Learning about pregnancies that didn't have happy endings...

can be harsh, hurtful, confusing, and bring up uncomfortable conversations. But I am writing this because I believe they are conversations that need to be had. I want to bring awareness to the other side of pregnancy; the journeys where women do not get to meet their baby at the end.

After sharing a bit about my first pregnancy loss in my private Facebook mom group (Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum), I felt compelled to not only talk more about it, but to help others find ways to cope and/or help others that may be going through some version of this their selves. According to March of Dimes, 10-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage (loss up to 20 weeks of gestation) and about 21,100 babies are stillborn (loss of pregnancy after 20 weeks). What a disheartening statistic. It may be hard to even read let alone imagine someone who is a part of those numbers. And quite honestly, I just don't think it's fair for a woman to ever have navigate either of these types of losses on her own.

So I am here today to say, I see you mama. And I want to empathize with you. We may not have the exact same situation and we may have different feelings toward our pregnancy struggles but now having gone through my first loss, my heart hurts for the mamas who struggle in silence. That's why I am using my voice to tell my story and be a listening ear and an understanding heart for all the moms out there that may be struggling with their unique versions of loss. I refuse to let you feel like you have to withhold details in fear of making someone uncomfortable or feel like you have to completely hide it in general. Please know your feelings are completely valid and I am so sorry if fear of judgement or society in general has made you feel like you can't open up about what you are going through.

With that being said, I feel that the lack of meaningful support or just a listening ear can make the feelings of loss feel even greater. That's when I knew I had to speak up; for myself, for you, and for our healing. I realized that if no one knew, how would I ever feel understood, heard, or supported? It seems that a lot of times people just don't know how to help and even though they want so badly to ease their loved ones pain, they just feel lost on where to begin. But if you are the one looking for ways to be there for someone you know that may be suffering or grieving a pregnancy-related loss, please don't stay silent and act like it isn't happening or didn't happen. Even something as simple as 'I am so sorry you are going through this' can make someone feel cared about and less lonely. It wasn't until I was at a gathering with a fellow mom group that I learned some ways you can let them know you care (when words don't feel like enough). This is the list they had compiled for us:

  1. LISTEN. Simply just listen to what they have to say. You can't fix it but you can listen as they pour out their heart.
  2. Take them a meal. Don't ask, just do it. Take it from someone who worries about what they'll make for every meal. Taking one little task off their hands will work wonders.
  3. PRAY. Pray for mom, pray for dad (they suffer too even if they don't say it or show it). Pray for their healing, comfort, peace, and support.
  4. Send them a card. Just some simple words to let them know that they were heard and cared about.
  5. Celebrate dates that the parents find important. Due dates, birth dates, etc. If they mention it and want to remember it, find ways to celebrate with them.
  6. Say the baby's name if they had one picked. It can mean a lot to the mother as it acknowledges their life and how real and precious this baby was to her.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is October 15, 2024. Having gone through a pregnancy loss of my own has really opened my eyes to types of struggles I truly didn't understand and my heart goes out even more to fellow moms for what we endure for our babies. Sharing our stories, triumphs, and losses builds our community a little stronger each day. And opening up about topics like this can help us heal, together. This year, let's take the time to not only acknowledge and comfort moms who have experienced loss but continue to shed light on a subject that often gets left in the dark.