October is awareness month for so many organizations. Listening to the radio yesterday, I heard ads for donating to breast cancer awareness and mental health awareness. There are many others. But the one that is often forgotten on the widespread level: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. There is something taboo about baby loss. It makes people uncomfortable on a whole different level than other kinds of tragedy. People do not want to think about babies dying. If babies die, where is the hope for the future? But the reality is, Babies DO die. And this taboo, puts loss parents in an awkward, lonely place.
When an adult (or even an older child) dies, they have left their own legacy behind. People have interacted with them, and have their own memories. When a baby dies, often times no one gets to meet them aside from their parents. So we have to fight to make sure they are remembered. Too often, people pretend our beautiful babies never existed. We don’t get a future with them. We don’t get to make memories. What we have, is their names. There is power in a name. It is proof of our little one’s existence. Sometimes people avoid saying their names to protect us, or to protect themselves. But I believe in speaking their names loudly and bravely, unafraid of the discomfort of others. Which is why, for the 2nd time, I created this canvas project.
Last year, I got around 115 names. It took me 2 weeks to collect the names. I had names of babies born back in 1965. This year, I collected 171 names. This took only 2 posts, and about 24 hours total. After filling the canvas, I got a few more requests that will be included next year. Here are the two years canvases together:
This year’s canvas is much different than last year. I opted to leave out dates, to allow for more names. I wrote the names back to back, rather than spacing them out. I knew I would have more requests this year and planned for it. My hope is to one day, display these canvases (along with the ones I create in the future), to show people: this is reality. When a baby dies, they are not forgotten. They are important. They are loved. They are remembered.
Thank you to all of the parents who allowed me to include their precious babies.
To see close-up photos, view the album on the Missing Link Facebook page here