I found out this week that another woman has joined my sorority. Normally when new members join a sorority there is excitement, fanfare, gifts given, and secrets shared. There is a sense of relief and pride that she has finally completed all of the requirements to be a part of a sisterhood. All of the long, sleepless nights memorizing sorority history were worth it for this lifelong bond.
My sorority is quite different. No one joins of their own volition. Current members are not elated when new members join. There will be no laughter or welcome parties. The long, sleepless nights have just begun in a much different way than the new member imagined.
The Infant Loss sorority is a sisterhood of women who have experienced the unfortunate and traumatic loss of a baby. It is marked with grief and sadness. The gifts people bring are meant to console the new member. The tears shed are not tears of joy, but of sadness and confusion. The long, sleepless nights that she hoped to spend cuddling your baby are now spent wondering what went wrong.
I can say that since joining this undesirable sorority, I have become more compassionate to the needs of others experiencing grief and loss. No longer do I shy away because I don't know what to say. I am mindful to reach out to them months after the loss because I know they are still struggling even though everyone else has gone back to normal life.
If you are a part of this sorority, you are a part of a lineage of strong women who have learned that every life is a gift. We have learned to enjoy the little moments because now every moment matters. Although I hope no one else joins our sorority, I know they will. And when they do, we are here to let them know You Are Not Alone.