Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I meant to post this yesterday, but of course I was slow.

Yesterday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  I never thought I would be on this end of things, wanting people to know that pregnancy loss happens more than you might think.  I also want to send love and support to any mothers and families out there who have lost a baby, or babies.  I know that October 15th and Awareness month is about infant loss in all ways, not just miscarriage, but since I've only experienced miscarriage, it's what I will be addressing.  I miscarried a year ago this week.  I went to the ER and found that my baby's heart was no longer beating on October 15, 2012.  The reason I wanted to write this is because a lot of women have lost a baby to miscarriage, and for some reason it often turns into a taboo subject.  I was surprised by how many women came out of the woodwork and told me about their own miscarriage, or in some cases multiple miscarriages, after finding out I lost my baby, and I never even knew.  Even if women do talk about their pregnancy loss it is often not recognized as the death of a child.  My hopes and future and plans were pinned to that baby.  It was ripped away from me when I lost my pregnancy, and I never even got to hold my baby, or find out the gender or give him or her a name.  A lot of people didn't know what to say to me or how to act.  Many said insensitive and even hurtful things on accident or in ignorance.  Things like, "what did you do?"  "When are you going to have kids?  You guys have been married for awhile, now!"  Or on Mother's Day, when an innocent 10-year-old asked for my Mother's Day chocolate bar that my church gives all women 18 years and older, because "it's not like you're a mom."  Without the extra sensitivity to others' unintentional comments, I still felt a lot of ridiculous feelings that I knew were ridiculous, but I still felt them.  I felt extreme guilt.  What had I accidentally done to kill my child?  I took a hot bath before I knew I was pregnant!  You're not supposed to get too hot!  Maybe I damaged some chromosomes or something?  It was ridiculous, because I followed all the pregnancy rules; it was just one of those things.  I felt like I let my family down.  Women have babies all the time.  It's one of those big things we're made to do, and I couldn't do it.  I told my parents I was pregnant and it was going to be their first grandchild and I couldn't follow through.  I knew even as I was feeling these things that I was being stupid.  My whole family was loving and supportive and sad for my loss, not judging me on failing to carry my baby to term, but I still felt that way.  Not to mention the extreme jealousy and even dislike of women who were still pregnant or who had babies.  I tried not to, but it hurt so much.   I remember seeing little twin boys sitting in a grocery cart and bursting into tears, while my sweet husband tried to guide me away.

The reason I share all this is not for pity, but because it needs to be recognized that women who miscarry have lost their child.  The moment she finds out she's pregnant her life is different.  When all those plans and dreams crash around her, it is one of the most awful moments of her life.  And if women want to talk about it, they should be able to without people cringing on the inside.   The best thing you can do if you know someone who'd lost a baby is just recognize it as true loss.  Ask them how they're doing and if you can do anything to help them out.  A few people sent Kelly and me cards, and one sweet woman brought me flowers.  Another asked me if I wanted to go get lunch; I didn't feel up to it, but just her reaching out to me meant so much.  My family was loving and supportive, and Kelly babied me for months because I felt so terrible physically for weeks, and emotionally until well after the due date.  Please don't brush it under the rug, because a mother (or father) who has lost a baby will never, ever forget.

For women or anyone else dealing with loss from a miscarriage, I found a couple sites helpful when I was in the thick of it:


Lindsey said...

Beautifully written Dani!

Georgia said...

You made me cry, Dani. This was such an empathetic call to all those who have suffered loss and to all those who haven't known quite how to show love and concern to those who have experienced loss.

Thank you!