Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

These images are of my living child, who I am eternally grateful for. I have no images to remember my loss, just vivid memories in my mind.

Last week as I was scrolling through social media I saw something that immediately made my heart drop a thousand feet. It was Chrissy Teigen lying on a hospital bed and John Legend right beside her holding her hand. The couple had just lost their baby.

Even writing that out seems surreal. You think that because these two are celebrities, they don’t experience pain or suffering like the rest of us. Despite Chrissy being insanely open and honest about everything you still feel like somehow she is invincible. Then you see what’s happened to her: something so big and so horrific, and in that moment you realize she is only human.  She is still an incredibly strong human for sharing her grief, pain, and suffering. None of us will know whether she shared in this capacity to help her own healing process, or because eventually it is going to come out and this way she can share her story the way its meant to be shared, or if it’s just what felt right to her in that moment.

Regardless of the reason, she has had a huge impact on so many other women and families who have also experienced loss. Although it may not seem like it to her based on some of the ruthless comments she’s received, it is another step towards de-stigmatizing, de-silencing, and de-shaming pregnancy and infant loss. 

After learning that October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, I am channeling some of Chrissy’s strength and the strength of so many other women who have come forward to talk about their losses. I briefly mentioned my miscarriage in my post about what I’ve learned in three years of marriage, but I wanted to be more open about it. By deciding to share my painful experience of loss, I hope to help take away the taboo around talking about it, not just during pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, but every month. I want to help other women know they aren’t alone if their journey to motherhood includes horrible tragedies.

The Immense Pressure To Be Able to Conceive Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

I know it’s pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, but infertility and struggles to have children also has a huge stigma around it, and this too is also part of my story.

McGregor and I decided to start trying to have a child right after our wedding. Honestly, after having a mom who had me at a very young age, I had always assumed getting pregnant was a simple walk in the park. Evidently, it is not; it is like a one in a million chance of all these different factors lining up perfectly.

Anyways, it took what felt like an eternity for anything to happen. As the woman holding more responsibility (as I’m the one who would be carrying this baby for 40 weeks, after all), I felt an immense amount of pressure from so many different sources who kept asking when we would be having a kid or telling us we needed to get on it sooner than later (by the way, I’m still very young so there is no rush on that front but it certainly felt like it!).

As I’m generally a private person (yet here I am spilling it out on my blog), I felt it was no one’s business to know that we were actually trying. But each month I got my period, there was an overwhelming flood of disappointment and un-worthiness. All was made worse while we could still hear people in our ear asking when we were having kids. I had no one to share with, except McGregor, but there’s only so much he understands as he has the wrong parts to relate to it (thank goodness for our sake ;)) and felt very alone in this journey.

Then on June 6, 2018, I took a pregnancy test. It came out positive.

That Guilt Mom’s who Experience Loss Feel Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

I was so over the moon excited that all the hours and many thousands of dollars spent doing acupuncture, going to see a naturopath, and taking various suggested supplements from both had finally paid off. I would be incredibly cautious but still allowed myself to be happy that it had finally worked! That baby we’d be wishing to create for months was finally growing inside of me.

My next hurdle was getting through one of my friend’s stagette’s that coming weekend. No problem. The game plan was to dump out cans, fill with water. Spit shots back into a cup, and drink fake drinks whenever possible. It would be easy peasy. Okay, it wasn’t, but I did it. 

I continued the following week as normal, working long hours and pushing projects forward. On a Tuesday evening, I remember driving home around 8 pm and craving a glass a rose. I knew it was a strange craving as I hadn’t wanted anything but water for the past week. I brushed it off and assumed it was normal. The next morning, I woke up with severe cramping and bleeding.

At that moment, all of the excitement and relief I’d felt came to a rapid halt and a flood of extreme pain and sadness took over me.

My heart was broken like it’s never been broken before. How could I have lost someone that I had only known for such a short time? Someone I’d worked so hard to get? Someone that in all of my control, I tried so hard to give the best home possible?

My February 1st baby wasn’t coming, and it was all my fault. What did I do wrong? Did I not provide a good enough home for this child? What could I have done differently to prevent it? Was I even fit enough to be a mother if I couldn’t grow a human?

The questions spiraled and didn’t stop for a long time. The grief and guilt to this day hasn’t gone away. But every June and February, I quietly send my love to that baby that wasn’t meant to be.

My Light After Having a Miscarriage

Deep down, I know so much of pregnancy is out of your control, but my controlling nature finds it hard to accept that. I’m someone who can always take charge of a situation and fix it—this time, I couldn’t. We stopped trying after that. I needed a break and was emotionally done. 

Three months later, without any effort, we found out we were expecting again, this time with our rainbow baby, Sloane, who is pictured throughout this post.

During my entire pregnancy with Sloane, I never once allowed myself that same relief or happiness I did with my first pregnancy. If I did that, it would become too real, and I would lose another baby.

I don’t believe that pain will ever go away; however, we’d never know Sloane if we had that baby. I know that Sloane carries part of her big sibling’s cells that were inside of me, and their spirit lives on in her.

She is the light of my life, and I’d never want to change the way things worked out, despite all of the heartaches. It is impossible to imagine life without her. She is the most perfect being we ever could have dreamt up. Maybe some of this, coupled with her open-heart surgeries, explains why I’m SO overprotective of her health (me therapizing myself here…).  

I will forever carry this grief and sadness with me, but I still know I am one of the lucky ones who could conceive afterward. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

To those mama’s experiencing this grief, I don’t write this story as a comparison to yours or as a sympathy piece. I write this story to tell you that I hear you, I see you, and you are not alone in this horrible journey. You are strong. You are allowed to feel your pain and cry it out.  You’ve done nothing wrong and nothing to deserve this. And most importantly, you are worthy enough to be a mother.

Comments

  • Sherri

    Thank you for feeling strong enough to write this important post Samantha. Sharing your story will hopefully help to make room for other women or families to share their stories and know that miscarriages are real. Difficulty conceiving is real. Imperfect pregnancies are real. And people shouldn’t worry about telling their story because it’s taboo. Or that you’ll be judged by others. I’m so proud of you. Xoxo

    • Samantha

      Thank you so much. Especially for your unconditional love and support during those very dark hours. XOXO

  • Erin

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Samantha. I can’t even begin to understand what you went through, but I know a lot of women do & definitely need to hear this. It’s so important that talking openly about miscarriage & other pregnancy issues is destigmatized, so women do not feel alone in going through it. I’m so happy for you that you have Sloane now, and of course, that part of her sibling’s spirit lives with her.

    • Samantha

      Thank you so much for your kind words and understanding. I do feel so fortunate for Sloane now but hope I can help others who might be going through the same thing understand that they are not alone. XO

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