I'm taking a break from my series on the pelvic floor to touch on a topic that's near and dear to my heart: Pregnancy after loss.
Having experienced our own loss, my husband and I know what it's like to then find out that you're pregnant again... and the wide range of thoughts and feelings that come with that. In 2008 we very suddenly and tragically lost our first child who was born still on Thanksgiving Day. Not that a loss of this magnitude is EVER fair, but to me, it being our first excited, anticipation-filled pregnancy felt like a really. low. blow.
I had the loving support of my husband, a few dear friends and some family, but there always seemed to be a key piece of my support bubble that was missing. No one I talked to really "got it" and when I did attend a loss support group, it was not the right fit for me in that particular stage of grieving. I wish I had known about PALS: Pregnancy After Loss Support.
March is Pregnancy After Loss Month and the folks over at PALS offer helpful resources and a community for women (and their partners and families) as they navigate the often confusing emotional roller coaster of journeying through pregnancy after a loss.
Taken from the PALS site: "In the world of pregnancy after loss there is a story of hope about a precious new life, and it’s the story of the rainbow baby. It is based on the understanding that the beauty of the rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm. The clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides hope and promise of new life ahead.
As we trudge out of the dark storms of winter and into spring with the hope of new life blooming, Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS) is proclaiming the month of March as PAL Awareness Month, to acknowledge the difficult journey of balancing joy and grief during a subsequent pregnancy after loss."
My husband and I had our own Rainbow Baby just over a year after we lost our son. Our daughter was born healthy and continues to thrive as a strong, beautiful, intelligent brave young lady who makes us proud all the time. I'm so grateful for the chance I was given to be her mother, to actually get to know the life that grew inside me for so many months. One of the biggest things I kept coming back to after our son was delivered as that I spent so much time while pregnant dreaming about him and wondering what he'd look like, how he'd act, etc. that I felt cheated and robbed when his life was cut so short.
This post might make my experience seem like it has a perfect ending and it's all tidied up with a pretty bow on it now. And I suppose that those things are true. But that's not the whole story. I'm so glad there are groups like PALS throughout the country that center on the love and support that people need after experiencing great loss and get them the help they need to be able to tap into the great joy that can come after sorrow.
If you or someone you know is pregnant after the loss of a pregnancy or infant and you want somewhere to turn, there's help out there. Here are just a few local and national organizations that you could try:
- Groups through PALS, state by state
- POEM (Perinatal Outreach and Support for Moms) - A fabulous Central Ohio group
- Various Pregnancy and Infant Loss groups throughout Central Ohio
- Carrying Tender Angels lists a retreat center where you can getaway to process a bit as well as other non-profits in Columbus to help in your journey
- The excellent work and support of Dr. Jessica Zucker and her #IHadAMiscarriage movement