2023 Houston Methodist Baby Remembrance Event
I was honored when I was contacted to be a part of the 2023 Houston Methodist Remembrance Event. Anytime that I can spread awareness and help grieving parents I jump at.
Houston Methodist purchased 100 copies of my book to give out during the event which was an incredible honor. When I wrote my book, I never imagined the impact it would truly have. Seeing Laurelai make change makes my heart so happy. We also did a large grief box drop off for parents that lose their babies.
We tried to get a video of the speech that I gave but the quality wasn't the best, so I am sharing the speech via blog post.
Thank you again to Houston Methodist!
2023 Houston Methodist Baby Remembrance Speech
"First, I want to say thank you to Houston Methodist for putting on this special remembrance event to help us all honor our babies gone too soon. It means more to us than they know.
I am honored to speak to all of you today, but as I stand here looking out at all of my fellow loss parents, my heart aches. I know the despair. I know the heartbreak. I know the destruction of oneself that comes with losing our precious babies. I struggled writing this speech because there are never enough words to explain the pain of losing my daughter. The words never seem to fully describe the devastation, isolation and gut wrenching pain. But the words are also full of love, so every word that I am about to say to you is filled with her.
I lost my daughter, Laurelai Antoinette on January 20th, 2012 from what appeared to be a cord accident. It's been 11 years and I still think about her every single day. I wonder what she would look like. I wonder who she would be. The should have beens haunt me daily.
This is what pregnancy and infant loss looks like and I want you to know that I see you. I see the silent cries for help. I see the yearning of wanting to hold your baby just one more time. I see the tears, the anger, the bitterness.
But I also see something else.
I see love.
I see light.
And that light is your precious baby.
I know that not one of us wishes we had to be here today. I also know that we would never wish our child never existed at all in order to avoid this pain. We didn't just lose our child. We lost the dreams we had for them. The hopes we had for them. Their futures. This type of loss if one of the most intimate types of loss and sadly, there is an enormous lack of resources and support.
That is why I wrote my book and started the Stillborn Still Loved Foundation. I wanted to honor the daughter I have lost but I also wanted to help grieving parents. I suffered and felt so alone when I first lost my daughter and I don't want anyone to feel that way. I want to make sure that you remember that your are still a mother. You are still a father. Our titles as mothers and fathers aren't dictated by whether we have living children or not. It's dictated by the love we have for our children whether they are living or not.
I want you to know that their is no timeline for grief. Society tends to shame us and put us on a timeline. They say, "Time heals all wounds." I have found that to be untrue. Time doesn't heal all wounds. Time just teaches us how to deal with it. Grief is like the ocean. Sometimes you will find the waters are calm. Other times you will gentle waves. Sometimes you will feel like you're drowning in tumultuous waters. All of these years later, I still have all of these moments and I didn't just have to learn how to swim. I had to learn how to breathe under water. It's been incredibly bittersweet that my most cherished moments with my daughter intertwine with the most traumatic.
I want you to know that it's okay to be joyful and to laugh. This is something I struggled with myself. I felt like I was betraying my daughter by feeling happy and enjoying life. But my grief always walked beside me like a shadow that became a friend. After losing our babies, our lives are separated into two parts.
Before we lost our baby and after we lost our baby. People don't seem to realize that we can be sad and grateful at the same time. At one point, I was one of those people. But my perception changed after losing Laurelai. Yes, I was angry. Yes, I was bitter and heartbroken. Yes, I was devastated. But I was also grateful. Grateful that she existed at all even if it was for a short time. That's when I realized that conflicting emotions can live side by side.
I want you to know that it's not your fault. So often as women, we feel like our bodies failed us. Like we should have known. But I want you to know that no matter the circumstances surrounding the loss of your precious baby, you did the best that you could at that moment and with the information that was given to you.
Our babies were never touched by fear. They were never cold. Never alone. They knew nothing but love and the sound of your heartbeat and I like to think that it must have been comforting for our babies to hear our voices before they took their last breath.
I want you to know that you're not crazy. You're not grieving wrong or for too long. This type of loss has so much stigma attached to it and no gps so we navigate it the best that we can.
I want you to know that you are not alone. My grief had the loudest silence I had ever heard. So many expectations put on us by society and such a lack of resources has made pregnancy and infant loss a taboo subject. Nobody wants to talk about it and in turn that creates disconnection. That disconnection is devastating. Everyone grieves differently. Everyone's journey of healing looks different, but there is an entire community waiting to hear about your baby and to share theirs. The people in the pregnancy and infant loss community are some of the most loving and kind people I have ever met and it's because they know what this agonizing pain feels like. We have all felt life and death within our own bodies.
But most of all, I want you to know that your babies matter. They say that grief is love with nowhere to go, but I have challenged that saying and found it not to be true. The grief will never go away because the love will never go away. But the love does have somewhere to go. By sharing your babies and speaking your truth, you are not only keeping your babies memory alive, you are creating connection in a very disconnecting type of loss. Your story has so much power and that power comes from the love you have for your baby. That light in your darkest moments is your baby and it shines for other loss parents as well.
They were born silent but their stories have spoken volumes. They may have not seen the world but the world will see them. They may never have cried but they have helped those crying. They may not be alive but they are here with us still.
So please remember, your grief is okay. Your feelings are valid. Your babies matter and even though our babies died, they lived too."