The Emotional Impact of Pregnancy Loss

My husband and I recently experienced our second *pregnancy loss.

We’ve made 2 babies, but we have no children.

And if we’re being honest – even right now, typing that sentence and seeing it in black & white really just tripped me out.

A little background: My first pregnancy ended over 2 years ago after having a D&C at 11 weeks due to a missed miscarriage. Everything was developing fine with the pregnancy, we heard the little nugget’s heartbeat and had ultrasounds showing normal growth. Then, the baby died. After that it took us almost 2 years to conceive again. I was on my 4th round of fertility drugs when we finally fell pregnant this past December, but sadly that pregnancy ended as a ruptured ectopic in mid-January. The little life and my left Fallopian tube were removed during surgery.

“We’ve made 2 babies, but we have no children”

It never actually occurred to me that I’d find myself here. I’ve always wanted to have kids, and I truly thought once I was married it would just – happen. Growing up I was the girl who had the names of my future, hypothetical children scribbled down in my school notebooks. I had these grand expectations of how motherhood was supposed to go and let me tell you, it sure as hell didn’t look like this.

But..life happens. The reality is that most times life is good, but other times life is really, really shitty. All things considered, nothing has caused me more pain, sadness, and trauma than losing my unborn babies. That may seem like a dramatic statement to you, but it’s my reality. It has been one of those defining life moments for me, and I am a totally different person because of it. I feel distant. Roughened. A little cold and a little icy. I guess life will do that to a person.

For those of you who do not know the pain of pregnancy loss, I hope this blog gives you some insight into the emotions that someone you love may be feeling. Not so that you can feel bad for or pity them, but so that you can begin to understand their experience and try to put yourself in their shoes as best as you can. It’s always easier to be there for a person if you understand a little about what they’re going through.

If you’ve experienced pregnancy loss, unfortunately you know all too well what I’m talking about. Losing a baby during pregnancy can be devastating. I have honestly found so much comfort in reading or listening to complete strangers on the internet talk about their losses. And for those women, I am thankful. It helps me to know that others who have gone through this share in the roller coaster ride of emotions I’m experiencing. It helps me feel a little less crazy, you know? My only goal here is to be that reassuring voice for someone else. To validate your feelings and let you know that girl, I get it.

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I get what it’s like to feel more sadness and grief than you ever thought possible. You just lost a baby. Your baby. A tiny, developing human life. Your son. Your daughter. You talked to them, sang to them. Prayed for them. You fantasized about them and picked names for them. You bought things, made plans, and created space in your home for them. You created space in your heart for them. And then suddenly you lose what was and what was yet to come, all at once.

For the first week after my ectopic, I was completely shocked. I was also physically drained and more focused on healing physically, so the grief didn’t come right away for me. Then, the floodgates opened and for about 6 weeks after our loss, I cried constantly. In the shower. In the car. On my way to sleep. When I woke up.  Multiple times a day, almost every day, I cried. Whenever I tried to open my mouth and have a decent conversation with someone, I cried. My first miscarriage brought an even stronger reaction – I teetered the line of normal grief and depression while I recovered physically and emotionally. There were days when I wouldn’t even leave my bed. But then one day something amazing happened – I looked up and realized that I hadn’t cried in a little while. Then when I was able to string together a couple happy days in a row, I really thought I was doing something. And juuuust when you start to think “I‘m finally moving forward“, a wave of grief hits you square in the nose and knocks you back a just a little bit.

I grieved both of my pregnancy losses intensely. I get it.


I get what it’s like to feel an overwhelming sense of pressure – from yourself and from others – to move on.

No one else feels this sad for this long, you’re being so dramatic. 

You need to get back to business as usual. 

It’s time to pull yourself up and move on from this. 

I really hate that term anyway…move on. To me, “move on” is appropriate after breaking up with a jerk guy who was no good for you. After losing a baby? Not so much. I don’t think you ever move on from something as life altering as that. You get stronger, God gives peace, you find a new normal, you move forward, but you don’t move on. Moving on implies an event, while moving forward implies a process. I remember freaking out after talking to a doctor-friend who said a woman should be over a pregnancy loss after 6 weeks. I was so discouraged because there I was at week 5, barely being held together by scotch tape and bubble gum…thinking I had just one more week to get myself together.

At this point it’s been 8 weeks since our second loss and honestly I’m just now beginning to feel like I’m finding a new normal. And after our first loss? It took me months to even be able to talk to people. Some women may sort through their loss in 8 days, while others may need 8 months to heal. Whatever is right for you…is just right. Give yourself some time.


