Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
I hate that this subject is so close to my heart but after multiple failed pregnancies, it really is.
I can’t speak from experience about stillbirth, SIDs or the death of a newborn but I can definitely talk about medical termination due to genetic problems and miscarriage.
Part of what is so painful about it – apart from what your body goes through – is that it’s not talked about openly.
When you lose a baby before 12 weeks, there’s a good chance you haven’t even told anyone that you’re pregnant. For up to three months, you’re quietly suffering through morning sickness, blood tests and doctor’s appointments.
When you miscarry, no one (apart from your partner) knows it’s happened. So then you go through the whole post-miscarriage experience on your own as well.
Of course, you can tell people. We told people the first few times but after that, it felt like we’d used up our sympathy quota. There’s only so many times you can expect people to support you through the same thing.
There also a point where people start to think you’re a fool for trying – and yet you persist because there’s this thing inside you that won’t stop: the intense yearning to hold your own live baby again.
If you lose a baby after 14 weeks – something that I have done twice – you have to deliver the baby. I’ve had one medical termination at 18 weeks and one complicated twin pregnancy that ended in miscarriage at 17 weeks.
I don’t know if I will ever fully recover from the experience of holding my dead babies. It’s a grief that stays with me always.
Despite many attempts to have a second baby, we haven’t succeeded. And now? We’ve officially given up. That’s a whole different grief. I am not a quitter by nature but I just can’t make my body do this one longed-for for thing.
Acceptance comes and goes. I still look at babies at the park with envy, and every time a friend has a beautiful, healthy baby, my delight for them is tinged with a little bit of sorrow.
Then I start Googling adoption and foster care but I know that isn’t what I want. I want our baby and it’s not going to happen.
Why am I sharing this? Just to say that if you have been through this – me too. I can’t understand your personal pain but I can understand something like it. I know how hard it is. I know, for me, the sorrow comes and goes but it never leaves completely.
So today, on one of thousands of annual awareness days, please take a moment to think about the quiet grief that so many of us carry around. And if you’ve been through this, please know that you’re not alone.