Category Archives: Stacey

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Don’t Give Up

This year I’ve been somewhat quiet about what’s happening in my personal life. I posted at the beginning of the year about my frustration with trying to get pregnant again. Only a few weeks later, I discovered I was expecting again. Because it’s always been a struggle to get pregnant, this was a huge surprise.

The last week in November we welcomed our little girl. It was a rough pregnancy with many complications, and we were in the NICU for a week after the birth. Despite all the anxiety and fear that something would go wrong, we made it and we have our pot of gold (a baby born after a rainbow baby).

As you go into the new year, wherever you are in your journey, I hope you’ll be able to look forward with hope. This time last year I was so overwhelmed with the thought of starting our journey to have another child. I always seem to be that statistic, that 1% that struggles. You never know when you’ll be in that 99% normal. Even those of us who have known loss can have our expectations realized.

Category : Stacey , Volunteer Bloggers


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5 Things You Should Know About My Mom Life Post-Loss

Being just over 20 months into this whole parenting thing, I’m discovering that my journey looks somewhat different from some of my friends. For a mom who hasn’t had to endure loss, it’s sometimes hard to understand why I do some of the things I do. On the surface I’m a pretty normal mom, but there are a few ways my losses affect the way I am as a parent.

1. I still miss them on a daily basis, it’s just not all consuming.

For a while after my losses, my entire world was colored by it. My heart and body ached. It hurt to get up without them, and life felt so hopeless. Having a living child to care for has helped give me meaning and purpose, and life is so busy now I’ve been forced to let go of that all consuming pain. But, I still miss them each day in little ways.

2. One of the biggest hurts is knowing the world will never know them.

One of the things I enjoy most with my son is going out and introducing him to people. He’s so outgoing and has such a sweet disposition, it makes my mom heart swell with satisfaction when people have a chance to appreciate him for being his wonderful self. On the flip side, it makes me mourn the fact that I have three children no one will ever meet. They never had a chance to leave their own legacy.

3. I still keep track of the milestones like their ages and where they’d be in life.

As time moves on, milestones become fewer and far between. I still track them. I use their due dates as birthdates (all my babies were lost in the first trimester, and it feels so sad to celebrate those dates) and keep tabs on their ages. My oldest would have started school this year, and would have celebrated his sixth birthday a couple months ago. My other two would be turning five and four in November.

4. My family will always feel a little incomplete.

Parenting has made me feel so complete as a person, while highlighting how incomplete my family is. All those empty years of loss, when it should have been so full of love! I’ve spent the better part of a decade either being pregnant or recovering from pregnancy, and sometimes my family looks a bit too small to me.

5. I hate having to answer how many kids I have.

I never know what to say. It’s complicated to most the world. Some people don’t count my children as real because they didn’t make it out of the first trimester. Some people get really uncomfortable finding out I had babies that died. To me it’s so simple, I loved my three children as soon as I learned they existed and they count. Sometimes people struggle to understand that.

Wherever you are in your journey, loss is hard. I consider myself so fortunate to hold my rainbow and discover life with him. It doesn’t take away the pain of the babies I’ve lost, and sometimes having a living child only highlights more the tragedy that child loss is.

Category : Stacey , Volunteer Bloggers


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It Happened To Me, Too

As the month of June closes, I’m left feeling gratitude towards the men in my life. I follow several pregnancy loss pages on my social medias, and have had the opportunity to read articles and essays by men and their view on pregnancy loss. It has been an eye opening experience.

I’m so grateful to my husband, and his unwavering support through our journey. He’s cried with me, taken care of me, and celebrated our victories. I also know he’s felt deeply by our losses, and often had to put his feelings aside as he supported me with my struggles during our losses.

I hope as a society, as we open up and shatter the taboo of pregnancy and infant loss, we can reach out to the men struggling through these losses with us. For them, it’s often a more quiet despair, as they don’t have a lot of the physical trauma women endure. They’re often overlooked as loved ones express concern for the mother, or assume a man won’t be as emotionally touched by this sort of thing.

I think a popular tv drama got it right in one of their episodes. As a couple argues after receiving news about an impending miscarriage, the woman exclaims that “it happened to me, it didn’t happen to you.” Her partner responds by revealing some of his feelings and reiterating that he will be her support system while she goes through this, but says that while it didn’t happen to his body, “it happened to me, too.”

Women tend to be the public face of child loss. A Phil Collins song has a line that says “no words describe a mother’s tears,” and we as a culture are beginning to understand that. Let’s not forget the men who are also affected, because it happened to them, too.

Category : Stacey , Volunteer Bloggers


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Starting Over

My husband and I decided to start trying for another baby at the beginning of the year. I’ve said over and over to myself that it took us five years and three losses for us to have our son, so patience is a definite must. I’ve been dragging my feet to track my cycles, buy those pesky OPKs, and even lose the last bit of weight I know I’ll need to lose to increase our chances. I guess I’m hoping it will happen without me even having to think about it.