I get what it’s like to be unbelievably angry. Just mad at everything. I’m so grouchy these days that at times, I don’t even want to be around me!


I get what it’s like to feel defective. To feel physically flawed, tarnished and blemished, like something is wrong with your body. I get it. It wasn’t until after my second loss that I began to take things personally. Like okay, two babies have died inside of my body, what the heck is wrong with me? It’s embarrassing.

It doesn’t stop there though. I had to have my entire tube removed after the ectopic, and that really does make me feel damaged. It feels so weird to know that a body part is missing, especially one so vital to my future fertility. Gone. Forever. The loss of my tube is just another thing on a long list of obstacles working against me on this journey to mommy-hood.

And then there’s the post-surgical bloating and bruising. That eventually goes away, but the scars on your tummy will be there for the rest of your life. These aren’t battle wounds you wear with pride, but rather permanent reminders of defeat. You feel…damaged. I get it.

“I get what it’s like to feel defective” 


I get what’s it like to feel jealous. Jealous of your pregnant friends. Jealous of your friends who have babies. I know it’s hard because you really are in fact happy for them, you’re just sad for you. So you show up to baby showers. You send meals when the new baby arrives. You help care for your friends baby when she needs a break. And you do it all with a smile hoping your feelings will catch up eventually. I get it. 


I get what it’s like to feel guilty for feeling jealous, too. Because these are your friends, after all. Guilt can be a heavy burden to bear. Some of you may even feel guilty after losing your baby because you think you are the cause. You think this happened because of something you did, or didn’t do. And no matter how many times someone says it’s not your fault, the guilt remains. But girl I still have to tell you…

It’s really not your fault.


I get what it’s like to be nervous about checking the mail because you know the hospital bills are coming. Not everyone has to have surgery or be hospitalized after pregnancy loss, but for those women that do, it can be costly. Like – congratulations on losing your baby, here’s a bill for $1700. There’s the ER doctor fee, the surgeon fee, the facility fee, the cost of ultrasound, blood work, and IV medications, the fee for the anesthesiologist and the CRNA, the copays for follow up appointments… and it all hits you at once.

Yes, even with insurance, pregnancy loss could potentially cost you in more ways than one. Without insurance? You could easily be looking at $15,000. Because added financial stress while grieving is nice.


I get what it’s like to feel isolated. The thruth is that your loved ones just don’t want to hurt you any more than you already are, so they avoid talking about the loss of your little one. They may even avoid talking to you altogether. They tip toe around you and never ask about how you’re feeling or how you’re coping, not realizing that saying nothing to acknowledge what has happened actually hurts more than saying the “wrong thing”.

You try to avoid people because you know you reek of sadness, and you don’t want them to absorb your negative energy. Some days you may even find yourself avoiding people because you’re actually happy at that moment, but you don’t want others to develop expectations of you to remain that way. Because when I say it’s an emotional roller coaster – I truly mean it.  It’s constant ups and downs.

You refrain from catching up with your friends and family because you don’t want to make things awkward when they ask “so how have you been”?! [because talking about these types of things really makes people uncomfortable]. So you lie and put on a face and push down your crap and say “I’ve been okay! What about you”? But ultimately that discourages you from interacting with people altogether because pretending to be okay all the time…is exhausting…and sometimes you just don’t have the mental energy to pretend. All of this, is isolating. I get it.


I get what it’s like to feel like an ugly, crampy, balding, bloated, pimply, hot flashing, bloody mess for weeks on end.


I get how it is to feel uncertain about your future. “When we have kids” turns to “If we have kids” because…you just don’t know anymore. You used to plan for three, but now you’re holding out hope for just one.

“When we have kids” turns to “If we have kids” because…you just don’t know anymore


I get what’s it’s like to feel ashamed and embarrassed. So many women make pregnancy seem like a walk in the park, to the point where you feel incompetent when it doesn’t come as easy for you.

All he has to do is look at me and I get knocked up.

I wasn’t even trying to get pregnant, this was a total accident. 

Y’all ain’t got no babies running around here yet?! What’s the hold up? 

The sense of failure can be overwhelming. Even the word ‘miscarriage’ paints that picture – as if you are in the wrong. Like you made a mistake or had a small mishap that caused you to mishandle something and then whoops – you dropped the baby. Oh how I detest that word, as it implicitly puts the blame on the mother. It almost (kind of, on a much smaller scale obviously) feels like dropping a baton during a relay race. Hubby does his job to make the successful handoff and you start running full steam ahead – you just have to bring it home. Then suddenly, the baton slips right between your fingers and hits the ground, and you’re disqualified from the race. So now you just watch as the other relay teams keep going around the track, making successful handoffs and crossing the finish line to victory. And you stand there feeling like you’ve failed the team.

