Mamas on Bedrest: Honoring Our Precious Souls in Heaven

September 7th, 2012

I have lost two pregnancies.

The first was on June 25, 2001 at just 6 weeks. The second was on November 1, 2004 at just shy of 10 weeks. By all accounts the pregnancies were not going to be viable, and each “fetal demise” occurred before 12 weeks. Yet, in my mind, I have lost two children and no one can convince me otherwise.

I realize that my early losses pale in comparison to mamas who have lost children much later in their pregnancies, at birth or shortly after birth. But a loss is a loss it must be honored.

There are no words to describe losing a child. It is a gut wrenching experience and one that you never forget. Even though I had my “children” for only a few short weeks each, for each precious soul I had hopes, dreams, ideas and plans. To have those hopes and dreams abruptly end was devastating.

The one thing that I regret with my losses is that I never properly mourned them. Because my losses were so early on, people tended to view them as insignificant. I was told things like,

“Well, it wasn’t really a baby yet” or

“Obviously it wasn’t meant to be, so be thankful that it didn’t progress and that you didn’t end up with a handicapped or deformed child.”

While I wholeheartedly acknowledge that people were trying, in their very uneducated and ill-equipped way to put a positive spin on my situation, yet their words stung and only further depressed me. I now realize in hindsight that I had post partum depression (most notably after my second loss), and my struggle to simply cope lead to my husband and I just never mentioning the loss at all. To this day, we have never discussed the losses of our children and the impact that it had on each of our individual lives and on our relationship and family.

Mourning the loss of a child-regardless of the (gestational) age-is one of THE most difficult things a mama may ever do. But it is hugely important to recognize that child. What I didn’t know at the time of my losses and what was never offered to me was support for my loss. There are numerous agencies and organizations that support parents grieving the loss of a child. Because I lost my children so early and because of many of the comments I received, I didn’t feel that I had a right to mourn the loss of my babies. But no matter how early or late your loss, you have the right and the need to grieve and mourn.  Below are but a few organizations that I know of that support pregnancy and infant loss. This list is by no means exhaustive, but if you have experienced a loss and need help with grief, you can at least start here.

Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc. The mission of Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc. is to serve those whose lives are touched by the tragic death of a baby through pregnancy loss, stillbirth or in the first few months of life. The secondary purpose of Share is to provide information, education, and resources on the needs and rights of bereaved parents and siblings, enabling more effective family and community support.

Remembering Our Babies October 15th-Remembering Our Babies provides support, education and awareness for those suffering from a miscarriage, a still birth, or the loss of an infant.

Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort-Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort was created in response to the reality that some pregnancies do not end happily. Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort is a place for women to feel comfortable looking for real, physical comfort, herbal remedies and spiritual nurturing, as well as a space to find resources, honor their grief and express their loss. It is also a place for those looking to support someone who has lost a baby.

Before I close, I want to draw particular attention to the organization, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. This organization provides photographs of the precious souls that have gone on to heaven for their parents and loved ones.

When I first learned about this organization, my initial thought was, “Eeeww!” But parents with whom I have spoken who have utilized the service say that having a photo of their child, naming the child and acknowledging the life of the child-however short-helped them tremendously! The photographs are exquisitely done and the parents may choose photos of the child alone or photos holding the child. For so many parents, having the opportunity to hold their child and have a family photo is priceless and solidifies the child as a member of the family. While this resource may not be for everyone, those families I’ve spoken to who have utilized the service say that the tangible memory that they now have of their child is priceless.

Pregnancy loss is a heartbreaking reality for many couples. But it is not something that should be passed over or minimized. That child, that soul, was a part of you and came into you life for a reason. The reason may not be immediately clear and most certainly the loss may never make sense to you, but there is a reason. It is important that you honor yourselves as parents and honor, in whatever way is best for you, the life of your child.

September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month and we’re celebrating the lives of our “Precious Souls in Heaven”

I”ll Hold You In Heaven By Jack Hayford A great book for grieving Parents.

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