October is a month filled with many things. It is the conclusion of Hispanic Heritage Month. It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is the month where Fall usually feels like Fall and Halloween is anticipated by many children. It is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This particular topic is one that can be especially difficult to talk about. There are no words to describe the feeling of losing a baby and no words to ease the grief and pain that comes with this kind of loss. No one ever prepares you to lose a child, and usually, it is a loss that one does not see coming. I could sit here and give you statistics, but let’s be real, that’s not very comforting or helpful for most of us. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate statistics, but that is not going to change the situation or how I feel about what happened.
Grieving the loss of a pregnancy and the loss of a baby are very difficult and can be a complicated process. Grief in and of itself is a complicated and painful process because grief is not linear. In general, I think we as humans tend to like things to go in order and step by step. Unfortunately, that is not how grief works. Sure, we may feel the anger and depression and anxiety that comes with it, and we might even get to a point of acceptance, but sooner or later, familiar feelings come back. I tend to think of grief in “waves”. Some days, the waves are shorter in height and more manageable. Other days, the waves are ginormous and strong and knocks the breath out of you. And then there are days where the waves come out of nowhere and knocks you off your feet, disorienting you and making you question whether or not this is really happening or has really happened.
While there is no “one size fits all” approach to grieving your baby and the hopes and dreams you had for them, there are a few ways to cope with the wide range of emotions that may come up:
Journaling- Journaling can be a helpful tool to just get out what you’re thinking and feeling without any judgment. Sometimes, we just need to process our thoughts without necessarily talking them out loud. To just get them out in the moment and that’s it.
Talking to someone- This can be a friend, a therapist, a church member, or any support you can think of. While journaling can be very beneficial, it can also be helpful to share what you’re thinking and feeling to someone else. For me personally, this was difficult in that it made everything 100 times more real, but it has been helpful talking it out and verbalizing my own experience and feelings.
Making a memory box or scrapbook- I am honestly thankful that I took pictures and that I have memories that I can look back on. Making a memory box or scrapbook can be helpful in the healing process, as it can be helpful to reflect back to this important moment in time.
Joining a support group- Sometimes, it helps to be around those who have gone through similar situations as you, especially as a grieving parent. It’s almost comforting to relate to someone else who has been through this and knows what you might be feeling. It can also be helpful to talk about and process things when you know that others around you have gone through a similar situation.
Reading- This is another way one can connect to someone who has gone through a similar situation and/or to your spiritual life. This can be a book or devotional or another person’s story.
Praying/Meditating- Whatever this looks like for you, praying and/or meditation can be helpful in reflection and in connecting to your spiritual life. Personally, prayer has been a lifeline for me and a way for me to connect my experience to my beliefs.
Grieving a pregnancy and baby can feel overwhelming and so can the emotions that come with this tragic situation. Again, there is no “one size fits all” to healing, but I hope that by reading this, you know that you are not alone and that there are others with you who have gone through this, too. While each person’s journey is their own and different from another’s journey, we can hold space for one another and remember the babies we have lost. Day by day, step by step, moment by moment.