You look at your partner and it seems like you’re letting him down…you know how badly he wants to be a dad. Some friends of ours asked Marcus to godparent their beautiful baby boy, and so fortunately I do get to watch him enjoy that from the sidelines. It is a little bittersweet for me because for whatever reason, they thought it best not to include me. But ultimately I know it brings him joy and so yea – even though it adds to my feelings of embarrassment and incompetence, I’ll watch from the sidelines and get in where I fit in. Fortunately we both were asked to godparent our amazingly beautiful goddaughter, and she brings so much sunshine to our lives. It has been great watching my husband in a fatherly role with his godchildren. But that nagging sense of shame and embarrassment is still in the back of my mind…because for now, I haven’t been able to give him that.

Even though you know it’s not your fault, pregnancy loss can truly make you feel like you are failing as a woman. Trust me, I totally get it. 

The word ‘miscarriage’ paints that picture – as if I am in the wrong. Like I made a mistake or had a small mishap that caused me to mishandle something and then whoops – I dropped the baby.


I get what it’s like to feel completely out of control. To look up and see that your body has autonomously decided to do whatever the hell it felt like doing that day. It is incredibly humbling and heartbreaking at the same time, to know that you couldn’t keep your little one safe inside of your own body. You did all the right things: took your prenatal vitamins, stayed away from alcohol and cigarettes, avoided sushi like the plague. I even cancelled a medical volunteer trip abroad to protect that little life from Zika.

But despite your best efforts…you couldn’t control everything.

Your body seemingly swats the ball down from the rim and wags it’s finger in your face. Not in my house.

Seriously? The nerve.

And I can’t even begin to describe the frustration of waiting for your pregnancy hormones to pipe down after a loss, which can take weeks. The entire time you still feel all the pregnancy feels. You think you’re going a little crazy because your hormones are raging out of control, which undoubtedly adds to the grief experience. Your body is running the show and you’re just a passenger. You resent it, but you can do absolutely nothing about it…so you buckle up and brace yourself for the wild ride.


I get what it’s like to feel silly and confused for being so sad about it. Most people aren’t able to understand the wide range of emotions couples go through in the aftermath of losing a baby during pregnancy, especially if that loss occurred early on. People expect intense emotional reactions to the loss of a once living spouse, child, parent, friend, or otherwise tangible person. Most people can even understand the pain of someone who experiences stillbirth – because at least that was a real baby. But you? That was “just” a miscarriage; you were barely pregnant. Let’s not get too dramatic here since it wasn’t actually a baby yet.

It was just a glob of cells.

At least you didn’t get too attached, it could be worse.

Just try again.

Oh – the things people say. You start to internalize those things and you really begin to feel stupid for being so distressed. I know I do, especially as a med student – where less than pretty terms like ‘fetal demise’ and ‘spontaneous abortion’ are thrown around callously in the clinical setting.

Maybe I am making a big deal out of nothing.

Maybe I’ve gone a little mad.

You start to doubt yourself, and you don’t feel entitled to grieve because well, your friends sister has a friend who actually had to carry her baby for 9 whole months before it died in a car accident. And you only carried yours for 2. So you should be grateful.

I honestly don’t know what it is about humans that makes us downplay the absolute miracle of life inside the womb. We all have to start somewhere, right? And if we’re being literal about it, developing humans stop being just a “clump of cells” at about week 4…right around the time a woman finds out she is pregnant. By the end of week 5, there’s a tiny heart pumping actual blood through the little one’s body. Week 6? That “glob of cells” spontaneously moves and has the ability to show reflex responses to touch. So can we retire that phrase, please?

The validity of unborn life is severely downplayed, and I think that’s one of the reasons why the emotional impact after a pregnancy loss is so underestimated and misunderstood. To others, your loss is just a blip in time. To you, it is everything. It is a confusing place to be. I get it.


I get what it’s like to feel traumatized after a loss. Because you think you may have just flushed your baby. Because there’s enough blood to stage a crime scene. Because this is the sixth time this has happened to you and you aren’t sure how much more you can take. Because you held your baby’s lifeless body in your hands. Because you never got to hold your baby’s lifeless body in your hands. Because you were pushed to the edge of your physical pain threshold and then forced over the cliff. Because you just spent $15,000 on IVF.

I didn’t realize how traumatic my ectopic pregnancy was for me until I began having nightmares. I had never been so close to death before. Even now, nearly 2 months later there are times when I look in the mirror and let that reality sink in – I literally could have died that day. It’s wild to me, to have confronted mortality.