The truth is, I’m not that kind of woman. Having a baby was not (and I don’t think it ever will be) a fun, easy thing. Conception is a painful battle, as was each of my pregnancies. It was a disappointing journey that often made me feel isolated and like a failure. But, it was definitely worth every last bit of struggle for the little boy I finally got to bring home.

At least this time around I know exactly what I’m struggling for. With every negative test and Facebook pregnancy announcement that has me feeling like I’m being left behind, I can remind myself that it will all be worth it. It might not happen on my time table, but that doesn’t mean it will never happen. So, I’m starting over. I’m voluntarily re-doing the most painful stage of my life, with the hope it will all work out.

Category : Stacey , Volunteer Bloggers


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How to Support a Mom During Loss

I’ve had three miscarriages. One in January 2012, one in April 2013, and my last one in March 2014. This time of year always causes a lot of thought and reflection for me. A lot of the intense pain has slowly worn away, and I can spend more time focusing on the few good memories I have from those experiences. Many of those memories are of what others did to support me during my losses. As I’ve talked about my miscarriages through the years, one thing that comes up frequently is how unsure women who haven’t experienced losing a child become when someone they know goes through that trauma.

Each person grieves differently, and I always recommend just asking if you don’t know how to respond. I’ve never come across a mom who became offended when asked how they can best be supported. That’s a fantastic way to provide some personalized care. But, if you’re looking for ideas here’s a short list of what has helped me, or other moms I know.

Flowers

After my last miscarriage, I had a mom drop by with a bouquet of flowers. It was so unexpected and sweet! My second loss required a last minute D&C, and the day after while I was recovering a flower delivery showed up from my parents (who lived completely across the country). It may seem like such a little thing, or somewhat pointless, but when you’re facing the ugliness that is child loss, you need all the beautiful things you can surround yourself with.

Meals

This is so huge! It wasn’t until my third miscarriage that someone thought to bring food for us. I can’t even begin to convey what a relief it was to have that little chore handled for me. As I mentioned above, one of my losses did require a surgical procedure and short recovery period. Figuring out how to feed ourselves was just an added stress during an already chaotic time.

Acknowledge the Child

I’ve had people close to me out right refuse to acknowledge I lost a baby. I can’t begin to describe how devastating that is. My losses hurt so much because I lost a person I loved, even if I didn’t get to see or meet them. I care for them fiercely. One of the greatest tragedies about pregnancy loss is that these children are already very much invisible. Saying their name or acknowledging there was a child makes a momma’s heart so happy.

Babysitting

My losses occurred before I had children at home, so this is something I’ve heard other women talk about. It’s something I’ve worried about as we’ve made the decision to try for another after our rainbow. Having the time to grieve privately is so vital in the process of healing. It’s so hard to be there for others when you’re recovering from both an emotional and often physical trauma. Plus, children so often pick up on these deeply emotional events no matter what their age. It provides a greatly needed distraction for the kids, and space for the mom.

Memorial Keepsakes

Do this! Please! All my losses were during my 1st trimester. All of them were discovered at my first ultrasound, and only one technician gave me a printout. Unfortunately, during one of my fits of grief I tossed that picture. All I have is a box of medical bracelets as tangible proof these children existed. They are so precious to me! I promise, anything you give as a memorial will be cherished.

There’s so much more that can be done, and each mom and situation is so unique. Hopefully you got some ideas on how to offer your support. If you’re a mom who received some love during your loss, I’d love to hear about it.

Category : Stacey , Volunteer Bloggers


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The Paranoia

I’m coming up on a year since welcoming my son. It’s been a beautiful, almost fairytale-like year. So perfect, I often find myself looking over my shoulder waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s something I assumed would go away after some time. Maybe it would take a bit longer because of his illness shortly after birth, but I was so sure it would go away. Somewhere over the last few months, though, I’ve begun to accept that this is part of my parenting journey. And after everything I’ve been through to get here, why wouldn’t it be?

Many women who experience loss often talk about feeling like a different person. It’s a phenomenon I think about often as I try to explain to myself why I struggle so much with things that used to be so easy. As a child and young adult I was so carefree and confident. I felt so invincible. Now I second guess which brand of yogurt to give my son. I’m sure all moms do this to an extent, but these decisions paralyze me at times. The what-ifs add up and I feel like I’m buried alive before we’ve even had breakfast.

Just the other night my dog stopped at the door of my son’s room and spent a minute sniffing before heading off to her bed down the hall. Not too alarming, but because she had never done this before, and because I’m a paranoid mom, my mind was immediately going over each crisis scenario. Maybe he was sick or not breathing, and she had picked up on it through smell. Maybe the air in his room was toxic. Or maybe someone had snuck in through his window. I even had visions of lethal insects and snakes making their way to his crib. I tried to tell myself to calm down, he’d probably just dragged food from dinner into his room with him that night. But I was riding the crazy train of what-ifs, and there was no stopping it. So, I woke him up and inspected his room by nightlight while rocking him back to sleep.

