“Don’t talk about it”, “that’s too sad”, “keep that to yourself… you’ll have another baby”, “people don’t want to hear that”, “why are you telling your business”, “you’re not actually a mom yet”, “yeah that happened to me too but you just don’t talk about those things”… These are some of the shitty things people say to you, people think about you or you may even say to yourself when thinking about or actually sharing information about your perinatal loss. I call bullshit *bangs imaginary gavel*! My personal belief is that not talking about or acknowledging the child or children that you lost does a disservice to their memory and their very existence. Whether they were with you for 4 weeks or 4 years, they still existed. The miraculous thing we call life and all that has to come together to make life happen, occurred inside you so honoring that experience is important. If you’re still struggling with whether you should honor your angel, I’ll give you 7 reasons below:
- Creating life is hard work. It’s actually pretty difficult to make a baby. Regardless of how you come to that (medical intervention or no medical intervention), it’s a very, very, very intricate process that requires just the right timing and circumstances. I know it seems like some people “pop up pregnant” all the time but actually, there is really only a 15-20% chance of getting pregnant every month. Add in factors like age, health, hormone levels, sperm count, access, etc. and it can complicate things even further.
- They existed. Your little one existed. All the right things came together to make a heart and a brain and a vascular system and everything else that goes into making a baby. They existed long enough to change the chemistry of your body so that when you got tested, something a small as a speck of sand was able to be detected. They were here. One of the best ways to determine someone’s effect on the world is to look at the people around them when they’re gone. Were you sad when you lost your little one? Did you have hopes and dreams for them? Were you maybe surprised to find out they were there but still super sad to find out they were gone. That’s because they existed. Don’t forget that.
- 1 in 4. One in four women experience perinatal loss. That is a staggering statistic. If it’s happening to so many people, why aren’t we talking about it more? People need to know there are others who share a similar pain. It’s something oddly comforting about it and about being able to support other people. It’s too many of us experiencing this for us to remain hush hush about it. I know it’s sad but it’s also a reality.
- Ignoring it doesn’t make it magical un-happen. Yeah I know “un-happen” isn’t a word but it’s what I’m saying right now. Your loss happened. My loss happened. Not talking about it doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t make it less painful. It just keeps you super sensitive when it’s finally addressed. No one has ever healed (properly) by just ignoring something. Talking about it privately (with a friend or family member), professionally (in therapy) or publically (in a memoir or online) is like the medicine you need to prevent infection to a deep wound. You can maybe ignore a papercut but you can’t and shouldn’t ignore a stab wound.
- Your body did something amazing. Even if you lost your babies because you gave birth too soon or a sack broke or whatever, your body did some amazing work in the time it had with your little one. I don’t know about y’all but I was SUPER sick during my first trimester and the smell of damn near everything could drive me up a wall. My partner puts peanut butter in oatmeal and the smell of hot peanut butter made me want to toss the whole container out the window. It smelled like cigarette smoke to me. Anyway, I digress… your body is AMAZING and it made a little human! A little human! To piggyback on #1, that’s hard work and you should honor that your body was instrumental in making that happen.
- It helps people support you. Sometimes losing children can feel incredibly isolating. You see other people with their kids or see other pregnant people and you think, “damn… why did I have to lose mine…” It can feel like you’re the only one experiencing this and like the world just keeps moving along as if nothing happened. But guess what? You can make sure people know something happened. Talking about your loss enables others to know that you experienced something heartbreaking and hopefully, if they’re good friends & family, they will respond to you with love, care and support. We don’t have to handle everything by ourselves and we also don’t have to just move on like nothing happened because something DID happen.
- Forgotten things are extremely sad. Have you ever seen a home that has been forgotten? A toy? A park? One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen is an abandoned/forgotten amusement park. It literally brought me to tears. They’re dark, dingy, crumbling, literally looks like is weeping or slouching or slumping. Have you seen what happens when people remember these things and tend to them? They’re cleaned up, maintained, tended to, upright and repaired. Children are supposed to bring up joy. They smile more than adults, they’re super cute and literally designed that way to keep parents around, they do silly things as they explore the world. So even if we’ve never seen our babies smile or heard their laughter, they likely brought us some joy just in the idea of them. Don’t forget that. Don’t let that memory or hope or feeling of joy about your baby pass away along with them. It doesn’t honor them in the way they deserve so remember… always remember them & the love you feel for them. That, can never die.
Living with the loss of your little one is super challenging. Sometimes it may even seem easier to not acknowledge what happened and ultimately, that decision is up to you alone. Personally, not talking about my girls made me feel icky and even sadder. Not to mention, I feel like it keeps you unhealed. Cleaning out a wound is painful but ultimately, doing that work helps you to heal with less scars.