I get what it’s like to feel frustrated that you’ve had to explain to the receptionist, the nurse, the medical assistant, the other nurse, and the doctor that you’ve lost a baby. Like seriously, did you even read my chart?! Please don’t make me say it again. Please.


I get what’s it like to have to deal with the stress of normal life after losing a baby. To have to return to work or school and face the world again, it’s tough. Going back to med school was so stressful for me [as if medical school isn’t stressful enough on it’s own already]. I took only a week off after the surgery, and then I had to put my game face on because it was back to “business as usual”. In those first two weeks back we talked about ectopic pregnancy multiple times. By the time we got the the cardiology unit, we were learning about ectopic heart beats. Then I get to my exam and there were two questions about miscarriage and one about ectopic pregnancy. Totally wasn’t expecting that so it took me a second to regain focus. The following week I saw a pregnant patient and used a fetal heart monitor on her. Throughout the curriculum we discuss embryology and fetal development repeatedly, because that’s what med students do. Then there’s the pregnant MA I worked with at my clinic, she always wanted me to touch her belly and feel her baby kicking.

I could hardly form a scab before it was picked at repeatedly while doing my normal, back to reality, every day things.  It makes it hard to heal. And I’m sure you have daily reminders of your hurt in your every day life, too. Sometimes it seems like life will never get back to where it was before all of this happened. I get it.

If you ever need someone to talk to, you can definitely talk to me. I know I’m a stranger to you but I am no stranger to this experience. These emotions we are dealing with are real and raw and sometimes it’s just plain hard to sort it all out. Honestly, one of the main things that has helped me through this process is talking to other women out there who can relate. Other women who just…get it.

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*When I say ‘pregnancy loss’ I am using a general term to refer to several different types of losses. Loss of a life during pregnancy can occur due to complete or missed miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, or chemical pregnancy.

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Surviving The Holidays After Miscarriage

Last year, somewhere in between Thanksgiving and the first few days of December, my husband and I unexpectedly conceived our first child. I revealed the pregnancy to him by giving him two Christmas ornaments to hang on our tree with the big news written on them – he was super excited! That entire holiday season was spent bonding over the pregnancy and the new baby that was forming in my belly. It really added to the magic of Christmas and the anticipation of the New Year! We were so excited, so proud, and so in love.

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“Coming August 2016” “You+Me=3”

Unfortunately, my baby barely made it to February; I miscarried when I was 2 1/2 months along.

Now, I’m remembering all the times last year when I thought “this time next year we’ll have a 4 month old” or “next year will be our baby’s first Christmas”. Those thoughts come back to haunt me now; I feel so let down.

For many people, the holiday season is a wonderful time filled with love, laughter, and family. But for couples who have gone through miscarriage or infant loss, the holidays can be tough just like they can be after any other loss. It’s hard to be filled with holiday cheer when someone you love is missing, and it seems like the joyousness of the season only magnifies your pain.  If you’re struggling to enjoy this holiday season after your loss or while battling infertility, I wanted to share some tips that may help you along the way.

