I was up around 330am this morning…this is not new for me…and I’m not complaining…especially now that I don’t commute into the city for work. I don’t have that “oh no, I have to be up, nicely dressed, and on a train in just a few hours” reaction. Phew. #pajamasallday
I grabbed my phone and began to scroll (not a healthy early morning habit, I know). I saw the post about Chrissy and John and their baby boy, Jack. Like many others, my heart aches for them reading the news. I looked at the raw pictures. I’ve read many comments since then on their story…and some of them are so negative. Are people more negative lately? Are there more trolls active than ever? Or, am I just gravitating to those comments? I don’t know. But because of this I feel compelled to share something today…
I remember vividly the days leading up to our loss – when we learned about our son’s fatal anomalies…I was shocked. I liken it to hell on earth. I felt so isolated. Like an alien. What was a miracle baby story (much like Chrissy and John’s son; conceived naturally, not through IVF) was suddenly taking a terrible, life altering turn. How could this be? What did I do wrong? I really felt like I must have done something terribly wrong for things to turn out this way. It’s an isolating experience. There were nights that all I could do was lay in bed with Nick and cry.
I will always be grateful for a small group of people who showed up for me during this time. People who had walked a similar path. Suddenly, I had a lifeline. Someone who could give me some sense of what to expect.
Did you know your milk comes in (even if you lose a baby before 24 weeks, I was 21)? I had no idea. But I was able to somewhat prepare myself for both the physical and emotion pain of my milk coming in despite not bringing a baby home. Sports bra, ace bandage wrap, and laying in bed for a few days until my milk went away. In some ways, I felt like my body failed me, failed us, but in others, it was as though it was still going through the natural motions. It’s maddening.
Did you know that you have to decide end of life/death care? I know, horrible to think about. You can gasp and say “I couldn’t imagine.” But this is life, it can be so cruel and suddenly you need to make these types of decisions. Decisions you’d rather never think about but sometimes you have to. Thankfully, I had some preparation for this – to be prepared to sign our son’s name on funeral home paperwork, to decide how we wanted to handle his remains. It’s horrible to even type about. But again, this is life. We decided to cremate our son, Charlie. Everything was handled by a very compassionate funeral home. As some of you may know, we waited a few months and then on what would have been Charlie’s due date, we spread his ashes at the beach near our home. There is no right or wrong way to handle these things. Everyone’s situation is unique. But I can tell you, if there is someone you can talk to who gets it, it makes a huge huge difference.
Why am I sharing all this? Because, I was hurt by the fact that Chrissy and her husband have received such negativity for sharing these raw moments. This type of thing happens every day. It’s awful. But to me, it’s important to talk about these things so others can feel less alone. I hope all the love and support that exists out there for them is all they feel right now. They deserve only compassion. As a fellow “loss parent,” I thank them for their strength and willingness to share their story. I will say a prayer for them and their precious son, Jack.
Link to some resources:
- I learned of this organization earlier this year– I didn’t know about it when we went through our loss – but want to share with others. http://www.emptyarmsbereavement.org
- Another local support group resource: http://www.hopefulconnections.com/index.php/support-groups/
- I also found Facebook groups and individuals on Instagram who have been such a support; you can search certain keywords/hashtags such as: infantloss, tfmr, pregnancyloss, stillbirth, miscarriage etc.