I Never Met You But I Miss You | Walking Through Pregnancy Loss

holding candle for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
Yesterday was October 15. Also known as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I lit a candle in memory of our Baby P and in honor of all little ones that have a special place in their parents' hearts.

Maybe that candle was lit for one of your favorite "what ifs," too.

If you have experienced pregnancy loss, you are not alone. Don't hide your grief, don't act like nothing has happened. Actively reach out for help and support and accept kindness. And remember, it’s okay to not be okay.

To the mommas also walking this path:

  1. You can be happy for your pregnant friends and be sad for yourself -- and maybe even a little jealous too.
    Grief is a weird emotional thing. Give yourself some grace to be uncomfortable and confused and angry and hurt and sad. If going to your friend’s baby shower is not something you’re ready to do, don’t push yourself! If your Instagram feed is suddenly full of pregnancy and birth announcements, it’s okay to mute or unfollow those women for a time
  2. The statistics are both scary and reassuring.
    1 in 4 women will experience pregnancy loss. I was that 4th woman in my church as we all began walking through that season of first motherhood together. It’s hard to be that statistic, but many older women in my life came forward with their own stories and experiences because they’d been through it, too. Just like every pregnancy is different, so is every loss. There is a bittersweet bond and support with women have been in your shoes that doesn’t lessen the gravity of your personal situation.
  3. Your friends want to help; they just don’t know what to say.
    Let them know if you do or don’t want to talk about your miscarriage, or how you’re feeling, or a friend’s upcoming baby shower. Set your boundaries and expectations clearly, and don’t be afraid to change your mind or change the topic of discussion mid-conversation. If talking about it isn’t something you’re ready to do yet, suggest other ways your friends can comfort and support you (ideas below!).
  4. Honoring your commitments is important, but not when it risks your emotional well-being.
    Wallowing is part of the grieving process. So take a step back and allow yourself time to mourn and heal because facing the real world after a tragedy is hard. Take time off of work, even if your coworkers don’t know why. Stay in bed late and cry yourself to sleep early. Holidays may be difficult too, so be honest with your family and kind to yourself when you commit to any activities.
  5. You’ll be surprised by the books, movies, songs, TV shows, and ads that will trigger a range of emotions.
    I had to reach out to Spotify support because I kept getting ads related to pregnancy & delivery after my miscarriage and I was hoping there would be a way to filter those out of the rotation. There wasn’t, and that meant I stayed away from Spotify for a few months (because I’m cheap and didn’t want to go Premium). And those Hallmark Christmas Movies? Bring out the tissues! 
  6. Check in with your spouse or significant other.
    Your husband/boyfriend/fiance may not have physically carried a baby like you did, but he lost a child, too. The physical and emotional pain of delivering death is a purely emotional pain for him. He may feel he has to be strong for you, so make sure he knows that he is allowed to grieve and breakdown and process, too. You both lost more than a baby; you lost the future what-ifs and first steps and first days of school and first kiss.
  7. Nothing prepares you for the hate you may feel for yourself when your body fails you. Even when it Wasn’t. Your. Fault.
    Where is your desire to live at the gym and work on your core and eat all those leafy greens rooted? Is it in fear? If working out works you through your pain, go for it. But if your new devotion to a healthy lifestyle is rooted in fear and what-if’s, you may want to seek help from a counselor or therapist.

    An early miscarriage is more likely the result of a chromosomal issue with an embryo or a blighted ovum than the result of a womb that doesn’t function properly. Healthy minds and bodies require balance. Hating your body because of its previous “failure” will not prepare it or you for a successful future pregnancy.
miscarriage quote

To the friends who want to be there but don’t know how:

Here’s what you can say:
  • You don’t have to know what to say. “I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know how sorry I am” can be more comforting than the most eloquent phrase.
  • Instead of “well, you know you can get pregnant” say “I’m right here if you want to talk about it.” 
  • Instead of “you can try again” say “I know how excited you were about being pregnant and about your baby.”
  • Instead of “at least it happened early” say “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
  • And if you don’t know what to say in person, a quick text that says “I’m thinking about you” or “Praying for you” can mean the world. Also, try writing a letter or a card, something she can hold on to.
 If you or she speaks the love language of gifts, try these out:
  • A charm for an existing necklace or bracelet. Maybe it’s a heart, an initial, angel wings, or something you know is symbolic or meaningful to her. 
  • Any of the beautiful stationary items from The Lilia Grace shop
  • A small and easy to care for house plant, like Aloe Vera, a succulent cluster or Pothos
  • A super soft blanket to snuggle into
  • Gift cards for a night out or a massage
  • Make or bake something yourself -- a scrapbook page, a painting, a batch of cookies, anything that shows your heart and support.
Here’s what you can offer to do to serve her and her family or to spend time with her:
(Tip: Be specific with offers of help! The open-ended “let me know if you need anything” can be just that, too open-ended.)
  • Take her out for coffee 
  • Help around the house
  • Go for a walk together
  • Do something you both enjoyed doing before
  • Bring over a meal or two
Turn to the ultimate comforter:

I received the sweetest letter from a lady I have never met. It brought me to tears even as it brought me comfort. I share this one passage from it that has been so important to me:

"Your God is still good and he hurts for you. The Psalms tell us that the Lord draws near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. In 2 Corinthians we learn that the father of mercies and the God of all comfort comforts us in our affliction. He is your shield, your stronghold, your refuge. Lean into the God who makes beauty out of ashes. He adores you and He will sustain you. I pray that you would take refuge in your God. That you would cry out to Him and know his comfort."

be joyful in hope phone background

Originally written for The Sassy Club

pinterest graphic: walking through miscarriage  pinterest graphic: miscarriage quote 

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