at my heart.
Tonight, I listened as a woman shared that just two and a half years ago she lost her son. Even before she even spoke, I felt her pain so intently that all I wanted to do was to hug this beautiful woman I did not even know. This was loss and pain so brutal, so crippling, so life-changing. I couldn’t imagine the strength it would take for her to live each day. To have loved so deeply and lost so much was almost too hard for her to bear.
It seems to me we all have stories.
It’s so important that these stories are told, that we find the courage to share. The courage isn’t just in making it through the experience, but also in the vulnerability of sharing.
There is healing in sharing our stories - in our loss and grief being witnessed. There is also power in sharing so that someone else knows they are not alone. For it's in the sharing that we can connect, and it is in the connection that we all feel less alone.
Our stories are unique, but they unite us.
As a woman who has shared her own story, I encourage you to tell yours. Keep telling it until you can tell it and it no longer makes you cry. You never know who may just need to hear it.❤️