Review and Giveaway!
Important note: there is no ‘one right way’ to grieve, or to interpret your own loss. This giveaway challenge is specifically for the parents who have had early losses, who also feel that something has been missing in their grief journey. If you’ve ever felt you wanted to share more about your loss but didn’t, perhaps you might be encouraged by this opportunity. This challenge is certainly not meant to discredit your feelings if you are, in fact, OK with the ways you’ve shared or with your – or others’ – interpretation of your loss. It can be very scary to reach out and reveal more about ourselves or to seek to change things for other loss mothers after us, but if you have ever felt a nagging desire that things were different in your own experience, know that you aren’t alone, and we can do this together.
“Miscarriages are labor, miscarriages are birth. To consider them less dishonors the woman whose womb has held life, however briefly.”
~Kathryn Miller Ridiman, Midwifery Today 1997
Although much improvement has still to be made in regard to providing compassionate, comprehensive care to families who’ve lost children to stillbirth, even more is lacking for families who’ve experienced the loss of our children through miscarriage.
Miscarriage is quickly dismissed, even among the most pro-life, religious, and even the most compassionate of people. Why is this?
It is because of a number of things – a few of which, though, actually lay right at the responsbility of the families who’ve lost these children. That’s right – even I take responsibility.
Have you done any of the following:
- Waited to share the news of your pregnancy with others until you “knew” things would be more official? Was there a pregnancy week or developmental milestone you wanted to make sure the baby reached before sharing the news? Was it so that you didn’t have to burden people with the awkward news of taking the joy back? Was it so that, just in case things “went wrong”, you wouldn’t have to explain it to anyone? Setting up your support system by telling the good news to even just one trustworthy person places you in a position of receiving the care you deserve – in case things do “go wrong”.
- Kept the news of your miscarriage quiet? Did you move on into “silent grief” believing that others wouldn’t understand what you were enduring?
- Shared the news of your loss by saying that it was not a loss at all, but some other clinical, non-emotional event such as an “incident”, “accident” or “medical issue”?
- Shared the news of your loss by saying “I had a miscarriage”? This immediately – and very incorrectly – gives the person you are speaking with the impression that it was an event – a sudden event – that occured in the past and is now over. They do not interpret this news with nearly the amount of the emotional, spiritual or even the physical reality that takes place. Did you know that there are more validating ways to explain what happened? Try one of these instead:
- I gave birth to my miscarried baby last April.
- My miscarried baby was born last year.
- I have five children; four in the house, and one in heaven.
- I gave birth to five children – one by miscarriage.
5. Shared the news of your loss by saying “I had a stillbirth?” Particularly if you had a “late miscarriage” that was closer to the earliest stillbirth weeks (say, at 17 weeks on or so), referring to your loss as a stillbirth as opposed to a miscarriage may allow you to receive a little more of the support you deserve, but it doesn’t do anything to help out other mothers who’ve lost their children by miscarriage, and in short, you really are taking away from your own care, because it ought to align with the reality of your own unique experience.
6. Told how many children you have – without including the miscarried one(s)? Some mothers are completely confident in the truth that they gave birth to a miscarried baby without feeling reservations in not sharing it with others – and that is fine. But this challenge for this giveaway is for mothers who do feel a sting, an awkwardness, a pull to share, when they hesitantly refrain from telling others about their losses. If you’ve ever felt uncomfortable about not including the total number of children you have, perhaps now is a time to consider just trying it out.
I gave birth to my miscarried son on April 19, 2011. Stillbirthday is in fact, his legacy – because I realized in all certainty through my experience that a pregnancy loss is in fact still a birthday. It is still a birth – I labored, I prepared to meet him, and he was born. It is still a birthday – it is an event that is marked in my life annually and permanently. His birthday nears and I don’t go shopping to wrap books and toys in blue paper with green ribbons, but his stillbirthday nears and I reflect on the short time I was given with him, and what being pregnant with him meant – personally and eternally, holding his life, nurturing his tiny body as his baby heart flickered and his tiny toes developed and his tiny features changed in supernatural magnificence that only God could be the author and designer of. Yes, my son mattered, and my son matters still.
I take this challenge with my fellow sisters and friends of heartbreak – those who’ve lost children by miscarriage. Let us change the language we use and let us honor our children even better.
