In 1988, President Ronald Regan declared October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Loss is not often talked about openly, despite the fact that 1 out of every 4 pregnancies in the United States ends in miscarriage, and 1 out of every 160 pregnancies ends in stillbirth. Many of us within the ICP Care community have experienced this unimaginable loss, and together we have found comfort from the women who have turned the pain from loss into the strength of positive change. Our mission is driven to honor these precious babies whom we will hold forever in our hearts. The ICP Care family remembers all the precious babies lost, including those untimely death due to Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy.
As a mother who has suffered loss during my second pregnancy, I have experienced firsthand the inexplicable pain and grief a woman goes through. On July 9, 2022, I suffered a miscarriage during my first trimester. The physical toll was draining, but the emotional trauma is what stays with me. I have found comfort in talking with those who understand the waves of emotions and ebbs and flows of tears that emerge when least expected. I am still working through my grief with the support of others. For those who feel alone, you are not. And for those who are not ready to speak of your personal story, just know you are loved and supported and that there are women who hear your unspoken words.
I would like to share some advice as a mother who still grieves:
- Take time to talk to those around you. Share your story, if and when you are ready. Listen to those around you when they choose to share. If you are unsure of how to respond, sometimes there is no need to speak. Simply be an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on.
- Be kind to yourself. There is no handbook for grief. Some days may be easier than others, and some of those low days can be extremely low. Allow yourself to feel … you were made to cry for a reason.
- To those who haven’t experienced loss, be mindful of the words you use. Using triggering words such as “at least…” minimizes the feelings of others. “At least it was early on in the pregnancy, or “at least you already have another child,” or “at least you know you can get pregnant.” Although you may have good intentions, these are not helpful affirmations. Some comments do more harm than help.
- Be gentle to others. Understand that not everybody has experienced loss and may not know the right way to respond to you. Is there even a right way to manage your feelings? There isn’t a “one-size fits all” response when it comes to grief, and therefore, there may not be a right way to talk about loss either.
- Find your tribe! Whomever they may be; whether you have a marathon conversation with a friend or prefer to just sit quietly in the company of family … find your people and those who support YOU. I have been blessed to have found mine … thank you for being one of them.