sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Alyssa DiCrasto
I have never been pregnant, so I admittedly cannot comprehend the pain that accompanies losing a child in the womb. But, most of the important women in my life are mothers who lost precious little ones during their pregnancies, so this issue is very close to my heart.
When I was 14, my parents wanted to have another child so my sister, who was 2 years old at the time, would have someone to grow up with. The whole family, all seven of us, was so excited for the new baby because we needed a new little nugget to spoil. But one Sunday, my mom became very sick and had to go to the hospital.
Through hushed tones, my brothers and I learned that something was wrong with the baby. It was the next day when my dad finally got the strength to tell us that the baby had died.
I have an image burned into my memory of my mother closing her bedroom door with tear-soaked cheeks. This was a very unsettling sight for me, a girl who had never before seen her incredibly strong mother cry bitter tears.
Of course, this experience was hard for all of us, but after that day, my mom never talked about the miscarriage, except to tell us that she had named the baby Jaimie. She mourned in silence, behind closed doors. That was the kind of mourning that made sense for her, and that was okay.
My mom has since told me that when she lost Jaimie, so many women confided in her that they had also lost pregnancies. My mother was exposed to a community she hadn’t known existed before her miscarriage. This community helped her cope.
For the longest time, I thought this kind of grieving was the norm for women when they had a miscarriage: they would cry, name the baby, talk to other women, and move on in silence. Although this is true for some, each woman grieves differently, and they should be able to grieve the way they need to.
When my brother and his wife became pregnant, I was the first person he called with the news, but they lost their first baby, Oliver, at 16 weeks. My heart ached for them and their situation: a young, freshly-married couple who had lost their dreams when they lost Oliver.
Sadly, I did not know how to help them. I thought that my sister-in-law would need the same things that my mom did a few years prior: space and quiet. You can imagine my shock when she was not only very open about her miscarriage but also very vocal about it. It seemed to me like she wanted the whole world to know the pain she was going through.
I struggled with what words to say, and for some reason, I had it in my mind that I had to say something because she was saying so much. To my shame, I probably said something to the effect of, “You still have time for your family, it just wasn’t your time yet.”
When they became pregnant again, I was thrilled for them. The timing seemed right, but they lost their second beautiful baby a few weeks after their announcement, and within the next year, they lost a third baby.
With each loss, my sister-in-law became more and more vocal, grieving loudly. But by the third loss, I realized that this was how she needed to cope. She needed to grieve loudly to make her loss feel real and so that others would know her loss was real.
There were absolutely no words that I or anyone else could ever say that would make their pain right. All they needed from me was to know that I took their loss seriously and felt their pain deeply and that I would be there to listen when they needed to talk.
To this day, my sister-in-law is a champion for miscarriage awareness. She often tells people that miscarriages never “happen for a reason,” but instead were never supposed to happen in the first place. Losing a baby is unnatural and wrong, but most importantly, miscarriages are not any less of a loss than the loss of other human life.
My sister-in-law grieved very differently than my mother had, but both were able to move on despite the people who tried to “help.” We’ve not forgotten any of our lost babies, but these incredible women taught me that everyone grieves differently. The best thing we can do for loved ones experiencing early pregnancy loss is to treat it as a real loss and let them know they’re justified in mourning whatever way they need to.
Alyssa DiCrasto is a Digital Marketing Content Creator at webSURGE