If you saw yourself in any of the above six examples, please, step out now and boldly proclaim that you will make a change. Leave a comment at the end of this article, sharing what you will do differently. You don’t have to go into personal details – just say “Today, I am going to (do this differently).” Those brave mothers (and fathers) who step out to determine to speak differently about our losses will be entered to win an amazing book by author Elizabeth Petrucelli. This giveaway contest will run from May 1, 2012, to May 31, 2012. The winner will be announced at our Facebook page on June 1. Please enter a valid email address.
“All That is Seen and Unseen” is a raw, intimate account of a mother facing the most important and critical crossroads of her entire life – attaining her professional dream, or, embracing the gift of new motherhood for the second time. Elizabeth – a mother and a doula – takes us through the most personal of her experiences to show us the universal truth that a pregnancy loss – at any stage – is still the death of a child.
In this book, Elizabeth shares some of her most intimate journal entries as she recounts the events that surrounded the discovery of her pregnancy, the fears she harbored, the concerns she had, and the feelings she experienced. She takes us back to her childhood and the obstacles she faced with PCOS, including depression, terrible side effects of treatment, the challenges from her insurance company, the struggles within her marriage, to, after five years of obstacles, the birth of her first son, Joey.
Elizabeth poignantly shares her most intimate thoughts through her first trimester pregnancy and loss:
Would she kill this baby with her regret?
Underneath her regret, she expresses that there was something even more pervading – fear. Fear of connecting with this baby – fear of losing this baby.
She shares about the pride and astonishment (both hers and her husbands) at the victory of obtaining a pregnancy without the use of fertility treatment.
Would the baby be able to rekindle what was lost in their marriage?
Would she be able to have the homebirth she dreamed of?
Sensing that her baby was in danger, Elizabeth desperately and passionately strived to provide her baby with everything she could to increase the likelihood of survival.
She believed others would think she was irrational if she shared her fears with them.
How would her son, Joey, handle the news of the death of his sister?
This amazing, powerful, personal book shows that a mother bonds immediately with her preborn baby, even when the mother faces a crossroads and is challenged to her core at the news of a positive pregnancy. It shows that everything about the mother’s life is impacted when she discovers she is pregnant: she makes changes to her environment, her health, her workplace, her dreams for her future – everything in her life is touched by the reality of the presence of her tiny, growing baby.
Through her pregnancy and loss experiences, Elizabeth shows us what is gained in pregnancy, and what is lost when the baby dies – even when the baby dies in the first trimester.
This book also covers:
how fathers are also immediately impacted at the news of pregnancy
the difference between grief and depression
the difference in grief reactions from men and women
the impact of grief on physical health
the challenges to marriage that pregnancy loss can bring
the impact of pregnancy, and loss, on children / older siblings
the short term and long term positives and negatives of miscarrying naturally versus giving birth via D&C
the employment / professional challenges that mothers can face from a pregnancy loss
the secret feelings that a newly bereaved loss mother may face toward herself and others
the challenges to faith that pregnancy loss can bring
the impact of pregnancy, and loss, on extended family / relatives and how they react
the importance of taking care of your emotional health through the experience of loss, including helpful tips and ideas
the emotional, spiritual, and physical long term effects of pregnancy loss
If you would like a chance to win this book, you can do so by participating in our giveaway opportunity! If you saw yourself in any of the six examples at the very top of this article, please, leave a comment below, stating the opportunity you have found today to speak differently about your pregnancy or your loss. You don’t have to go into personal details – just say “Today, I am going to (do this differently).”
“I am going to find at least one special person I can trust to share the news with about this pregnancy, even though it is early.”
“Just today, I am going to share (maybe post on my Facebook page or some other way), that I gave birth to my miscarried baby on (date).”
“Today, I am not going to say that my loss was a stillbirth, but that I gave birth via miscarriage.”
“More often, I am going to include all of my children when asked how many I have.”
“When I speak about my loss, I will utilize opportunities to validate that it was a birth and a death, not an incident or procedure.”
“I am going to (finally) tell someone that I have given birth to a miscarried baby (I’ve never told anyone about it before).” *
*Please know that stillbirthday is a safe place to share your experience. Just use our Share Your Story link for details.
Those brave mothers (and fathers) who step out to determine to speak differently and help shift the paradigm surrounding miscarriage will be entered to win this amazing book by Elizabeth Petrucelli.
This giveaway is now closed. Thank you, each of you, ladies, mothers, for sharing such intimate and important parts of your hearts. The winner is Lisa Dunn.