  1. Do a lot of what makes your heart happy – Never forget that it’s okay to feel sadness! You’ve experienced a tremendous loss and you may have to be intentional about finding happiness and joy this holiday season. That’s okay! Indulge in the things that put a smile on your face and really try to soak in each day as it comes! Maybe it’s binge watching Christmas movies, baking cookies, or decorating for the holiday. Or perhaps it’s volunteering at a warming center, hosting your immediate family for dinner, taking a good nap or going on a vacation with your spouse. Whatever you enjoy, do that. Wherever your happy place is, go there. Take care of yourself!
  2. Remember that it’s okay to say ‘no’ – With it being the holidays you are going to get invited to a lot of gatherings, parties and family get-togethers. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends, but the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be overwhelming at times! Throw in there the heartbreak and anxiety that comes with infertility, infant loss, or miscarriage and it can be downright emotionally draining. You’ve got your pregnant friends, your sister-in-law who just had her baby, your nosy aunt who is wondering why you haven’t had kids yet…there are reminders everywhere. If you are feeling too sad, vulnerable or upset to attend an event, don’t go! It’s okay to guard your heart and take a day! You have to know your limits and realize that it is okay to say no.  I’m not suggesting you isolate yourself from everyone, I think we all need people to make it through hard times. For me, that person is primarily my husband but I also lean on my mommy and sister. Ultimately all I’m saying is this: don’t feel like you have to accept every invitation that comes your way just because it’s the holiday. On the flip side though, you may want to consider how going out and being surrounded by family and friends could be good for you, too.
  3. Find a way to remember your baby during the holiday – Do something extra special to help you feel closer to the baby you lost. I’ve known people to hang special Christmas ornaments or stockings for their babies. Personally, since Thanksgiving I’ve worn a special piece of jewelry to family gatherings, holiday parties, and pretty much every where else I go. I’ve also watched our pregnancy reveal videos a few times and it warms my heart. We surprised our family with the news while playing Mad Gab at Christmas dinner last year. Other than ultrasound pictures and hearing the heartbeat, this is one of the only other positive memories I have of my little one. It is such a healing element for me to watch those videos and remember August this wa way.
  4. Sponsor a child for Christmas – Marcus and I have so much love to give. August sparked a fire in our hearts and I seriously cannot wait to love on and spoil my future babies! These feelings are totally magnified during this holiday shopping season when you feel like you “should be” buying gifts for your new baby, and it’s easy to get down about that. While you may not be able to celebrate Christmas with your child the way you envisioned you would, you can still put a smile on a little one’s face! Sponsoring or adopting a child in need for the holidays while grieving the loss of your own may not be easy. But for me, just thinking of buying gifts for a baby or child who needs them ministers to my heart in ways I can’t even describe. It is the epitome of what Jesus meant when he said “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. This idea came to me as my hubby and I were out doing some Christmas shopping last week, and I really wish we had thought of it sooner! If I can find someone to sponsor this year I’d still like to do it, but it will definitely be something we start doing next year. You may even want to consider sponsoring a child that’s the same gender and age that your child would have been had they survived. Admittedly, this has the potential to be a painful experience. It may evoke negative feelings to shop for a child and buy things you would have bought for your own, so I would definitely pray about it and talk with your partner before committing to something like this. Same goes for my next tip.
  5. Buy gifts for your future baby – So back in the day, an unmarried woman would keep a chest full of things she intended to use in her future married life – it was called a hope chest. Today it looks more like the storage trunk at the foot of your bed. Why aren’t we applying this concept when trying to conceive a baby? A lot of people believe it is bad luck or a “jinx” to buy baby items before you are pregnant, but I believe there is nothing wrong with having faith in God’s ability to open your womb or bring a baby into your life through adoption. How many times have you walked past the baby section in Target in shame, feeling like you’ve been denied entry to some sort of VIP section of the club? Let me let you off the hook: you can go there, and you can buy things. Clearly this is for me too, as I haven’t exactly worked up the courage to actually do this yet…but I think about it all the time. At first I found the idea of buying things for a baby I haven’t even conceived yet a little strange, but the more I think about it the more comfortable I become. Why not? Everything is on sale at this time of year anyway and you’re likely to find some good deals! It’s a great way to stay active and build excitement while you wait for your bundle of joy.

I truly hope this helps someone out there cope with their loss this Christmas. I understand that everyone handles miscarriage differently, so some of these tips may or may not help you on your personal journey. Overall, I pray that you find the strength and peace to enjoy the magic and joyousness of the holiday season, despite your situation. Please share ways you’ve been able to make it through this time of year after your loss! I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas to you!

-Nikkie

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Photo credit: Beth Hutter B&B Photography

Our Small Memorial Service For August

Well, this past weekend was my due date. August 26, 2016. And to be honest, it was just as hard as I thought it was going to be.

August 27th was the due date as calculated by the date of my LMP (last menstrual period), but August 26th was the estimated due date from our dating ultrasound. So, this past weekend there were a lot of tears. A lot of pits in my stomach and lumps in my throat.

Miscarriage is a strange loss. I can’t say we were able to think back on the good times and fun memories we made with our deceased loved one…because there weren’t any. This child died in utero before we could even see him crack a smile. The only memories I have of my baby are hearing his heart beat for the first time, and seeing his fully formed face on ultrasound the day we found out we were miscarrying. Both my husband and I heard the heartbeat, but only I saw his face. The ultrasound tech didn’t print the picture,  so the only place that memory will ever exist is in my mind.

Friday night included laying on my mothers lap for 15 minutes, bawling my eyes out. There is something about her that is so comforting to me. Her hands, her voice, all soothed me like I was her little girl again as she was trying to console me. Then I went home with my husband and we spent the night relaxing together.

Saturday wasn’t as bad, I think that was because I had a million things to do that day. I kept my mind occupied and kept moving, which helped me not get so down. I ended up going out with some of my good friends to celebrate a graduation. One of them asked me “When are y’all having kids?” Ouch. She has no idea that she is picking at an invisible scab. “Oh, soon I hope. We’ll see!” with a forced grin on my face. Then she said something that sent chills down my spine. She said “You look like a mom, and not in a bad way. You just look really motherly right now, I feel it. It’s going to happen soon”. I figured it may be awkward if I hugged her and started crying immediately and uncontrollably in the middle of the bar, so I digressed.

