There are so many women and families who have suffered a miscarriage, stillborn, or even loss after birth. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that on average 10% of pregnancies end in miscarriage or pregnancy loss in the early stages before 13 weeks gestation. According to the March of Dimes Stillbirth or a term baby being born deceased, affects about 1 in 100 pregnancies each year in the United States; this is about 1% of all pregnancies which equals approximately 24,000 babies. The CDC shows that while SIDS or sudden infant death is on the decline it still happens to approximately 2000 babies per year.
These statistics show that there are thousands of families just in the United States alone that loss a child every year. There are articles and studies to figure out how to reduce this loss but seldom is talked about how to help a family cope and heal.
Let’s Start Talking
I personally feel this is something that needs to be talked about. Talking about it is the only way to help people thru the tragedy of losing a child. I have lost multiple pregnancies and when I was finally able to talk is when I finally was able to start to heal. Now years later I have decided to speak again. Please keep in mind I’m not a doctor or a therapist this is just what I went thru and how I coped. I hope that my story can help someone somewhere.
My Story of Loss
My husband and I have been thru many pregnancy losses. These include miscarriages and a stillborn. Or first loss occurred at 21 weeks laying in bed, my water broke. There was nothing the doctors could do to save my child. You would think that early you would just bleed and it is done but no. I sat and waited to deliver my son in a state of disbelief. It was surreal we had an ultrasound 2 days prior, and even waiting in the hospital our son had a heartbeat.
3 days into labor I coughed and I said to my husband there is something between my legs. He struggled not to cry because he saw that the heartbeat was gone. The nurse came in and verified I had just coughed and given birth to our stillborn He looked like a miniature person and I could not understand what happened. In my mind, I knew I had failed because he was perfect but my body obviously was not.
Losing our first and then many miscarriages led me to a cycle of grief. Grieving the loss of a child is something no one should ever have to do. After a year we decided to try again and had 4 miscarriages. Then we had one go all the way to 20 weeks. I went in for our ultrasound only to find out the baby had a chromosomal abnormality and had stopped growing. The next day, Valentines Day to be exact, I went to the hospital to have a dilation and curettage otherwise called a DNC. Next, we had another miscarriage. After years of trying we had our preemie and 4 years later our only full-term baby.
You’re Not Alone Even If You Feel You Are
So you see if you feel alone in your loss you can hear my story and know you are not alone in your pain. I had someone ask me which was harder the miscarriages or the stillborn. Honestly, each one hurt. Each one cut me to my soul and made me feel like somehow my body had failed my child. I could not decide if it hurt more to see a baby and know I would never take him home or if it hurt more to bleed and know that your child never had a chance to grow.
For years I thought my husband probably hated me and held me at fault. Yes, I said years. Healing from losing a child does not just take days, weeks, or months. I have 4 children now 2 biological and 2 adopted and I check them multiple times a night just to make sure they are still breathing. Logically I know they are fine but my heart insists I check.
Starting to Heal thru Speaking Out
One day a friend I will forever treasure brought me a journal. She told me she knew I had a story to tell that I needed to get out. I started writing my thoughts in the journal and it was the perfect outlet for me to let go of my pain and process what happened. Eventually, I realized my story was one that needed to be heard.
To start I told the story of my rainbow baby because I wanted to begin by giving hope. I then wrote about our Journey to Parenthood and the story was published on Mamazou. Now I’m writing this series and hoping that someone in any of the stages of grief will read it and maybe just maybe find some solace in my story. No matter where you are in the stage of grief please reach out to someone. People often feel that each stage of grief is separate but I urge you to realize that you may be in multiple stages at the same time and that you may only be in a stage for a moment then switch to another. There is no right or wrong way to grieve so long as you begin the process of healing. Feel free to message me if you need to talk. Here are the articles I wrote.
The Stages of Grief Pregnancy Loss Articles