In August of 2000, due to a chromosomal anomaly, my daughter was stillborn near the end of my second trimester. In November of 2000, I got pregnant again. All I wanted from August until November was to be pregnant. I knew you couldn’t replace babies. I didn’t want to. However, I wanted a baby before my loss, and I still wanted one. So, against all of the advice to the contrary, I actively tried to get pregnant as soon as I got the all clear at my six week visit.
There really was no talking me out of trying again so soon. Yet, to this day, I try talk others out of making the same choice I did. I beg women to allow themselves to properly grieve before getting pregnant again. It’s just so hard. Uniting grief and excitement is so difficult to manage. Grief usually wins.
I spent most of my pregnancy with my son, expecting him to die. When he would sleep in my belly, I would poke my belly and try to rouse him, for fear he was dead. When he would sleep for long periods, I would drink red punch, because I knew that the red 40 would cause hyperactivity and make him kick. When a few hours would go by while he was sleeping, I’d call the office, asking for an ultrasound, which never came, and always resulted in my sobbing on the phone to the receptionist, begging for mercy… but the kind of mercy I needed, no one could provide.
While pregnant with Noah, I would stand in the shower, and stare at my blossoming belly, remembering the shower I took after the ultrasound confirmed my daughter was dead. I had just been inserted with seaweed sticks to soften my cervix for my stillbirth the next morning and I was terrified that somehow, my cervix would open too much and I would have to give birth to a dead baby alone in my shower.
All these thoughts, all the time, they darkened even what should have been the most delightful of times. I should have been daydreaming of my future with the son I was carrying in my womb, but instead, I was still in turmoil. It was a very difficult pregnancy because I should have been grieving.
I don’t know if there’s any way to get through to a woman who only wants a child in her arms… to ask her to wait. Even still though, I’m asking. If you’ve lost a baby recently, please allow yourself to grieve. I remember the grief counselor I saw after my deliver told me, “It takes about six months to get through the process. Sometimes longer, but never earlier.”
If you are dealing with the loss of a pregnancy, the single best resource I found was the National S.H.A.R.E. website. If you know someone close to you who has suffered a pregnancy loss, please visit the site to better understand how you can help them and what they are going through. Pregnancy loss is a very uniquely isolating loss, and it’s very misunderstood.
Wonderfully written. Suffering from several pregnancy losses myself this article is comforting to know that other women (and men) need an appropriate amount of time to grieve.
I love that you always tell it like it is.
Truth, so painful and wonderful all in the same moment. I appreciate your balance…strong yet delicate parenting advice. Thank you.
Ahh… well, if this Jodi is MY Jodi, you know exactly what I went through, because you were there to witness the entire ugliness of it) and I’d have never made it through the experience without you. And that’s not being over dramatic in any way.
Thank you for the supportive reply Ginger.
Thank you for your strenghth and courage. i am definetly sharing this with a friend.
thank you for sharing this deeply personal experience with all of us… all who read it are better equipped as people, whether or not we will have a similar experience… better equipped with understanding and compassion and the ability to support and relate to others who may…
Thank you for for writing about such a personal issue, I am sure even though time heals all wounds as they say this is still never easy to re-live.
You are a strong and amazing woman Dawn, the sharing of this story will help others…..I know someone who just lost their baby last week, I will share this with her.
Heather, please read the SHARE website for very helpful information about offering your support as well. This subject touches many people, even the people associated with he people going through it. It can be a difficult time for friends and family as well because they often want to lend support and don’t know how, it can be very frustrating and overwhelming for loved ones to experience.
Thank you everyone for the supportive comments.