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We had our memorial service Sunday. It was just Jesus, hubby and I, we went to a nearby lake with a half dozen balloons. We found a spot off the dock; he said a small prayer, read a poem he had wrote to August (which I’ve shared at the end of this blog), and then we sat for a little bit in silence. Then together, we let the balloons go and watched them float for as high as we could see. And then we left. It was harder than I imagined to let the balloons go. For those 15 minutes…from the time it took to get from the party store to the lake, those balloons meant something. It was so hard to let go. There were no tears from me on Sunday. I got a little choked up, but my husband did cry. We spent the rest of the evening home.

I think the hardest part about it all was that this day seemed like just a normal day for the rest of the world. Nobody but our closest family even realized it was our due date, and I don’t think anyone would have cared much if I told them anyway. In our world, someone very important to us had died and today was their funeral. But, to the rest of the world…it was just another day. As a matter of fact, according to social media it was national dog day. Just another day. The bad news is that the world keeps turning and life keeps happening.

But, you see, that’s also the good news. The world keeps turning, and life keeps happening. I thank God that I am able to hold onto his promises and keep going forward in His strength. God is working, even (and especially) when I don’t understand. It’s taken a lot for me to even get to this point, and I am so thankful.

I’ve included (with his permission) a poem written by my dear husband:

From the moment your existence was learned things changed
Titles change, life changes and everything rearranges
Excitement follows
Followed by anticipation
Then in the blink of an eye everything changes
And life seems so hollow
Days go by
People come by and tears eventually go dry
But never mistake the pain is very much alive
The impact you have had on our lives is immeasurable
While everyone else seems to have forgotten
I carry the weight of your absence with me everywhere I go
But I firmly trust and believe in God that your absence is not in vain
Unfortunately you served your purpose for us before the world would know your name
Who we are today is a direct result of you
And in this life and the next know that mommy and daddy will always love you
Have you memorialized your stillborn or miscarried baby? What did you do? Did it help you cope with the loss? Comment below!
xoxo,
-N

What’s In A Name?: Why We Named Our Miscarried Baby

One of the first things hubby and I decided to do after we lost our little one was to give him/her a name. I’m not going to lie, it felt weird at first…naming someone who never lived a day on this Earth. Nobody ever said this but I feel to most other people who knew we were expecting, our baby was still hypothetical. Something that was supposed to happen, but never did. Somewhat of a theory or abstract concept maybe, but not a real being to be named. Furthermore, we never found out what sex our baby was. The appointment that was originally scheduled for blood work to determine sex ended up being the follow up appointment after we found out we were miscarrying. We never knew if we were having a boy or a girl. So yes, initially I felt weird naming our angel baby.

But the fact is, my baby was real, and though we will never know with certainty what the sex was, hubby & I believe it was a boy.  I heard his beating heart. Saw his little nose. He had fingers, toes, arms and legs. He had a brain that controlled his developing lungs, muscles, and other organs. And above all of this, he had a soul; a soul that is unique to him and him only. He was a person. A little person, but a real person nonetheless.

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We picked the name August. I was due to give birth in the month of August so it felt like a cool way to commemorate that. We also felt it was gender neutral, in case we were wrong about him being a boy 🙂

To us, naming August after the miscarriage was important because

  • It was a way for us to honor and commemorate his short life, though it was lived entirely inside my womb. Giving him a name felt like we were giving him an identity other than “the baby I lost to miscarriage”. It helped provide a small sense of closure and also helped us to connect with our little one. Granted, I would never hold him, nurse him, or watch him grow; but what I could do was name him. Giving August our last name really connected our family and it is one of the only ways I could mother this child.
  • Almost immediately after finding out we were expecting we started picking names. We had a few boy and girl names that we were really committed to, but when we lost the baby it felt like we’d also lost all of those names. It felt like those names were off-limits for any baby we could potentially have in the future because they belonged to this baby. However, after picking a different name for August, it kinda freed up those names for us to still be able to use in the future should God decide to bless us with another child.

Naming your baby after miscarriage or still birth is a personal choice! Please do not feel pressured to name your baby if you are not comfortable with it, there are other ways for you to acknowledge and honor your child. However, this is something that worked for our family and helps tremendously as we cope with the loss.

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I made a bracelet with his name that I wear all the time. It helps to see his name and have something physical to remind me of his sweet little soul.

