Grieving the Loss of a Baby
By Liz Anderson
When we talk about pregnancy, it’s often done in a certain light, one that softly shines on the excitement and joy that come along with expecting a baby. But for so many families, the beauty of pregnancy intersects with the experiences of trauma, grief, and loss.
Mother-Wise, a Lakeport-based nonprofit that supports mothers, wants to spotlight these experiences, especially during October, which is Pregnancy and Early Infant Loss Month.
Our goal is to normalize the pregnancy and birth stories that include circumstances such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. We see it as an opportunity for us to be more inclusive in how we talk about pregnancy, to bring light to the more difficult aspects of motherhood, and to honor the stories of families who have experienced loss.
In our effort to support grieving moms, we asked Lake County parents to share their experiences with early infant loss. Here is Megan’s story:
The first time I got pregnant I was 22, and I suffered a miscarriage. To say I was devastated is an understatement. I felt that I had failed my partner and myself. About a month later we conceived again with fraternal twins. This time I lost just one twin but had a normal healthy pregnancy with my oldest son. Around Christmas in 2019 I learned I was pregnant again. I was excited because my partner and I had been trying for two years for a baby. In the middle of January I started bleeding heavily and went to the hospital. When the doctor came in to speak with me, he told me the words no mother ever wants to hear—for a third time. I had lost the baby. The heartbreak that you feel when they inform you of your loss is one that you will feel for a lifetime. In August of 2020 I got a positive pregnancy test and went on to have a healthy pregnancy and delivered my second rainbow baby on Easter 2021. I am forever grateful for the two boys that I have.
Stories like Megan’s are more common than we may realize. In fact, one in four pregnancies results in miscarriage. Parents are invited to share their own stories of infant loss on the Facebook page of Mother-Wise Lake County. In addition, the Global Wave of Light ceremony will be held on October 15 at 7 p.m. At this time, everyone is invited to light a candle and burn it for one hour, in remembrance of all the pregnancies and babies lost too soon.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with pregnancy or early infant loss, or is facing mental health challenges related to the perinatal period, Mother-Wise can help. For more information, visit: facebook.com/motherwiselakecounty or mother-wise.org.
Liz Anderson works for Mother-Wise Lake County in Lakeport.