This blog is just about my life and mostly revolves around my son, Jamie. This blog is a combination of everything, whether it may be a new recipe I tried, a good freebie I found, something funny Jamie said, or feelings I'm having about life in general. There's little rhyme or reason. I'll never win any blogging awards, but I enjoy writing about our lives and I mostly do it for my son. It's so easy to forget moments over the years. I've got all these little tidbits of our life in print and I hope that someday Jamie can enjoy them.

I called this blog Mother of Life, Mother of Loss because of my issues with pregnancy loss and the joy of finally bringing this wonderful person into the world. Truly, I feel the pains of loss, but you won't see too much of that here. I am blessed and I am, above all else, a mother of life.

After all the years of infertility and loss, Matthew and I were blessed with a surprise pregnancy. We were pregnant with twins, but unfortunately, Baby A could not stay with us. Baby B grew into a healthy and happy baby girl that we named Bella Marie. We are so blessed to have two beautiful children.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pregnancy Loss - What Not to Say

I was looking for something I posted online years ago and ran across some pregnancy loss stuff I had posted to other people. I've got pregnancy loss on my mind tonight, so I thought I would edit it a bit and post it. I never found the post I was looking for, but I thought I'd share these anyway..

It doesn't matter if you have no other children or 50 children at home, losing a baby is a traumatic event. You have hopes and dreams for that child and the bonding begins from the moment you realize that little life is inside of you. The amount of time you get to spend with your baby, even if it's just a few precious days, doesn't mean it is any less important.

There is no specific way you should feel after a loss. Sometimes you feel pretty blah about things for awhile, then out of nowhere it hits you hard. Sometimes you feel like talking about it and others you don't. It's okay to grieve the loss of your baby. Don't be afraid, or ashamed, to do that. Don't try to compare your pain to others. Your feelings are every bit as important as anybody else's. Sometimes that's hard for me to grasp, too. Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling sorry for myself when I have a perfectly healthy baby now.

I really thought I would never have a baby. I blamed myself, my body, even thought maybe God was punishing me. I tried cycle after cycle and hope seemed to dwindle away. I didn't feel whole. I felt broken and like I was going through the motions of being alive, while inside I was mostly dead. Nobody around me had any clue. Even my husband couldn't fathom the depth of my losses. I didn't have to wait any period of time after my losses. I would try again immediately. That's the only thing that kept me going and yet that tore me apart, too. I often was torn between wanting to try again and not wanting to be hurt again. Sometimes I would just torture myself with episode after episode of Baby Story, Birth Day, Maternity Ward, etc. Other days I would be filled with so much rage I wanted to break something and sometimes I did. Once I tore up all my baby & pregnancy books. My DH was pretty mad at me that day. He couldn't understand why I would do something so stupid. I needed to vent my frustration and those books were a symbol to me of my failure. Sometimes I would sit in my would be nursery and cry. It was only storage at the time, but it was supposed to be my baby's room. All of us go through a variety of emotions. Whatever you are feeling is normal. Not all of us grieve in the same way. Some people, like me, find some measure of comfort in trying again right away. We can carry on as long as we find some hope. Others need to take time to themselves, take a break from TTC. Some need to be around friends and loved ones. I think all of us share the same basic emotional responses, though. Anger, sadness, and frustration. I think most, if not all, find ways to blame themselves even when they know there is nothing they could do. It's all part of the grieving process. When you lose a baby, especially early in pregnancy, the world doesn't really acknowledge your loss. That makes it even harder. You know you have lost someone so precious and special, yet the world keeps going as though nothing has changed. Many times people don't give you permission to grieve. You have to grieve. You are a mother who has lost her child. It doesn't matter how far along you were. I wish I had known all the ladies I've met online when I was going through all this. You just feel so alone.

I wonder all the time what my babies would have looked like. I think about the babies I lost a lot, especially at night time when things get quiet. I think about things that might seem silly to think about like how my house might be arranged with more children.


I guess the most important things to remember are 1. The heart defies reason and rationality. 2. That you can love a baby you have never even seen or felt. This extends to people who have failed adoptions as well. 3. Part of being there for a person in pain is being patient and empathetic even when you don't understand. What I mean by that is that there is nothing you can say or do to help with their pain. Do the best you can to let them know you care. People will undoubtedly say and do the wrong things, but it is equally as painful to be ignored and treated like nothing ever happened. This is the way I was treated at work and by most of my friends after each miscarriage.

But back on subject...

People are even more insensitive about my previous m/c now that I have a baby. Several people have said things like "Aren't you glad you didn't have those babies because you wouldn't have had Jamie." I wanted those babies too. Many people in my family have said this, "We are so proud of you for doing so well with this pregnancy." This insinuates that I had control of the complications in my previous pregnancies.

I still feel a little flush of anger and resentment toward some of the insensitive things people said about my miscarriages. I have had a lot. The most painful thing is that most people thought that since I had so many miscarriages that it was "old hat" to me or "same old, same old" Nobody expected me to carry a baby and they weren't shy about telling me so. When I was pregnant with Jamie people would either be afraid to ask me about my pregnancy and ask my coworker before saying anything or they would come and and ask "So, are you still pregnant?"

Many people told us that we should just give up and adopt since I obviously couldn't carry a baby. We were thinking about adoption, but that also seemed to belittle me.

I would like to have another baby someday. I fear going through all that heartache and pain again. Whenever I mention this to people they say I shouldn't try and just be grateful that I have Jamie. I don't like that sort of comment either.

I am grateful to have Jamie. I have room in my heart for more children than him. There is room in my heart for each child I have lost. Jamie doesn't replace them. He just takes up another place. Nobody thinks a new baby takes the place of a child that is with you, why would they think he replaces one that is living in heaven.

Anyway, I'm not good at making suggestions except by quoting my experiences. I really didn't mean for this post to be all about me. I probably use to many "I"s. I wanted to put in this post what I thought would be appropriate to say, but I felt at a loss for the right words. Suddenly that place in my heart began to pound and the tears were fresh and I realized that there just isn't "a right thing" to say. My best advice is just to express your love in very simple terms. Don't try to preach. Let the person know that you realize they have suffered a very great loss. Their loss is real and important and no less than anybody else's loss, including any of your own. To the person who has lost their child, it is the greatest loss. You don't know how they feel. Offer your shoulder to cry on, your ears to listen, your hands to hold, and leave out the commentary.

THE WHAT NOT TO SAY LIST (various contributors from a message board I used to frequent, not just my list)...

It wasn't meant to be.

It's probably for the best.

You can always try for another ...(you are never asked if you are going to try for another father or uncle.)

Was it something you did?

Oh well, it's not like it was a full term baby.

Children aren't everything.

Don't think about it, you're only upsetting yourself.

It's not the end of the world.

Your time will come.

Just be happy with the one(s) you have at home.

Time heals all wounds.

Just pretend you were never pregnant.

There was probably something wrong with the baby.

You're young. You have plenty of time to have another.

At least it was early.

At least now you know you can get pregnant.

There's always next time.

It was God's will.

Everything happens for a reason.

You need to get over it and move on.

I know exactly how you feel.

God doesn't give you more than you can handle.

Maybe you're not supposed to have a child.

At least you weren't attached to it yet.

It'll happen when you least expect it.

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