Every month in a calendar year, at some point in time, there was an “awareness” brought to the attention of the media and publications creating ‘events/days/month’ for cause, a condition, an organization etc. I have honestly been more aware of issues that I have not heard about by discovering new causes each month. This makes me more informed and self-aware which is usually positive and I appreciate learning more. However, some awareness months just do not automatically stop for the person during that month that light was shed onto the cause.
How do we move beyond awareness month to support these individuals? Many people carry these illnesses daily, or remembrances in their hearts every day. Last month, Pregnancy and Infant-loss Awareness Month. I never thought I would be writing about my own experience, and it honestly took a few tries to get the words to flow. While I don’t have to recount every detail of my experience to you, it is the importance of bringing awareness to these families and letting them know they can make others aware, not just in October.
You can make someone aware at the doctor’s office– to the lady beside you. She may be going through the same thing you experienced ten years ago. I guarantee your kind words, and support will be something she will remember–I know that is one thing that has helped me, listening to others’ stories and letting me know I wasn’t alone in my feelings.
Each year in October, I remember each friend that would post on their social media at the same time, every year. I would definitely empathize with them and just couldn’t imagine their pain, but thought they were so brave by being vulnerable to remember their precious babies.
While I am generally an empathetic and caring person by nature, until this experience was my own, I developed so many new perspectives on so many different things. I am blessed with two children, they are my world. My pregnancy that I lost in the summer of 2020, was going to be no different. Your mind and heart begin planning, dreaming, and loving them from the moment you see those two-pink-lines.
As time passed, and going through the physical and mental challenges of it all, I began to be more aware of families in their own fertility struggles; perhaps, that they have gone through losing an angel baby more than once, and while the heartbreak was still on me, I pivoted and thought of someone else and how I could support and think of them.
Each time my house is a total disaster, and the kids are fighting, and there are “50’ leven” things to do, I pause, and take-a-breath and remember how blessed I am. Being a mother is the hardest job you’ll ever love, and going through a pregnancy loss sometimes makes you feel like you aren’t a mother to that lost child, because they aren’t here.
Your baby mattered no matter if you were six-weeks-gestation, or full-term. You carried that child, loved that child, and the love you still have for that child in your heart is something you don’t have to forget about. I often find myself wanting to damper down that feeling, or feel weird over Halloween this year when I have random thoughts in my mind that pop up, like “oh, I wonder what we would have dressed-up our “would- have-been- 8 month old”. “ I don’t have the answers, or timeframes, or even the right things to say if you or a loved one has experienced this. It is common and it happens, as I am now #1and4 women that suffer a pregnancy or infant loss.
You often find many people just don’t know what to say or say the wrong things that make it worse for you. The doctor who has “seen this” countless times in the ER, but at that moment you feel you are the only one. When he said, “Try again” in that moment to make you feel better, it honestly, doesn’t. Even if you don’t know what to say, just be there, be present, and listen. Ask how you can help? In any situation in life, maybe doing these things will bring awareness to helping each other more.
No one enjoys feeling isolated or alone, and your story matters. I encourage you to find a trusted individual, professional, and support groups to help you navigate your journey. Telling someone to move on or get over it because of “xyz” may be a reality, but does not mean it is easy, will be easy, or the most empathetic thing to say to someone. Lean into others and possibly journal if you feel that it helps. This is your story and your journey, and everyone’s story will be different. Some moms and dads held their babies in their arms before they passed, others like me did not. I am honored to share just a little bit of my story, because if it helps one person, then that means the world.
If you or someone you love is having trouble after the loss of pregnancy, we are here to help. We have a team of highly trained and qualified Counselors and Case Managers to help you on the road to acceptance. There is no waiting list. Have an appointment scheduled within 2 days of your call. Give us a call at 606-676-0638 and get connected to a clinician in your region.
Leticia Reynolds, BS is a TCM with Intrust Healthcare. She has a Bachelor’s from the University of Kentucky in Community and Leadership Development, with an emphasis in agricultural communications and journalism. She has a special interest in maternal mental health, community support for families, and support groups. She enjoys spending time with her family, going on adventures, exploring nature, and learning/reading.