To the mother reading this in tears with a broken heart, seeking comfort in some small measure, whose world was just completely turned upside, because you have experienced the unfathomable loss of a baby in pregnancy, at birth or in early years – you are not alone.
To the mother whose plans and dreams for your baby and for your family were shattered in an instant, because one minute you were pregnant or had a live, breathing baby and the next second, that was stolen away, often without any warning – you are not alone.
To the mother who struggles with the decision of whether or not to name your unborn child that you will never get to hold in your arms, and then if you do choose to pick a name, the painful process of finding that perfect fit after suffering such a tragedy – you are not alone.
To the mother who is surrounded by people trying to help and offer support, yet feels that no one can possibly begin to understand what you are going through, unless sadly, you have walked a similar path – you are not alone.
To the mother who suffers in silence, because you were not far enough along in your pregnancy to tell many people, but you secretly wish that more people knew so they could lift you up and shine a light during these moments of darkness – you are not alone.
To the mother who shared your joyous news early on or were far enough along in your pregnancy for it to be public knowledge, to have to go back and now find a way to explain to everyone your unexplainable loss – you are not alone.
To the mother who desperately tries to maintain your composure when someone, unaware of your situation, unknowingly asks when you are going to have a baby or if you already have children, asks when you are going to have another baby – you are not alone.
To the mother who sees pregnant women everywhere you turn ( whether it be friends, relatives, neighbors, colleagues, or strangers) and the turmoil that results as you battle an emotional rollercoaster of jealousy, guilt, happiness, sadness, questions of why her and not me – you are not alone.
To the mother who has a meltdown every time you view on social media an adorable pregnancy announcement, monthly baby bump photo, ultrasound picture, gender reveal party video, or baby shower theme ideas – you are not alone.
To the mother whose heart shatters into pieces when your sweet children innocently ask when they can have a baby brother or sister, or when they tell Santa that what they really want for Christmas is a new sibling – you are not alone.
To the mother who receives platitudes that do more harm than good, such as “you can have another baby”, “you are only given as much as you can handle”, “it’s just nature’s way”, “at least you already have a child(ren)” – you are not alone.
To the mother who is caught offguard by an unexpected reminder of your very loved and very missed baby, whether it is hearing a song, seeing a date on the calendar, canceling doctor appointments that are no longer needed, or celebrating a holiday with a palpable void – you are not alone.
To the mother who instead of feeling great joy and anticipation, feels great sorrow and anxiety about your approaching due date, as it marks a significant milestone of what was supposed to be, but is no longer – you are not alone.
To the mother who is learning firsthand that everyone handles grief differently, so regardless if you have a loving and supportive spouse or partner, you may feel isolated and disconnected from them as you each navigate the mourning process on your own terms – you are not alone.
To the mother who may not overtly cry or talk about your miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss every day, but rather weeps privately behind closed doors when no one is watching and lives each moment with your beloved child at the forefront of your mind – you are not alone.
To the mother who gets out of bed each day, puts a smile on your face, upholds your normal work or household responsibilities, and bravely sets out to face the world, all the while feeling like a piece of your soul is forever missing – you are not alone.
If you can resonate with any of the above scenarios or know someone that does, please know that somewhere in some corner of the world, there are hundreds if not thousands of other mothers who share a similar pain. Chances are, if you are reading this, you have either personally lived through such anguish or know someone that has. If it is not you, but rather someone else that you care deeply about that has endured this road, pass along these sentiments to them. For as common as this occurs, it is unfortunate that we, as a society, do not talk more openly about the subject. Many of us traveling on this unwanted journey feel that we have no one to turn to; no one that can relate to the depths of our despair.
Let us not forget that we are united in our grief. We are united in our losses. We are united in motherhood. We must hold each other up and be there for one another as a community of support during each other’s time of true need. Even as strangers, we are at times in a unique position of being better equipped to comfort one another than even some of our closest friends and dearest family members. As someone once told me after my own miscarriage, this is a club that no one ever wants to be a part of; a group that no one would ever wish upon anyone else to join. Yet, once you are part of the club, there is no turning back; you can never “undo” the event that caused you to become a member.
Whether you have experienced the profound loss of a baby during pregnancy, at birth or in early years, please always remember that you are not alone. Your heartache is real and it is shared by many others who offer their sincerest love and empathy. Standing together, we are not alone.
Photo credit: adapted from Genista | Flickr