Not all aspects of motherhood are peachie. Yet, those are usually the things we need to be talking about far more often. Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Within this article we’re going to talk openly about loss, share stories, and then help anyone reading this who has experienced loss to navigate their grief. Please take your time with this article and do some good self-care. If you’re feeling triggered then it’s perfectly okay to walk away. Or stop by our Peachie Moms Facebook page for some community support, because we’re here for you! Take a deep breath peachies, exhale, and here we go…
No one ever thinks they’ll be a part of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Until they are…and then nothing is ever quite the same. It’s kind of like a club no one wants to be a part of and yet so many of us are; 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage and stillbirth occurs in 1 in 160 pregnancies.
While each person experiences pregnancy and infant loss differently, for many there’s a heavy fog. It’s the weight of grief. The isolation of loss.
There’s the deep pain of not knowing why the loss has occurred. For many, especially those who have miscarriages, there are no answers…only questions. Why? Why did this happen? What could I have done to prevent this loss? Why has my body betrayed me?
To escape your thoughts, you jump on Facebook, only to find it has become a minefield of pregnancy announcements and newborn baby photos. You can’t help but feel a tinge of jealousy for your pregnant friends, family, and co-workers.
Is it even possible to navigate the grief of pregnancy and infant loss?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is that processing grief is different for each person and each situation. Let’s hear two stories from two different loss moms, one miscarriage and one stillbirth.
3 years ago I had a miscarriage when I was only 6 weeks along. I was pregnant. And just as quickly as I was, I wasn’t.
I remember going to my midwife’s office, the day of the loss, and wondering for a moment if maybe I was never even pregnant to begin with.
Yet there was no denying the positive pregnancy test, the tender breasts, irrational emotions, and then my biggest pregnancy tell, a superhero sense of smell. Not to mention the countless conversations my husband and I had, sharing in the joy of our family of 3 becoming a family of 4. If it was a girl she was going to be named Zoe. While a boy’s name was still up for debate.
It took years…years…to process through this loss and there are still times when I need to re-process. It also took time to reconnect with my husband as he went through his own grief and mourning.
The loss of my pregnancy was just as confusing as it was upsetting. So many questions but there will never be answers. The thing that has helped me the most is unlocking myself from the pain of isolation. I’ve done that by sharing my story, both in writing and by speaking to many other loss moms. Knowing that I’m not alone and sharing in the sadness of loss has been comforting.
When I was finally able to forgive my body and myself, I truly started to heal.
– Jen, Co-Founder of Peachie Moms
Jack’s 36 week life was such a roller coaster, such a blur. I often rehash the story to myself at night at bed time–to make sure it still happened, it is still true, and that I really did hold my son for six hours. I sleep next to the blanket we wrapped his tiny body in, just to prove that he did exist. I find comfort in writing for those brave enough to read, and in talking to those brave enough to listen.
If I had to title our story, it would not be “Losing Jack” but it would be “Carrying Jack”, because you cannot lose something that was never yours to keep. As mothers, we sometimes share last names, eye colors, or favorite foods with our children… but we don’t own them. Every moment we get with our children is a blessing, and there is no guarantee how long they will be ours.
Sometimes when I carry him it feels like a bright light, that shines love on me and everyone near me. I have grown extra layers to my soul, and I have a new understanding of what it means to be a human here on earth. We are fragile and temporary and lovely. Sometimes I carry him and he feels heavy, too heavy for me to hold. He has expanded my capacity to love, broken and rebuilt my heart, knocked me on the floor with grief and then swooped in to pick me back up. Sometimes he carries me.
We take turns carrying each other.
– Logan Kinney
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day has expanded to the entire month of October. It’s a positive step towards helping all people who have experienced loss like this to heal. When we bring awareness to a topic, we’re acknowledging it and saying it matters. Your pregnancy mattered. Your loss matters!
Here at Peachie Moms, it’s our deepest desire to help connect moms and support them to feel less alone in all aspects of motherhood. We also want to provide you with tools to help you with personal growth and make motherhood more manageable. Below you’ll see two different Peachie Moms Academy free resources – 1 for miscarriage and 1 for stillbirth. We truly hope that you’ll find one or both of these to be a supportive resource for navigating your grief.
Your pregnancy mattered. Your loss matters!
Stillbirthday This site has been helpful for thousands of loss families (both religious and non-religious) and is from a religious prospective.
The Carly Marie Project This site has an extensive list of recommended loss books for miscarriage, stillbirth, and also helping kids to understand loss.