One of the most difficult things to experience is pregnancy loss. It can happen as it often does, in the first trimester, or far later, resulting in the devastation of a stillborn delivery. Sometimes parents have to make the heartbreaking decision to choose between the baby’s life and Mom’s. Regardless of circumstances, these are horrible losses for any parent to face. Unfortunately, our society sometimes makes it even more difficult by writing such losses off as less painful than the loss of a child months or years after birth. The fact is, there is no loss that is not painful, and with pregnancy loss often comes a feeling of failure as well. Did I exercise too much or too little? Did I eat or drink the wrong thing? I had a glass of wine before I knew I was pregnant; did that hurt the baby? So many questions, and so few solid answers.
As with any loss, parents often ask me, “When will I stop grieving? When will the pain go away? When will I feel over this?” The answer is both “in a while” and “never.” In a while, the pain will subside. In a while, you will be able to think or talk about the loss without crying. In a while, you will be able to talk with others about it. In a while, you may feel ready to try again. But you will also never forget the baby that died, or the pregnancy that abruptly ended, and reminders will catch you unawares. Even years later, a TV show, a daughter’s miscarriage, or a friend’s stillbirth story can trigger unexpected tears. It’s just the way grief works.
I heard a saying once, and it has stuck with me through many different losses: pregnancy loss, deaths of loved ones, having to put down a beloved but terminally ill pet dog. “Grief is the price we pay for love.” For me, it puts the pain of loss into perspective. The more love I have felt for whoever or whatever was lost, the harder I grieved for it. I find comfort in that. It is a validation of a loss that mattered. And in a world where such losses can at times be trivialized, the depth of the grief is the proof otherwise.