I’m a mom of six. Before you spit out your coffee, take a moment to know this is me, not you. Now I’ll tell you three of those babies are in heaven. Yes, I’m what is known as a Loss Mom. And it sucks more than you can possibly imagine, I don’t need you to tell me how much you can’t imagine. In 2014 I was 8-9 weeks pregnant when I started cramping and spotting. I called my doctor in a panic, but there was really nothing that could be done. We’d seen the baby, even it’s tiny heartbeat, and over that weekend, I literally felt their life leave my body. It wreaked me. My baby died, there’s no going back from that. In 2020, in the height of Covid, I went to our 20 week sonogram alone. The worst words that could ever be uttered, “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat.” I ran to the bathroom and vomited. I had to call my husband and tell him our baby died over the phone. The pandemic has complicated every aspect of life at this point & this isn’t a political debate, but the trauma of discovering your baby is dead, when you’re alone on a table, calling your husband to tell him, calling for a ride home — it’s unspeakable pain. I had to plan the birth & funeral for my baby all at the same time. I’m typing through tears right now. I’m still working through the trauma of Constance’s death. In 2021 we were pregnant again, it was a pregnancy wrought with anxiety and fear, trying not to overshadow our joy for this blooming live. We went for our first appointment with Maternal Fetal Medicine, I knew before she spoke, I could tell by her face. The broken words, “I-I’m so sorry there’s no heartbeat.” She knew our history, she knew the brokenness. This time we had to plan an operation, a D&C. More trauma, more healing, so much therapy.
I’m not sharing these things with you as a way to garner your sympathies. I’m here to say, I get the pain. I don’t understand your particular pain, we all shoulder that differently. But my years in the Loss Mom Club have taught me that even THAT stage of motherhood doesn’t escape the comparison trap. Don’t worry, there are plenty of us that will scream, “LOSS IS LOSS” until we’re blue in the face. Nothing enrages me more than seeing someone dismiss another’s pain. We should all be allowed to experience our loss & our pain in healthy ways. Each of my losses came with their own pain, but I could never rank one above the other. Each death brought its own level of trauma. A baby died, you have to be allowed to work through that, but also be aware it’s different for everyone, not less for anyone. I’ve had friends fall into depressive states. I’ve had friends question themselves because they felt “okay.” I’ve had friends turn so bitter. I’ve had friends question God. But you know what? It’s normal. We all have ways of processing. Sometimes it’s avoidance –which unfortunately only lasts so long. I’ve found therapy so helpful because trauma comes with so many triggers. My therapist, also a loss mom, specializes in grief & trauma, and my heavens, it has helped me so much — she has saved me.
We’ve walked a miserable path over the last two years, the complicated twist to our losses, is that our living children knew about their siblings. They were counting down the days, planning who would share a room with baby, constantly asking to hear baby’s weekly updates. Maybe you relate. Now we we’re not just working through death and trauma on our own, we also have to walk our children through it as well. We talk about our missing family members. We show them that grief, joy, sadness, even laughter can all co-exist. Our society isn’t one that handles grief well. It’s uncomfortable, it’s hard, it’s painful, but it can also be so beautiful. We have been extremely blessed by our community, showered with so much support. I’m so grateful my children see the beauty of other people stepping in for them, especially when I’m too broken to do so.
Grief comes in waves. It doesn’t leave, it doesn’t get easier — it changes. The edges sometimes smooth themselves. The weight of it ebbs and flows. Triggers aren’t always easily seen ahead of time. Be patient with yourself as you navigate these waters. Remember they are different for everyone. Your feelings are valid. You don’t have to rush healing — there’s no timeline. Maybe you’ve found the softness faster than me. Maybe you’re reading this thinking, “What the crap?! I will never FEEL again. You’re so full of ish.” I was there, I’ve been there multiple times. I’ve been so far under I couldn’t breathe. I’ve worked through a lot of things in therapy, but sometimes I still feel upside down & underwater. Loss is wrought with guilt. I have found supposed fault in every loss, questioned every tiny decision I made during that time. I’ll tell you the same as everyone else, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. I’ll tell you that and tell you I still have trouble believing it. Like I KNOW but it’s still hard to KNOW — if you’re nodding your head you know. And I’m so sorry. But I will speak to you, YOU’RE NOT TO BLAME.
I want to end this with some recommendations of some books I’ve found helpful. I’ll say this, grief books, can be so cheesy. This is another part that isn’t the same for all of us. I don’t do trite sayings, I don’t paint pretty pictures. My babies died, not because someone needed them more than I did, they weren’t lost, they died. That being said there are a lot of books that did not make our grief shelf, but might make yours. There are some on this list that you may hate, that is okay. A few of these have religious undertones, so know that going in. Some of these will be for you, other are for living siblings dealing with loss alongside you.