Losing a child is something that no parent should ever have to live through.
But, unfortunately, it happens.
But just because we lose a child doesn’t mean that they should be forgotten nor should the mother’s journey be forgotten. That’s why October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Laura Forer of New York, New York, shared her story about losing her daughter. She had lunch with a friend and next thing she knew she was being told that her daughter didn’t make it.
Laura was 38 weeks pregnant with her second child.
She and her friend, who was excited to be an “auntie again,” sat down and chatted over lunch about how Laura was going to get around NYC with two little kids.
“I ate an especially fatty meal, knowing the calories were going to a good place—to help my daughter’s brain development and weight. What I didn’t know was that my daughter had actually died earlier that morning. Later, around midnight, after what I had thought was a normal day, a sonogram showed a black and white blob of static, unmoving, rather than the beating of her little heart,” Laura recalls in a piece for Love What Matters.
Laura then had to go through the unthinkable. She had to give birth to her stillborn child. About one in 100 pregnancies are stillborns. About 24,000 babies a year are stillborns, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Stillbirth is defined as when the child passes away at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later.
Instead of experiencing joy, she would experience grief. Her daughter looked like a perfect newborn but her umbilical cord had a tight knot in it. Her grief was so great that she wasn’t sure she’d survive it.
“Acute grief—as psychologists call it—which happens in the earliest stages of mourning, is almost unsurvivable without a lifesaver. You literally cannot breath as you scream. You may undereat to the point of malnutrition. You may not sleep a wink—or sleep all day. Today, nearly six months out from my loss, I am (mostly) past that point of grief,” Laura explains.
Laura had lots of friends who acted as her lifesavers.
She was also thankful to people who took her on daily walks to help her to heal physically and appreciate her body again.
“Stillbirth makes you hate your body, which betrays you first by killing your own child, then by producing milk, then with the stretch marks and the linea nigra that won’t fade. Thank you for not telling me that I was lucky to lose my baby weight so fast and for knowing I would have gladly worn it as a badge of birth if only I had something to show for it,” Laura said.
She even thanked the friends who had babies around the same time and were sensitive to what she was going through.
She also thanked those who didn’t know what to say to her about her situation.
One of the most important things that her friend did for her was acknowledge that what she went through was terrible and that her daughter did exist.
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“Six months after our loss, I have learned how to keep my head above the ocean of sadness most of the time. But a tug from a baby nursing in the park, or from a little girl twirling in a dress, or from a book by an author with the same name as my daughter—any of those situations threatens to pull me back under. You are my lifesavers again and again. Thank you for making sure I’m still breathing. I hope I never have reason to do the same for you, but if I do, you have taught me well,” Laura said.
You can read Laura’s full post here.
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