Did you name your baby after loss? If so, what name did you choose and how is it significant to you? Feel free to leave comments below and follow me on Instagram @_mylittleangelbaby

 

xoxo,

-N

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways You Can Help Someone Who Has Had A Miscarriage

 

When someone you love tells you they’ve had a miscarriage, it can be very hard to figure out what to do for that person. I know firsthand there are things that family and friends did for me that helped me tremendously! Here are a few suggestions!

 1. Send a card 

…or a text, email, letter, smoke signal, carrier pigeon; something to let that person know that you are thinking of them regarding their loss.Acknowledge birthdays and would-be-due-dates. Have those awkward conversations. I get that sometimes it’s just plain hard to find the words to say, and the topic is understandably sensitive so you may think saying nothing is best. Some avoid talking about it because they think bringing it up to you will remind you of the pain. Let me let those people off the hook – this grieving mother or father is never going to forget losing their unborn child. It hurts more to think my baby is forgotten. For me, acknowledging the loss reminds me that my baby was alive within me, and his life counted. And those are sentiments I am desperately trying to hold on to. That’s why I believe that you don’t have to say anything lengthy or profound, but saying something to acknowledge the loss is very important!

For a few months after the miscarriage I battled depression and simply didn’t want to talk to people. My dear hubby fielded a lot of phone calls and texts when people wanted to check up on me – and I remember and treasure every last person who reached out in some form. Even though I wasn’t up for talking, I knew that they cared and that outpouring of love helped to get me through! A simple “Thinking of you during this time” or “I’m sorry for your loss. I love you!” will do just fine. I even had a friend tell me “I’m sorry I didn’t reach out sooner, I really just didn’t know what to say but I wanted you to know I’m praying for you guys”. This was a breath of fresh air and incredibly honest, I appreciated that.

There is a small caveat, there are some things you should avoid saying and I blogged before about what not to say – you can find that post here. Above all, remember that this person just lost a child…neglecting to acknowledge that loss ultimately hurts more than saying the “wrong thing”.

2. Just be there.

Because sometimes my first tip just doesn’t cut it for you. Maybe you truly can’t find the words…that’s okay! There is so much power and ministry in just being there for someone.

It’s a common thing to say “I’m here if you need me” when someone you love is going through a hard time. It’s not as common to make yourself available for someone whether they need you or not. Listen when (if, in some cases) they are talking to you about the miscarriage. Check on them today, and then check on them again tomorrow –  and then again next week. Months later when you’ve forgotten about the loss, remember that they haven’t, and then check on them again. Ask if you can drop by just to give them a hug; and if they decline today ask them again tomorrow.

I’ll be the first to say I didn’t exactly make it easy for people to “just be there” for me after our loss. That being said, when you tell them you are going to pray for them, actually pray for them! So many people toss around the platitude “Praying for you during this hard time” but never actually talk to God about anyone but themselves. I’m guilty! But I believe in the power of prayer and I know I wouldn’t have made it through without the prayers of my husband, family and friends. That’s why when I tell someone I am praying for them, it’s usually because I already have.

3. Bring them food or offer to take care of errands. 

Miscarriage is physically and emotionally draining. The last thing a grieving couple wants to think about during this time is doing the laundry, walking the dog, or cooking dinner. But, these things still need to be done – and that’s where you come in! My sisters helped dog sit on multiple occasions. Our parents sent us grocery money and they even had food delivered to our home once, which was incredibly nice! A classmate gave us a gift card to a nearby restaurant that we redeemed online so we could pick up dinner curb-side. All of these things were appreciated because for a little while after the loss I was physically unable to do the everyday things I normally did, like cook and clean. And though my husband is perfectly capable of manning the fort on his own, he was grieving too and also taking care of me. It was a huge help when our friends & family stepped in and did simple things like this for us.

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My cohort at school came together to get a nice gift for me; it included this journal, tea mug, and a scented candle.  So nice of them!

 

4. Make or buy them a small gift.

I’m not saying spend a fortune, but a small gift helps to show your friend that their loss is real and valid to you, too. For example, my classmates came together and bought me a journal, candle, and over-sized tea mug – all practical things that I used when I needed to relax. Also, my sister bought me a Pandora charm with my unborn child’s birth stone in it. Sometimes I look at it and smile, and other times I look at it and get a little teary eyed, but having something tangible to hold on to after the baby is gone helps! My mother in law sent me and hubby gift cards to go shopping – she said it was an early birthday gift… though both of our birthdays were literally months later. I think she was just trying to brighten up our day 🙂 My parents sent chocolates and I also received flowers. While none of these material things could ever take the pain away, it helped to put a smile on my face if even for a moment.

