Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance – One Mother’s Healing Journey
TRIGGER WARNING: Child loss and miscarriage.
My sweet baby boy Ayden,
I miss you.
When I give your big sister a bath or get her ready for school,
I think of you.
When I see a boy the age you would be now,
I imagine what you would look like.
When I pass the toys aisle at a store,
I wonder which ones you would enjoy playing with.
When I am out on a walk,
I picture you reaching for my hand.
I may never know why your life was so short,
But I know with all my heart that you are and will always be loved.
Bad things happen to good people.
Do you remember the worst day of your life? Mine was February 2, 2017. The day we went in for the gender reveal ultrasound, and instead heard the earth-shattering: “We are so sorry, there is no heartbeat.” And then silence. Suffocating, all-consuming, crushing silence, followed by a complete breakdown.
“I must have done something wrong!
What have I done to deserve it?
How will I ever go on?!
Does this mean I can’t have any more children?
Numb, angry, confused, inadequate, guilty, ashamed, heartbroken – I felt it all. Still do, thankfully to a lesser degree. Healing from something like this is a never-ending journey. Grief is non-linear – one minute you are feeling OK, the next – you are incapacitated by the loss.
What helped, particularly in the early stages, was the support of our sweet family and friends, some of whom experienced a similar heartbreak. Check-ins, thoughtful gifts, resources on grief, meals for the first few days, getting me out for walks, and so much more. The outpouring of love we received was a tremendous blessing. I was also privileged to have access to good physical and mental health benefits, and a solid support system at work. Many do not…
Despite my amazing support structure, I fell into the stigma trap. Miscarriages and infant losses are incredibly common, yet the topics are often labeled “taboo” or are minimized in conversations (“At least you weren’t that far along,” “Good thing you already have one child.”) According to the World Health Organization, “approximately one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, generally before 28 weeks, and 2.6 million babies are stillborn, half of whom die in childbirth.”
Initially, I did not feel comfortable talking about it and seeking professional help. I am not alone in feeling this way.
We may all deal with grief differently. There is no shame in needing help. Find what works for you and your family. Take time to grieve and do not rush the healing process. One minute, one hour, one day at a time.