Recent Thoughts On Grief :: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance

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***Trigger warning: grief, pregnancy loss***

Image is of a single candle signifiying pregnancy and infant loss remembrance

Today is October 15, 2021. It is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

10 days ago I was pregnant. Nine days ago it was confirmed my pregnancy was no longer viable. Three days ago I had a scheduled D&C after experiencing a partial miscarriage at home. Sharing this story on this day, during this month of loss remembrance, is both selfishly cathartic, and incredibly emotionally taxing. I wasn’t even sure if I could get these words out, especially since our wounds have yet to heal. But I sat down to write and out it came. So here we are. 

Before

Getting pregnant later in life isn’t always easy. In fact, we had pretty much written off our chances after our 6 month “Covid Clomid” experiment proved fruitless. So while Baby #2 was a BIG surprise, the desire to grow our family was well established so we were over the moon. Of course there are inherent risks with pregnancy later in life, but we focused on the positive and quickly began dreaming of our future as a family of 4.  The last month has been a roller coaster of finding out we were pregnant, being ecstatic, worrying about ‘advanced maternal age’, guarding our secret, having an inconclusive initial ultrasound, getting immediate reassurance everything was fine, leaning into our joyous planning, and then experiencing the final crushing blow of loss. 

After

I am NOT a grief expert, but I have a wonderful therapist who tells me the following:

  1. Grief isn’t linear.
  2. We all grieve in our own way.
  3. We must let the grief in to process it.

Over the last week and a half I have found this to be 100% accurate. Early pregnancy loss is an odd grief in itself because so few people even know about the pregnancy in the first place. I find myself walking around craving comfort and sympathy telepathically, in one moment praying someone would ask me what is wrong and in the next praying no one notices my tears as I pass a mother with an infant in the grocery store. And you still have to do all the things, like grocery shop, pack the lunches, make the dinners, laundry, work, wake up, get out of bed, smile, be a parent, be a friend, and be a partner, all while it feels like the world is collapsing inside you. 90% of the people in my orbit have no idea what I am experiencing and it is so isolating it almost takes my breath away.

Image shows a woman alone

Words

Hallmark does NOT make a card for these situations. How do you share “Hey great news, but…” and yank the carpet out from under folks in the very next sentence? When do you say it? How do you say it? I’m still struggling with that myself. But what I have learned in this short time is that you MUST share with someone. Share when you feel led. Share how you feel in your own way. Set boundaries with yourself and others so grief doesn’t overwhelm you. Whatever expression looks like for you, make sure to DO IT. 

No Words

If you’re ever wondering what to say to someone who chooses to trust you with this precious information, I will give you my top choices of helpful comments here:

  • “I’m so sorry”- It’s short, simple, to the point, and allows the other person to continue to share or not.
  • “I cannot imagine what you’re going through, but I’m here for you.”- If this is indeed true, offering to listen is always helpful.
  • {NOTHING} Offer a hug or hand squeeze instead. Sometimes actions are easier.
  • Try to avoid trite statements that may sound well meaning in your head, but can often be more hurtful than helpful. 
  • If you don’t know what to say, then SAY THAT. Honesty is always best.

Image shows a quote written on a mirror: "Miscarriage is not a failure"No Shame

I would lastly like to say that I am not writing this anonymously from a place of shame, but out of respect for the people in our lives who deserve to hear this news from us personally and not from the internet. Even though you don’t know who I am at this moment, you might soon meet me or any of the 1 in 4 women who experience pregnancy/infant loss. If you have never experienced a loss, I used to be you, and I pray you never ever do. If you have experienced loss, I am one of you now. I am here for you, and we will survive this together. 

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