No matter how many books you read, how much help you receive from friends and family, or how much unsolicited advice you end up taking from total strangers, you’re never really prepared to become a parent. But when you experience a loss, either while pregnant or shortly afterward, you’re acutely aware that not only are there things people don't tell you about parenthood, there are things no one tells you about losing a baby, too. From the moment you realize you’re losing your baby, to the days, months, and years that follow, your life tailspins into a grief so all encompassing, it’s a wonder so many of us are still standing. And, worst of all, it’s such a taboo subject that makes others feel so uncomfortable, you often find yourself suffering alone and in silence.
Stigma from baby loss (either from miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, or one of the many other complications) is such a monumental problem that leave far too many parents scared or embarrassed to seek the mental and emotional help they so desperately need (and, honestly, deserve). It’s also the reason why I make the choice to be so vocal about my own child loss. Before I lost my daughter to prematurity, I didn’t even know that people could lose a baby in such a heartbreaking, devastating and all-consuming way. Prior to the loss of my daughter, I only knew one person who had experienced a miscarriage. The rest of the pregnancies I was privy to seemed to end with happy, healthy babies. It wasn't until I started talking about my own experience, that I realized just how common it is for babies to die.
Sure, people will tell you that pregnancy and infant loss is terrible and horrible and very sad, but there are so many details left out, not only about how you will feel and how you might react, but also how to find help, how to memorialize your loss, and how to find a supportive community. If you’ve recently experienced a loss, or know someone who has, first and foremost: I'm so very sorry. This is for you or the person you know, because we're never alone and there are so many people who are willing to help.