pregnancy-and-infancy

Pregnancy & Infancy Loss Awareness Month

Rachel Oliver honestly

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

1 year, 7 months and 12 days ago I lost my son to a pregnancy complication. He was just 20 weeks along and I was heartbroken.

Grief came on me in waves. One day I’d be okay and get through normal tasks, while the next I could hardly keep the sobs at bay and was lucky to make it from my bedroom to the living room. Although my husband was grieving just as deeply as I was, his grief looked different than mine, and sometimes I felt alone – like no one understood or even cared what I was going through. Reminders that others shared my pain and that I was so-very-loved came in different shapes and forms: phone calls, flowers, meals, cards and visits.

Hello, Dearest,
You are not alone.

It was that love that helped me then and continues to strengthen me today. If you know someone who has experienced a loss (during pregnancy or after), you might be unsure of what to say or do. Here are a few things that blessed me and may help you reach out to a hurting friend:

ASK.

“How are you?” can be a flippant greeting or the question of a caring friend. Ask how your friend is doing when you have the time to listen and give your friend your full attention, and where the two of you won’t be interrupted. She may not be ready or need to talk right then, but it shows that you care about her and her child. If her answer is short, don’t press it. Give her the opportunity to share but the space to be quiet.

GIVE.

Flowers, cards and meals all show a hurting mom that she is cared for and loved (dad too!). And don’t stop after a week or a month. Sending a card 6 months down the road or at a special marker or anniversary reminds a hurting mom that you remember and care.

CRY.

One of my most poignant memories is crying with my doctor when we realized that we were losing my son. I also cried with friends and family members. Allowing your own sadness to show comforts a mom and lets a mom know that you loved her child and that you are mourning with her. Just be careful not to allow your grief to become a burden to your hurting friend.

BE PRESENT.

It can be uncomfortable to spend time with someone who is mourning but having a friend or family member around comforted me in a way nothing else would. It didn’t matter what we were doing – going for a walk, watching a movie or making dinner – just having someone around allowed me to focus on something other than my grief. And gave me the space to talk about my sadness if and when I needed to.

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a special time set aside to recognize the loss so many parents experience. It also is meant to inform and provide resources to parents who have lost children during pregnancy or infancy. To learn more visit hiringforhope.org/pregnancy-infant-loss-awareness.html.

Maybe you have your own story of pregnancy or infant loss. Include a snippet of your story below so we moms can hold each other and grieve together.

Things have gotten crazy in the Oliver household recently, as Rachel and husband James welcomed a sweet bundle of joy wrapped in pink {Reagan Leigh} to their home. The road to parenthood hasn’t been an easy one but Rachel is amazed at how God carried her through the bumps to new, exciting places. When not editing, writing or brainstorming for work at MOPS International, she enjoys playing with and trying to get a “ma ma” out of her little Sweet Pea. Connect with Rachel on Twitter@rachelroliver, on the Hello, Darling blog or her personal blog Rachel & Reagan.