Pregnancy And Infant Loss Awareness
As many might know October 14th – November 1st is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The shocking truth is that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage or stillbirth, for many families there are no answers as to why. With this number being so high, there is still such a stigma associated with pregnancy or infant loss. No one ever knows what to say to the person in distress and if they do say something, chances are it’s not helpful. I have personally heard of many people reacting with “at least you weren’t further along” or “You can always try again” and so many more. These are not the right things to say and though you mean well, these words hurt.
Cuddle Bear Bottoms is a proud supporter of The Pink and Blue Project, this project is meant to spread awareness against the stigma associated with infant or pregnancy loss. We have a few products that were designed specifically for this project by Baby Basic. In addition to these items being adorable, a portion of the money spent to buy them goes to families suffering pregnancy or infant loss. Money collected is given to non-profit organizations Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death (M.E.N.D), Molly Bears, and Heavens Gain. M.E.N.D is a Christian organization; it offers a variety of monthly support groups and they host annual remembrance ceremonies. Molly Bears make weighted teddy bears to fill the empty arms of families enduring the loss of a baby at no cost to the family. Heaven’s Gain provides free services (baby loss Doula’s and grief counseling) and products to purchase at a reduced rate (caskets, urns and memorial gifts) for families suffering the loss of a child.
The Pink and Blue Project holds a special place in my heart, because like so many others I have suffered a miscarriage. Sadly, I am in the 2% that has suffered multiple miscarriages all around 9 weeks of the pregnancy. Fortunately for me, the doctors figured out the cause of my miscarriages and I was able to sustain my next 3 pregnancies. I don’t normally share this information because it is very private to me but would hope my story helps others heal. My first miscarriage happened when I was a junior in high school, when I realized I was pregnant I was too scared to tell anyone. I had no clue I was pregnant with twins till the day I started miscarrying. I passed the first baby naturally at home but something wasn’t right and my parent noticed. They brought me to the hospital where doctors noticed I still had a baby in me and assisted me in passing it so that I didn’t need a D&C. As a teenager, I didn’t let any of this affect me, I pretended it never happened and I wouldn’t talk to anyone about it. As an effect of not talking to anyone, I felt completely isolated for the remainder of high school.
I never knew the impact this experience would have on me till a few years later when I found out I was pregnant again. I was happy but was also kind of dreading it; I tried doing everything completely different since I thought my previous miscarriage was my fault. I told lots of people, I went to the OBGYN right away, and started restricting my foods and activity to make sure everything was pregnancy safe. Even with taking all the precautions, I was still scared I would miscarriage, and then came the day when my 2nd miscarriage started. This time, I did have the emotional support, but I still wouldn’t talk about it with anyone, I took their kind words as just that… kind words. I got a tattoo to remember the baby I lost, my family thought it was insane and I was even told it was “disgusting” and “inappropriate” but it was my way to grieve. As a result, I felt these miscarriages were somehow my fault. When I became pregnant a third time, I didn’t allow myself to be happy or excited because I didn’t think the pregnancy would last. Now that I have my 3 healthy children and the causes of my miscarriages was found, I know now they were not my fault but, a hormonal issue.
I am sharing my experience because I honestly wish I knew how common miscarriages were when I suffered mine. I wish I knew that whatever you feel after a miscarriage, is okay to feel and it’s completely normal. I wish I knew that grieving a baby that “was never a real baby” was something completely normal to do. I wish I knew what kind of support there was available for families suffering losses. If I went back in time, I’m not sure how different my experience would’ve been, but it is comforting to think that I am not alone in my experience. Pregnancy and infant loss is not something to be ashamed of or something that needs to be hidden and never talked about. I am so thankful there are organizations like The Pink and Blue Project that spread awareness because Pregnancy and Infant loss is something real and tragic that happens far too often.