5. Give them time. 

Grief is an essential process after loss, let it run its course! After our miscarriage I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. So not only was I bereaved, I was also dealing with dramatically altered brain chemistry and hormonal imbalances that come with being pregnant and then suddenly, not pregnant anymore. This made it just plain hard to function as my normal self. There was a physical and mental aspect to my grief after the miscarriage that most people don’t consider.

I was mad at the world and this went on for months and months. Now that I am emerging on the other side of that phase – I have resurfaced to find that some people simply could not handle or accept the grieving process and how I expressed my pain. The Psalmist said “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning”. In the words of a friend, it may not have been this morning, and it may not be tomorrow morning either – but one day your friend or loved one will make it through the grieving process and you want to be there when the morning comes. Don’t give up on your grieving friend.

You may think after a few weeks this person should be “over” their miscarriage by now, but everyone handles things in their own way. Some people like being surrounded by others when they are grieving, others (like myself in this situation) may prefer to be left alone. Some women may sort through their loss quickly and move on, while others may be devastated long after the pregnancy is over. Either way, giving your loved one the time and freedom to feel whatever it is that they feel – for however long they feel it – is one of the best things you can do for them!

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Please, share in the comments things other people did for you that helped you cope with your miscarriage or infant loss! I always reply back, I look forward to connecting with you!

 

xoxo,

-N

5 Things I Did To Cope With Pregnancy Loss

Losing a loved one can be awful. When that loved one is a child, whom you never had the chance to meet; it’s proves to be a very unique type of loss.

I struggled (and still do) with our miscarriage. It is just a different kind of loss. There are usually no funerals, no announcements on Facebook, no bereavement days off from work. Life carries on as usual even though your private world is crashing down. It’s rough. 

But, here we are 5 months later and I am making it. My marriage is stronger than ever and I don’t cry 2-3 times a day, every day, anymore. I’m making it through. And it feels good to be able to say that.

I want to share 5 major things I do/did that I believe help me cope with the loss. I know everyone handles loss [in general, and miscarriage in particular] differently, so these things may not work for you. But, I did just want to share what has helped me heal, and I invite you to share what has helped you, too!

  1. Name your baby –  We gave our little nugget a name! The saying by Dr. Suess, “a person’s a person no matter how small” has never been more relevant in my life. Picking a name was a way for us to honor the life and little person that was, and also helped provide a small sense of closure. Naming helped to make a familial connection with the baby and gave me a way to reference him without saying “the baby I miscarried”. We picked the name August. I don’t really expect anyone else to call my unborn child by that name, but it helps when I can say to my husband “I miss August”. I’ll blog more about the name choice some other time! 
  2. Go on a trip – We got away, just hubby and I! We went on a short weekend trip to Chicago, and it was a great opportunity to get out of the house, try to relax, and forget about our circumstances; if even for a moment. After the miscarriage and subsequent surgery we couldn’t have sex for a little while, which was really hard on us, but the trip helped us to reconnect and spend uninterrupted time just enjoying each other’s company. A change of scenery never hurts, even if it involves a day at the beach or staying the night at a local hotel. Just get away!
  3. Online forums – People just don’t talk about miscarriage. Society has thrown ‘miscarriage’ into a pile of dirty words and no one likes to discuss it. This is why I started this blog; reading about other people going through the same thing was a huge outlet for me…and I hope to be that for someone else. I spent so much time searching for blogs, forums, and online support groups that allowed me to connect with other women going through pregnancy loss. Knowing that I was not alone in my grief and feelings helped tremendously. 
  4. Allowed myself to grieve – Possibly the best thing for my healing process was recognizing that it was a process and allowing myself to feel whatever it was that I felt during that time. When I wanted to cry, I did. When I was happy, I rode that wave for as long as I could. People tried to push me to “get over it” and people were also offended when I didn’t want to talk or spend time with them while I grieved. Some people felt as though my reaction was too intense and I shouldn’t be so down. But at the end of the day, you have to do what works for you. Focus on yourself and do (or don’t do) whatever you feel like. I remember feeling so much pressure to “be okay” even when I wasn’t. When I finally stopped forcing the process is when I truly began healing. Take care of yourself! 
  5. Make plans for the “hard days”  – So there are those days that come around that remind you of the loss. Those anniversaries and would-be-due-dates that loom over you as the calendar days count down. Make plans for those days. Hubby and I are planning to do a balloon release on August’s due date. Looking forward to that helps me to keep my head up when I’d otherwise be dreading the day. 


What are some things you did to help cope with your loss? Thinking of trying any of my suggestions? Maybe you didn’t have a miscarriage but you helped a sister, friend, or whoever cope with theirs; what did you do? Comments are welcome! Let’s talk!