I hesitate to write this post because, full disclosure, I have people in my life who are pregnant right now, and I didn’t want them to feel like I was singling them out or directing this post towards them in any way. But, coincidentally, I’ve had a lot of conversations with friends who are in the trenches of pregnancy loss and infertility who are met with this dilemma (without even knowing my own situation), and the conversations that I’ve had with them have been so helpful, eye-opening, and uplifting that I feel like I want to share.
Because it’s not normal to hear that a new, precious life is coming into this world and respond to it with grief. And we, as the women of pregnancy loss, get that. We want to be happy. We want to feel nothing but joy and excitement for what is coming. But sometimes that is difficult because it means that time is moving on, and it’s a reminder that our precious babies are not here with us. And we wonder if we will ever get to experience this same joy.
So, here are some things that I’ve learned from conversations with others as well as through my own journey.
- It’s okay to not be okay. I feel like there is this desire to just get over it and “act normal” for those people we love and care about. But being honest with yourself and with your friends and family is paramount to your health and the health of your relationships
- It’s okay to have boundaries. You do not have to go to that baby shower. You do not have to inundate yourself with social media pictures and updates of belly shots. You already know at least some of your limitations, and communicating that to people who love you will help in the long run
- It’s okay to challenge yourself. But even if you don’t go to that baby shower, I challenge you to still get them a gift or send them a card. I would invite you to pray for them, or even ask them for specific prayers about their pregnancy. Don’t just lock yourself away from everything, because there is a baby coming, and that is something to be excited about.
- It’s okay to seek help. I see a therapist. I have since about 10 months after my first daughter died. I found a therapist that specializes in pregnancy and infant loss, having experienced it herself, but that may not always be available in your area. Try at least one session. Or at the very, very least find a good, supportive forum. There are private Facebook groups and groups on several sites where women go for support. They have been helpful to me on advice as well.
Dear pregnant friends, please be patient with us. We are not going to go about this perfectly. We may mess up and say the wrong thing or have a response to something that you weren’t expecting. Know that we love you and we love this sweet new little one coming into the world. We are just terrified of our own grief at times, at the unexpectedness of it all. I’ve had reactions to milestones in other people’s pregnancies that I had no idea would affect me so much.
I am pretty lucky to have very aware friends and family who have supported me over the last four years of our pregnancy loss journey. But I know that this isn’t true for a lot of women in my life, and I wanted to reach out and let them know that they are not alone.