Think about it. One in four women lose a child to miscarriage, stillbirth or SIDS. That’s a lot of us. So why do we feel so lonely when it happens? Why do we feel like we can’t talk about it and share our grief? The number is staggering. I am grateful that Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month exists. This month gives us an opportunity to talk about it and share with each other. So If you don’t mind, let’s talk:
I wanted to step out and tell my story. To be a voice where it is hard to speak. To let you know that you are not alone.
Where to start? Where does one start when they begin to share about one of the toughest days of your life? It was four years ago last month. We weren’t even married for a year. My husband and I were so excited. We tried for a baby and we were lucky enough to succeed quickly. We felt blessed to have received a positive result almost right away.
Somewhere in your head and heart you start planning and dreaming about this baby right away. Will it be a boy or girl? What will be their name? How will you decorate the nursery? Who will they look more like? You fall in love right away. Even early on you may not “feel” the baby yet, but you know he or she is there. Your body starts to change, so does your mood 😉 .
So, there we were dreaming about the baby that would soon be ours. This little being that would change our family dynamic and the miracle that he or she is. I mean, my body was making another human, a beautiful combination of both my husband and myself. It was the most incredible feeling.
Then that fall day, it all came to an end. It all came crashing down so quickly. It was painful in so many ways. I felt a loss that I had never felt before. So there we have it, the word miscarriage – like I made a mistake or something?! The doctors send me home to wait for “it to pass.” “IT?!?!” It all seemed so transactional. Perhaps it is for the doctors, I mean loss of a pregnancy or infant does happen to 1 in 4 of us. That is a lot.
I felt a huge loss. Grieving someone I never met, but the grief was real and very raw. I was lucky to have family who was understanding of my/our loss. They wanted to talk to me about it, but it was hard to find the words at that time and it is still difficult to express how I feel about it entirely. I was still in a lot of pain and I still needed a way to cope with my grief. There was no funeral or service for this loss of life. Nothing exists in our society to help us through this kind of a loss.
I wondered over and over, “What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently?”
Scrolling through Facebook months before, I noticed that someone I knew in high school had written a book about loss of a baby. At the time, I just scrolled right past it, perhaps even gave it a like. That book, popped into my mind after losing our baby and I ordered it not even really knowing the details of what was inside the book. I needed something, anything to help me through. It’s titled There Was Supposed To Be A Baby. It was just what I needed that that time. I recommend this book to any mom that suffers the same loss. As Catherine Keating says in her intro: “Where do you go from here? You have the opportunity to heal from the inside out. It can be a messy path, but it’s worth it.” She helps to give you a path to emotional and physical healing in this rough time in our lives. It was an invaluable resource for me, as was her website.
I asked her if I could share a piece of her book with you that truly resonated with me. So with Catherine Keating’s permission, here was the first step to my healing. I needed this and I am grateful for this:
“From this point on, refrain from doing anything that does not nourish you. Anything that does not make your body feel more beautiful, that does not make your heart feel a bit lifted, that does not make you sense a shimmer of light around you is forbidden. You will only let in people, places, thoughts, foods, music, smells – you name it – that nourish you. Take a sheet of paper and write the question Does this nourish me? Write it, color it, paint it, however you would like to express the question, and then place it in your wallet or post it on your refrigerator or stick it on your bulletin board. Make it visible and make it yours. Start setting those boundaries.”
This was only the beginning, this was only the first step. I am here to tell you that you are allowed to feel the loss. You are allowed to grieve. You are allowed to wish for what could have been. But, you will heal. The loss you have felt or are feeling can and will bring forth more love in the future. Until then though the focus is on YOU healing.
We are lucky these days to have resources like these books, on-line resources and support groups like NationalShare.org and MissFoundation.org at our fingertips. We are blessed to also have our moms groups talking and sharing about infant and pregnancy loss, like my MOPS group was this past week.
The love that we had for our first child exists and surrounds our family and our other two children. That baby will never be forgotten and neither will our love for him or her. The love just exists in a more heavenly way in your heart and in your family in a different way than you imagined. It is a beautiful love.
Know that you are not alone. Myself and many others are here with you.