Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
A day to pause and remember.
- To pause and remember those two pink lines that brought you such joy (or scared the HECK out of you).
- To pause and remember those annoying kicks to the ribs that you’d give anything to feel just one more time.
- To pause and remember your sweet baby in Heaven.
Today, we’re pausing with you, and we’re remembering.
Truths for the Hurting Mama
I lost my own baby in May of this year.
I wasn’t prepared for the grief that would follow. I don’t think any of us can be. I now know the agony that comes with losing a child. I know the guilt and the anger and the hurt.
I also know the healing and hope that can follow thanks to a few dear women who spoke truth into my life at a time when my mind and heart were filled with lies.
Maybe you are today where I was not too long ago. Maybe you’re in need of truth and hope.
You are the reason why I’m sharing these five truths for the hurting mama, not as an expert, but as one hurting mama to another.
Because I have personally experienced miscarriage, these truths are specifically geared towards other mothers who have miscarried.
I know that some of you have lost your babies to other causes, and I want you to know that we are remembering you and your babies today as well. While these truths aren’t specific to your situation, I hope you’ll find a nugget or two that will be healing balm for your hurting soul.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Truth #1:
Your Pain is Real.
Every death comes with pain.
The pain that comes with losing a child is the most raw, visceral kind.
You can’t know what it feels like until you experience it, which is why well-meaning friends and family say things like “Well, at least you weren’t that far along.”
Because they just don’t know. They don’t understand that your little sesame seed of a baby was part of you.
Your pain is valid. It’s real. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Truth #2:
You Are Not to Blame.
I hate the word “miscarriage.” To me, it implies that I did something wrong.
The truth is that early loss pregnancies (the term I prefer) are almost never the result of something you did or didn’t do.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that half of early pregnancy losses are attributed to chromosomal abnormalities. Hormonal issues, anatomical problems, and infections in the mother are among the other less common causes.
What’s not to blame?
- Using birth control before getting pregnant
- Morning sickness
- Lack of excitement
When I called my OB to tell him that I thought I was miscarrying, he said, “I want you to hear me. There is nothing you can do, nor is there anything you could have done to prevent this miscarriage.”
He later let me in on a little secret.
You know that list of all the things you’re not supposed to do while pregnant?
- Eat unpasteurized cheese
- Dye your hair
- Drink caffeine
- Go bungee jumping (ok, I added that one)
There is little to no evidence showing that any of those things actually increase your chance of miscarriage. Doctors tell you to avoid them so that if you DO have an early pregnancy loss, you can’t possibly blame yourself.
They’re managing mom-guilt.
Friend, don’t play the “what-if” game.
“What if I had just called my doctor sooner?”
“What if I hadn’t eaten that bologna sandwich?”
“What if I had skipped that third cup of coffee?”
I want you to hear me.
You are not to blame.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Truth #3:
You are Not Alone.
It’s easy to feel utterly alone when you miscarry because it’s such a taboo topic.
There’s an unwritten rule in western society that you’re not supposed to mention your pregnancy until the end of your first trimester. You know, just in case.
“She’s utterly exhausted and puking her guts out so we should probably make sure no one knows to help her. Oh, and if she by chance loses her baby, let’s make extra sure she suffers in silence.”
What a great rule!
Today, I have a message for my fellow mamas: no more silent suffering.
The truth is that 1 in 5 of us has already or will experience a miscarriage. The ugly, beautiful truth is…you—no, WE—are not alone.
Not too long ago, I shared about my miscarriage on Facebook. I was shocked when seventeen women responded with their miscarriage stories. Women are aching to share their stories. They want to know that they’re not alone.
We have to shatter the rules and start sharing. Start today. Start here. Share your story.
We are not alone.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Truth #4:
Grief is Essential.
You think you’re over it, but then you receive an email telling you that your baby should be the size of a kumquat, and you realize…
The same Western Society that makes us think we’re alone is also notoriously bad at grieving. “Loss is inevitable,” says Dr. Russell Friedman of the Grief Recovery Institute, “but we’re given no feasible structure with which to handle it.”
In our go-go-go culture of individualism, we almost instinctively try to fill the void by moving on to the next thing.
We busy ourselves with work, pile on responsibilities, and some of us (ahem) get puppies. But grieving takes time, and we shouldn’t rush it.
On the flip side, grieving isn’t just sitting on the couch for days with a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s. That’s part of it, but as Dr. Friedman says, “When the will to live, to do, to go on, are drained, you need to take action.”
Here are just a few ways you can take action:
- Write a letter or poem.
- Put together a keepsake box (like this wooden Willow Tree Angel).
- Run a marathon in memory of your baby.
- Make a donation in your child’s honor.
- Hold a memorial service.
- Plant a tree.
- Read a book about miscarriage. (Here’s the book that helped me.)
- Share your story.
- Seek professional help.
I don’t know that we can ever completely heal after losing a child, but by allowing ourselves to grieve, we move one step closer towards hope.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Truth #5:
There is Hope.
There’s an old Puritan prayer that says, “The valley is the place of vision.”
In other words, it is at our lowest points in life that we often see the truth most clearly.
For me, that truth comes from God’s Word.
- I have hope because I know God is holding my baby in the palm of his hand and loves my child far more than I ever could.
- I have hope because God knows my suffering and the pain that comes with losing a child; after all, he lost his own son on the cross.
- I have hope because I believe his son not only died for my sins, but conquered death and rose again so that my baby and I could both spend an eternity with Him.
From one hurting mama to another, I encourage you to rest in that same hope today.
One Last Pregnancy and Infant Loss
Truth to Hold On To
- Your pain is real.
- You are not to blame.
- You are not alone.
- Grief is essential.
- There is hope.
Can I cheat and add one more?
You are loved.
We love our Mighty Mamas, and we are praying for those of you who are hurting today. Take a moment to pause and remember that sweet baby of yours.
Write it out. Draw it out. Talk a walk and think it out.
Don’t try to shove it aside and move on. You will get to the other side of this grief...as long as you patiently give yourself the time you need to get there.
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Chelsea is the ultimate boy mom. Whenever she’s in distress, she can count on her three little musketeers and their sidekick pup, Sir Duke, to come to her rescue. If the task is too great, her Prince Charming of a husband saves the day with a magical elixir called Diet Coke from underneath the Golden Arches. Get to know her here and visit her blog, Daughter Redeemed.