It never actually occurred to me or my husband that once we were pregnant that we could actually loose that baby. Yes, we were aware that we shouldn't tell people we were pregnant until 12 weeks (which I realized shortly after, I needed more people to know about my baby) but the truth of it all really didn't set in until it was happening to us.
It was my first pregnancy, and we were so super excited for what the future had in store for us! We were going to be parents! My belly was going to grow big and round with the little person warm inside. Our dreams had started the moment we saw the + sign on that pregnancy test and we were on to the next step of our lives.
That was, until my 2nd appointment with the Dr. I went in expecting the Dr. to find the heartbeat and he couldn’t, which at 12 weeks can sometimes happen. He sent me for and Ultrasound just to check and I went in that same day. I wasn’t overly worried, and I didn’t know what to expect as I had never had an ultrasound before. The technician was nice and I left knowing that my Dr. would call. That is when I started to worry, and on the drive home I started to go to that place in my mind. The place where I am telling myself everything is ok, but truly I knew deep down that it was not. I didn’t care if my baby had 2 heads, was sick, or had abnormalities… I just wanted THAT baby. The moment I walked in the door my phone rang, and it was my Dr. with the terrible news that my baby had no heartbeat.
I was devastated. My dreams were crushed, my future ruined and I felt I couldn’t escape my body. I cried. A lot. And it seemed to happen to have the worst timing because it was 1 week before Christmas. I went through a ton of emotion at this time. I was mad. Sad. Hurt. Lost. Scared. I got angry, pissed off. Why? How? All I wanted was a baby to fill my womb. I was pissed off at the pregnant woman I saw who was smoking outside the hospital. I was mad at women who abused their own bodies with drugs. I was angry at mothers who neglected their children. I was just MAD!
This is a time where I became very isolated. I was lonely and I felt that no one really knew what I was going through. I wanted to talk to someone. I wanted someone to talk to me. I wanted someone to acknowledge my baby and I wanted people to acknowledge my loss. I wanted to cry with a friend or a family member. Don’t get me wrong, I did receive loving wishes, flowers and I know I talked about my experience. But I felt that because it was the holiday season, that my little baby was overlooked, that she/he didn’t matter. No one brought up my baby in conversation, and that was hard for me. That being said, I didn’t bring my baby up in conversation because I knew it was also hard for my friends.
I waited to try and get pregnant again. It was a mission. I was obsessed and it just had to happen. And each month that went by the cycle of emotion would play over and over. Hopeful for 1 to 2 weeks. Then I would feel like I was having symptoms of pregnancy only to get my period and be more than disappointed. It was sadness, a loss each month and anxiety about the future.
It was a really difficult time in my life. Now, many years later, I love that baby still. I am on the other side now. I can cry occasionally for the little life that I lost, and it also touches my heart deeply when people acknowledge my baby now. I am inspired by that little life that lived inside just a couple of months. He or she has brought me to a place where I can expand my caring, empathy and connection with other women, partners, family and friends who have lost. I am not scared anymore, I am not mad anymore. I am not fearful to ask those questions difficult questions. ‘Does your heart still ache?’ ‘How does it feel?’ ‘How are you REALLY doing?’ ‘Please tell me more.’ We have so much more room for growth and empathy when we can ask those questions to the ones we love and care about. We can also learn so much about ourselves, when we are in a position to reach out and say ‘Hey, I am really in a sh*tty place right now, I need someone to listen to me. Can you sit with me a while?’ It takes courage to have these conversations and there is no clock to when the grieving is complete. It doesn’t matter what side of grief you are on. Talking, sharing, listening and acknowledging is such a privileged place to be in midst of it all.
If you are grieving the loss of a baby or you support someone who has, I ask you to visit In Our Hearts. Minette from Birth Of Hope and I hold monthly gatherings in the Tri-Cities for women who have lost babies in pregnancy, abortion, stillbirth and neonatal death. We create a safe place to listen, share, and connect. In Our Hearts is also in the process of expanding to different communities in the Lower Mainland. And because we know that the loss of a baby can impact so many we will plan future gatherings for partners, families and friends, adoptive families and anyone who feels the need to be heard.
If you or someone you know is in grief, reach out. If you don’t know what to say… it’s ok. Sometimes sitting in silence is the best way to start.