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BLOMSTERY GREEN, Ga. – The little gold chain never comes from Cordarrelle Patterson’s neck, a constant reminder of the greatest pain he’s ever experienced, of the person never too far from his mind or his heart.
In 2017, Patterson and his partner, Taylor, lost their son, Zyan, 18 or 20 weeks into her pregnancy – a feeling so indescribable even now, years later, the Atlanta Falcons running back will still not go too deep.
But in his pain – the endless grief of losing a child – he also wanted others to understand that they are not alone. That life can be wonderful and can be cruel, and that experiences – however tragic they may be – are not lonely.
So on Sunday, Patterson will be wearing multicolored cleats with butterflies on and words on the page that read “Pregnancy & Infant Loss Consciousness” to provide recognition, awareness and support to those who are going through what he once did. Patterson said his partner was still giving birth to the baby after they found out they were losing their son.
“Every day we go still thinking about our son and what happened,” Patterson said. “It happens every day of life, to be honest. Some people do not understand that some women only have one chance to get pregnant and they lose their baby and never have the opportunity to do it again.
“For me, it’s really big for me and my family, and just when I look back, it’s sad. It’s heartbreaking.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one pregnancy out of every 160 in the United States is stillborn – that is, at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later – and there are about 24,000 stillborn babies a year in the United States. It reports The March of Dimes between 10 and 15 out of every 100 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
It’s a feeling almost impossible to put into words.
Patterson knows they’re lucky too. Zyan was Patterson’s middle child. He has a 9-year-old, an 8-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old. And he loves all his children. But the child he never got to see grow up keeps up with him daily.
It’s something he said no one could ever really process because “you never think it can happen to you.”
“It makes you look at life differently,” Patterson said. “People don’t think it can happen to them, but it happens every day of life, and when it happens to you, it’s when it hits.”