This was no where near the first time I’ve disturbed my son’s sleeping for peace of mind. In fact, I often think he wakes up so frequently because I’ve trained him to. It makes me wonder what other odd habits he’ll develop because I’m so paranoid. I feel bad for him. I’m the definition of a “smother” at times. I’ve become so ridiculously superstitious and cautious, even I have to roll my eyes at myself sometimes.

So, I’ve accepted that I’m a bit paranoid about things I shouldn’t be, and it will probably remain that way. I’ll probably have to check on him at night for years to come. Anything just slightly out of the ordinary will send me in to crisis mode, and my imagination will run wild. I’ll get eye rolls, and sighs, and be told I’m so embarrassing. Hopefully he won’t resent me for it, but maybe he will. When he’s older I’ll explain why his mom wakes up in a cold sweat worrying about the most useless things. It comes with the territory of parenting after loss.

Category : Stacey , Volunteer Bloggers


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5 Ways I Observed PAIL Awareness Month 2017 Differently

I’ve been observing Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) awareness month since 2012, which makes this October my 6th one. Each year I’ve done things a little differently; a few years I participated in photo challenges, I went to a memorial event with a friend a couple years ago, one year I hid in bed most the month, and last year I white-knuckled my way through the month just holding on until I could safely hold my rainbow. I always knew if I made it through to my rainbow, observing PAIL awareness would be different. I just had no clue what it would look like. Now that we’re towards the end of the month, here’s five ways my October was different because I’m a loss mom with a living child.

1. I felt guilty/like an imposter

It was a rough month in terms of guilt. I know several mothers who lost children this year, and in some instances I just didn’t know what to do. This has been the happiest year of my life. Having a baby and routine has been cathartic for me. I no longer struggle with the complex feelings of failure brought on by recurrent miscarriage, and for the most part I’ve accepted and am at peace with how my previous pregnancies ended. How do stand with so many other bereaved mothers while I have so much joy in my heart? For the first time I felt like maybe I just didn’t fit in, and it was weird.

2. I reached out to support

In previous years I’ve reached out to women for support. I desperately needed to know I wasn’t alone, and that other women had experienced happy endings. I was terrified I’d never be a mom, much less carry to term successfully. I posted all over social media hoping to hear from women who had been where I was. This year, I was more passive about my posting. Instead, I sat back and read what others were saying. I’d comment my words of encouragement and hope. Where I felt it was appropriate, I used my son’s picture as proof that loss isn’t the end of everything, and that life can continue alongside the grief.

3. I wondered about the future

In past years, the future was this gaping, uncertain, black hole. It was a concept that stressed me and brought me to tears. This month I sat down and seriously thought about what my future might look like. I’d like to try for more kids, and I know that I have a higher risk for miscarrying future pregnancies. It makes me extremely sad to think about losing any more, but having experienced what it’s like to have a rainbow baby gives me strength to face that fact. I may experience loss again. It will be heartbreaking, and I’ll grieve just as much as I did for my previous three. But this time, I know how strong I am.

4. I forgot to light my candles

I almost didn’t want to type this, because I feel horrible… but I forgot to light my candles on October 15 during the wave of light. I had it in my calendar, and I had my three candles ready to go (a large beeswax candle and two scented soy tea lights) and I missed it. It had been a rough day, my son had been somewhat crabby, and I decided to put on a movie with my family and stretch out on the couch. When it was over, I realized it was after 8 pm and my candles had never been lit. I think, though, that this goes to show that loss makes way for life to continue. All day I had been thinking of my three little ones and lighting candles for them. I even took the time to carefully pick out which candles I wanted to use and get them ready. I may have forgotten the day, the time, and the act of lighting those candles, but I certainly didn’t forget my children that day.

5. I cried

This one is a bit of a cheat, as I’ve cried every October since I lost my first. My due dates were in September and November. With October being right in the middle, it’s a tough time of year and I tend to feel a lot of self pity. This October, I didn’t cry for myself. I did cry for other parents who are experiencing the pain I went through, and who are still on the path to healing. I cried for my son, who barely has a connection to his older siblings. This year I was able to look beyond myself and feel empathy for others. After 6 years of being so hurt, and so focused on my own pain, it was a freeing experience to feel for others.

Right now, I’m in a really great place. I understand grief and life are fluid, and next year may not be like this. Loss has taught me to be gentle with myself when I struggle, and to fully take advantage of the times I’m doing well. I hope I’ve been able to take the kindness and support shown to me throughout past Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness months and pay it forward.

Category : Stacey , Volunteer Bloggers


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If you've come to this blog, it likely means you have suffered a pregnancy loss of some type. We are so sorry you have found yourself here, but hope the stories of life after loss can help you on your road to healing and recovery. Remember, we are all in this together!

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