Grief is personal, and it is experienced differently for each person. It's processed in stages, and just when you feel you've made it through one stage, you might find yourself back tracking.
I learned this in 2011 when my husband and I were at our 12 week prenatal checkup. We were told our baby had passed away at 8 weeks. I'd had a missed miscarriage.
At first, I was okay with the news. Deep down, I had known the pregnancy wouldn’t make it to term. Later, I learned I was in shock. A few weeks later the shock wore off, and I experienced a roller coaster ride of emotions. Sometimes, when I thought I was done with one stage of grief, I found myself right back at the beginning of it.
About 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage, and each of them will grieve in their own way. Some will find it easy to move on. Some, like me, might have a harder time with that – and that is okay.
I didn’t think I would ever get to a place where I wouldn’t not constantly think of our Angel Baby. I didn’t think I would ever stop crying. I didn’t think I would be able to look at my friends, who were pregnant and had due dates close to mine, without feeling resentment and anger.
I realized just how far I’ve come when a picture of my husband and me popped up on my Facebook memories a few weeks ago. It was taken in Mexico, when I was about 10 weeks pregnant with G. I specifically wanted to be out of town on September 6 – our Angel Baby’s due date.
I still don’t fully understand why I felt the need to leave the country. I was grieving. I was also experiencing undiagnosed perinatal anxiety, which made me a bit irrational. I just knew that I needed to leave, so we did. Even in the years that followed, September 6 was a hard date for me.
But this year Facebook showed me my memory from Mexico and it dawned on me that September 6 came and went. It had been a day, just like the day before and the ones after.
And I realized: I’ve come a long way.
In 1988, President Regan proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I had no idea this was a thing until my husband stumbled across information about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day when he was looking for more information on miscarriages.
I don’t recall any memes or quotes being shared on Facebook that first October after our loss. But in the years following, I’ve seen more and more people share them, raising awareness of Pregnancy and Infant Loss.I know for some, simply sharing a post has been their way of saying, “Me too.” And I know for others, seeing those images helps them see that they are not alone.
On October 15, I’ll be lighting a candle at 7pm for the Wave of Light, as a way to remember our Angel Baby and my journey – and to honor those who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. If everyone lights a candle at 7pm and keeps it burning for at least an hour, there will be a continuous wave of light over the entire world on October 15.
I blogged a lot as a way to work through my grief after my miscarriage. Re-reading some of the posts I had written on past Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Days made me see that each year, I was in a better place. If you’re interested, you can follow the links below to each post: