National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

IMG_3392As many of you now know our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage earlier this summer. Today, I would have been about twenty weeks pregnant. From the day we found out our baby didn’t have a heartbeat to the day the bleeding finally stopped, our miscarriage took about a month. It was not quick, nor was it painless. I will never forget what my body went through. The physical pain of childbirth is followed by the joy of holding your child. The physical pain of a miscarriage is followed only by sadness. It was the most traumatic experience of our lives to date. We will never forget the child that we lost.

Miscarriage and infant loss are hard to talk about. They make us uncomfortable and sad. We don’t know what to say to grieving parents. We hope it never happens to us or our loved ones. Sadly, it happens much more often than you would think. One in every four known pregnancies ends in miscarriage. Chances are, someone you know has lost a child. They may grieve in silence, or they may share their loss with you. As someone who has lost a baby, I want to share some advice for those faced with comforting grieving parents. These are my own thoughts on the subject. Please understand that others may feel differently.

Please don’t tell us that we can always try again.
I know that we’re young. I know we have plenty of time to have a family. I hope we can conceive again. But we wanted this child. We dreamed about holding, kissing, raising, and loving this baby. For parents who already have children and lose a later pregnancy/child, please don’t tell them they’re lucky to have other kids. Losing a baby truly does feel like you’re losing a piece of yourself, and a piece of your partner. If I cut off your right arm and said, “at least you still have the left”, would that make it okay? Absolutely not. The loss is still just as painful. Nothing can every replace the child that has been lost.

Please do not judge.
Please don’t make us feel guilty for continuing to grieve. It might seem like enough time has gone by to you, that we should be ‘over it’ by now. Every single person reacts differently to loss. It might take us days, weeks, months, years, or longer. For any future pregnancies, we will fear another loss. Every year on the anniversary of our miscarriage, we may be sad. As we approach our baby’s due date, we may be sad. Please don’t dismiss another person’s grief because it is different than your own.

Please just listen.
We don’t want you to try to rationalize things for us. We don’t want you to tell us that it will be different next time. We definitely don’t want you to tell us what you think caused the miscarriage. All we need from you is a shoulder to lean on. If we want to talk about it, please listen. If we just want to cry, please get the tissues. We don’t mind talking about our baby. We want everyone to know that he or she was real. We want our story to be heard. We know it’s hard to listen to someone talk about something so painful and ugly, but please be patient. Your love and understanding mean more than you know.

Please remember our babies.
Our babies in heaven are just as real to us as all the babies on earth. Our love for them runs just as deep. Losing them is devastating, regardless of how far along in the pregnancy we were at the time of loss. When you’re saying your prayers at night,  pray for them. When you know we’re having a hard time, offer a hug and let us know you understand. Don’t be afraid to mention them. By sweeping their existence under the rug, you’re only discrediting our grief.

If you know someone who has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss, please reach out to them. Let them know you haven’t forgotten their baby. Tell them you’re praying for them and their child. Tonight at seven, please light a candle to honor and remember the little ones waiting for us in heaven.

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