To the Mom I Wish I Never Had to Welcome to This Club
Today in my Facebook feed, I saw five pregnancy announcements. One of these stated “Now that we’ve seen the heartbeat we can announce…” I silently raged here. OK, OK, I was loud. A heartbeat does confirm you’re carrying life. It does not guarantee you will meet your baby or take him or her home.
I carried three beautiful, angelic lives within my body. I saw the “safe” heartbeat three times. Yet, I did not meet my children, carry them to term, take them home or mother them. Seeing a heartbeat doesn’t guarantee life beyond the womb. A heartbeat is not a “safe” point, and neither is gestation that meets or exceeds the 12th week. All my children were lost at 15 weeks and beyond. I do not understand why people assume these points are “safe.” I desperately want to expand our family, for a baby to call mine. Loss is so common that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. Next time you think to use the term “safe” in regards to gestation or heartbeat, think of me. Think of how hurt I was to think I was safe.
If you find yourself or a close friend joining these horrid ranks as a grieving parent, please know you are not alone. I am the one in four. Now you are, too. Don’t let anyone tell you your baby was not a “real” baby. No matter the gestation of your loss, it was your baby and very much real. They existed. A doctor may say you “aborted.” That term, while medically sound, does not mean you actually aborted. Your baby was very much loved and wanted. You had hopes and dreams for your child, and it is OK to grieve the loss of a life that was much too short. Regardless of your gestation, whether it be 4 weeks along or 34 weeks, your loss is very much the same. It will never be lesser than because you were earlier. Do not try to compare the difference between the two. It is still a loss of a wanted, loved and hoped-for child with dreams you, as their parent, had.
Take as much time to grieve as you possibly need. I am four years out from my first loss at 18 weeks and still miss my child as much as I did then, if not more. If this was your first child, do not let anyone tell you that you are not a real “mother.” You carried life within your body. You nurtured that little soul within you with love, dreams and hope. You might get horrible comments from people. I’d like to tell you they stop, but they might not. You will want to snap back at them, but trust me when I tell you, you are bigger than that. I believe you are strong enough to survive the loss of your precious child, and you can withstand comments people make out of ignorance, usually with good intentions. Will they bother you? More than likely. Will they understand? No, because they may have not had the same experience. It’s because death is a taboo and misunderstood subject, and add in that the death was a child, and the subject might become more taboo and lonesome than before.
Dates, oh the dates. You will want to forget the due date, knowing how much you looked forward to meeting your baby(s). The whole month will be hard. The date you lost, and the date you birthed (if different) will be etched on your memory. While these days will be sad, rejoice. Celebrate your babe’s life; however short, it was meaning and worthwhile.
I wish I never had to welcome another mother in to this club, but please reach out. We are all around you, we love you and we understand.