As an aunt, a sister, a sister in law .. this has been one of the most challenging years I've ever experienced in my 38 years. Thinking back to the beginning of 2009, there was so much happiness in our family. We were all so excited for Nick & Brie. After a loss in 2008, we felt 2009 was going to be the year that they would finally have their baby. Taking myself back to late April when we found out Baby Z was a healthy baby girl..I remember pure excitement & relief to hear she was healthy. I don't think I put the phone down before I was already ordering a custom onesie that said "My Auntie Steph thinks I'm the cutest baby ever". It was true, without even seeing her, I knew she would hold my heart forever. What I didn't know was she would keep a part of it...and make part of it lost forever. One year from her birth, I still wonder what could have been...5 years from now, I will still wonder... it's a piece of me...of our family that will always be a unknown.
Being an immediate family member has proven to be tough at times... I became a major part of my sister's support system. At first you don't have time to think about how you feel...it's all about them. At some point you stop, you realize what YOU have lost..a niece, a nephew.. a part of your family and you grieve. My sister and I are very close. She knows I never judge her, she knows I will always support her, we've been though a lot, especially over the last 15 years.. through it all, we will always be there for one another in good times & bad. I tend to be the mediator of the family, I want everyone to be happy and content. I had to realize that I could not fix this for anyone... all I could do was listen and all I could say is "I'm sorry".
Unless you've lost a child you can not say "I know what you are going through" or "You're young, you still have plenty of time"... it doesn't make the parent feel any better about their loss. The best thing to do is be there, don't be afraid to talk about the baby, listen to them and give them the support they need. Supporting the parents is the best thing you can do.
I have become very sensitive to how children are treated by their parents. I hear a mother yell, "Stop that, you are such a brat." I cringe & think to myself, "She really doesn't know how lucky she is to have that child." Never take for granted what you have, it can be lost in a heartbeat.
I hope that someday soon, my sister and brother in law will have a happy healthy lil' one in their arms ... a lil' one that an auntie can spoil with lots of love. I'm so very proud of the two of them... they've made it through something that many couples are not strong enough to get through.