I saw a post that today is dedicated to creating awareness about pregnancy loss and infant loss. I am so glad to see that pregnancy loss is recognized as the loss on the same emotional scale as infant loss.
I remember our infertility doctor trying to minimize the loss we felt with each failed procedure, characterizing the balls of cells we saw on the monitor minutes before they were injected in to Lisa’s uterus as cellular divisions that really were only potential life, not real life.
We lost a lot of babies
Over the course of six years of infertility we felt the joy of hope with each transferred embryo, followed by a rush of despair and sadness when the cycles failed. Our embryologists said the embryos were “absorbed,” but the truth is, their failure to implant was a miscarriage.
We created more than forty embryos, and ultimately lost 39 of them. Think about that. Most people don’t endure that much loss in their lifetime unless they are in a military conflict or a natural disaster.
Pregnancy loss needs to be grieved
Like any loss, there are never any perfect words to say. There are things not to say. Like “it just wasn’t meant to be” or “God has a different plan for you.”
That’s tantamount to saying God struck down all those potential children for no reason and we should just be okay with it. I couldn’t disagree more. The only words Lisa wanted to hear were “I’m sorry for your loss.” Some people were even brave enough to say “I’m sorry your baby died.”
You can say the word miscarriage
It’s okay to use the word miscarriage when you talk to a couple that was pregnant and lost a baby. For me, it validated what we had lost, although it didn’t make it any easier when we went to a family birthday or holiday where other children were present.
Not a second went by when we weren’t picturing what could have been, the games our lost embryos might have played if they’d been at our nephew’s 3rd birthday party, the costume our child would have worn at Halloween, the presents we would have had under the tree at their first Christmas.
Those ghosts haunt you, even after you finally have a child. Then you wonder if they would have been a gentle big brother, a snotty older sister, or best buddies, inseparably riding their bikes on hot summer days, and telling stories about the adventures until way past the time when their parents said they should go to bed.
For the guys: be a soft place to fall
For my infertility brothers, there are no words you can say that are going to fill up the space left by a miscarriage. We instinctively want to fix things, make them better, but at the end of the day, all we really have is our shoulder as a soft place for a loved one’s tears to fall.