I've been feeling a little restless lately. Like I need something more to do with my life. Not to be more busy, but to have more purpose. Being a parent gives me great purpose and it is definitely the most important thing in my life, along with being a wife. But I need more purpose in being a person. Some time ago, I wrote about finding purpose in giving back and making diapers, which I don't think I will ever stop doing, but now I'm ready to go a little farther.
I have a job that is a good enough job. I don't mind the work, I like my coworkers, and I have the schedule that I want. But sometimes it doesn't seem like enough. We only get one chance at life, so why not do what we can make a difference, right?
Having and losing Carter has opened my eyes to a whole new world. The world of angel babies and grieving parents and all the things that surround it. My first glimpse of the gaps in bereavement care came from personal experience. I was shocked when a healthcare worker explained in completely insensitive terms that she would be "putting my baby in the refrigerator". I honestly can't remember if it was this same person or yet another healthcare worker who also kindly explained to me that I would need to let them know if I wanted to hold Carter again so they could "warm him back up". I kid you not. This is not to rag on healthcare workers of any kind, but rather to point out that there is a lack of education, awareness, and empathy surrounding miscarriage and infant loss.
I have heard from multiple parents who have lost babies to miscarriage and so many of them have expressed how they wish they would have gotten some kind of resources or some kind of something to acknowledge their baby and their loss. I think we (I'm including myself here as well) can get so used to things that become routine to us, but are far from routine for someone who is experiencing it for the first time. At my postpartum checkup, I asked our OB office if they had any kind of resource available to parents experiencing a miscarriage. The response was that they "used to have something but they weren't sure where it was".
It continually surprises me how resistant people are to providing care and support for people facing loss. I truly think it as issue of a lack of awareness and understanding. Even when facilities are offered something free (cost is always a huge stumbling block in healthcare) that would greatly benefit their patients, there is still resistance. I fully understand that every patient may not want resources, we all grieve and process differently. But I want it to at least be an option to have the support.
I have decided that when I grow up, I want to be an advocate or liaison between parents facing loss and the healthcare system. Whether that is helping to educate healthcare workers, pushing to get more resources into OB offices and the hospitals, sitting with a parent who has just found out they have lost their child, or maybe even being a bereavement doula. I am working on figuring out the path to take to where I want to end up. It breaks my heart to know that parents are facing loss alone and often aren't being fully supported by the ones that are often in the front lines and should be offering support. I'm hoping I can find a place where I fit in and honor Carter in bringing more support to the bereavement community.