Dear Sanaa,

When I see babies with their mom’s I think of you.
How I couldn’t wait to hug you, hold you, and tell you how much I love you.
I miss you.

Love Always,
Mommy

Those were my words to my daughter I lost in March 2013.

I am the one in four (women) affected by pregnancy and infancy loss.

Losing a baby is a painstaking experience to endure. You have so much hope wrapped up in your child that to lose them you feel the air has left you.

I hesitated in writing this then I thought if I stay silent how many other moms feel as I do?

Within ourselves we are mothers but we kind of go forgotten in society. We fear our children won’t be remembered either.

Congenital Heart Defects is the most common birth defect affecting babies. Sanaa was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). To be born would have only been half the battle because she had a partial heart. It was nothing I did, or could have prevented, and like any parent I hung in there and fought long and hard for her.

Your world is forever changed. Don’t try to go through it alone. There is no expiration date on the process of grieving. Take all the time you need. When you’re ready you will get back up again. Each day you will put one foot in front of the other and the air you thought you’d lost will return to you.

Every year in October mother’s and families unite for Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness month. There are walks and candle light vigils in remembrance of the babies lost. This year at the Angel of Hope statue in Eisenhower Park one of the comforting quotes I read was, “To live in the hearts of those you love is to never die.” I recorded it in my journal.

The most precious thing in life is moments. Live in them. For yourself, and for your child.

When you graduate, they graduate too. When you win at something, you win together. We may not have a choice in how life unfolds; we do have a choice in how we move forward. Where there is life there lives hope. The hope is in you.

If you have lost a child and need someone to talk to please reach out to your school advisor at the CUNY School of Professional Studies and they will help connect you with the help you need. For 24-hour help you can also reach out to the National Crisis Hotline, available free to everyone at 1-800-273-TALK. You will have someone to speak to that will connect you to the professional resources you need to safely get better. No matter what your income, or where you live, help is available. Take comfort in knowing there is someone who cares.

Additional resources

About Congenital Heart Defects
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/chd/

About Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and Resources
http://www.october15th.com/

Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness in the Media
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/pregnancy-and-infant-loss-awareness-month/

Support, Stories, and Information
http://www.pilari.org/usa.html

Gabrielle White is currently enrolled at the CUNY School of Professional Studies as a Communication and Media major. She pairs her undergraduate studies with her background in medical science while actively working within the community and nonprofit organizations. An advocate for health and education, she aims to help others live their best life today. If she is not doing a run for a cause, she is certainly to be found around the city and beyond advocating for one.

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