To the Mom who’s Lost a Child.
It was the sheer amount of blood that took her breath away.
She knew right away that her baby was gone, yet it didn’t quite register. It was just the bright red blood, pouring down the drain as she showered. The blood that spattered over the floor, the toilet, the walls… she put one hand against the wall of the shower and numbly, almost detached, watched the bright red swirls go down the drain.
She lay exhausted on the bed, uncaring, and fell asleep. Waking only to change the towel under her body, and sleeping again. So much blood.
Miscarriage is a devastating loss.
But one that isn’t spoken out loud. How do you describe missing someone you’ve never met? How do you grieve a possibility?
It was the silence after the beeping that shook her.
She knew right away that her baby was gone, yet it didn’t quite register. It was just quiet. The monitors, the machines, were silent. She stood there, unsure of what to do next. Someone touched her arm, her back, but she barely felt it. It was so quiet.
She lay exhausted, on the bed, dry-eyed. The quietness was so loud, she couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t move. So quiet.
A stillborn child, or child that dies shortly after birth is a crushing loss.
But one that is rarely publicized. How can you share the sound of the quiet, when there should be noise? How do you grieve something so wrong?
Mothers shouldn’t bury their children.
We don’t know what to say to a mom who has lost a child. What can you say?
It’s not your fault.
It feels like it is, right? Your body couldn’t support that baby, or you did something wrong to cause this.
You failed. Right?
It’s not your fault. It’s a quirk of the genetics, it was chance.
You’re allowed to cry.
There’s no shame in missing someone you never met, never got to meet, or only knew for a few minutes. They were a part of you. They are a part of you. You’re allowed to grieve.
Don’t listen to the well-meaning cliché, “You’ll have another baby.”
There’s no timeline on how long you get to grieve. And while you may have another baby, this one is important too. You may have only been a few weeks into your pregnancy, but that is your child. You’re allowed to grieve that loss.
You can sit there and be sad and think about your babies.
Everyone grieves differently. If you want to sit and miss them, it’s ok. You can do that.
If you want to go out and talk about them, find a friend willing to listen, and talk about them.
If you don’t want to talk about it at all, that’s ok too.
Maybe if more of us talked about our losses, we wouldn’t feel ashamed or scared.
You aren’t alone.
We all know the statistic – one in four women experience miscarriage. Chances are, you know someone who has miscarried, and just hasn’t said so. It’s not an easy topic to bring up. You may not be ready to bring it up. That’s ok. Just know you aren’t alone.
Just because you’ve lost a child doesn’t mean you aren’t a mother.
If you’ve miscarried your baby, and you don’t have any other children, you’re still a mother.
If you’ve lost a child to birth defect, disease, or accident, you’re still a mother. That child is yours.
If you’ve got 2 other children, and lost a child, you are a mother of 3. Or however many you have.
Your loss doesn’t negate the existence of that child. They are a real person, and you are a real mother.
Your loss is real.
And it’s ok to dislike being around other pregnant women.
If all you see around you are reminders of what you’ve lost, it’s ok to not like that! It’s normal. It’s natural! Don’t feel guilty for it. Politely excuse yourself, when it’s too much to handle.
Dear grieving mother, there’s no one right way to deal with your loss. There’s no timeline on it either.
It’s ok. You may never be the same again, and that’s ok too.
To the mom who’s lost a child… there are no words I can write that will make it better.
But I see you, I hear you, I feel you. I understand.
Sarah Wall is a single, homeschooling mom of 6 in southwestern Ontario, Canada. She works from home as a virtual assistant, running her own business, XeraSupport. You can read her personal blog at RaisingRoyalty.ca