Infertility, miscarriage, and infant loss all hold the power to break you. The weight from each one can often feel too heavy to bear. At times people compare these experiences trying to minimize one experience over another but the truth is they hold far more similarities than differences and the significance and the lasting effects cannot be minimized.
Years of negative pregnancy tests, an early ultrasound with no heartbeat or being told your baby won’t live can change who you are forever. Having experienced all three I can say from my perspective as different as each experience was, my heart felt very similar.
Hearing someone experienced any one of these heartbreaking journeys my first thought instantly is ”wow that is so hard”, and how sorry I am for them. What I don’t think is “when the time is right they will get pregnant, or maybe they could just adopt”. I never think “Oh well at least they can get pregnant and have another” or ”thank goodness it was early something had to be wrong with the baby”. I certainly don’t think “well at least the baby died before they really knew them and got attached”.
Truth is you love a baby the minute you want one, not just when you conceive physically but when you conceive mentally. Wanting a baby isn’t like wanting a puppy it is a biological deep seeded desire, one that you feel with your whole being. Every month that passes is a loss. Each month and every treatment you are convinced this month will be different and then when it fails you are crushed beyond what anyone can imagine.
You are not being emotionally spared by having a loss earlier rather than later and there is no comfort in knowing you can try again since no matter how many babies you have it will never be the one you lost. Offering the idea that it was okay because something must have been wrong with the baby is tricky, even though we all hope for a healthy baby, we don’t love an unhealthy one any less. All babies matter even the ones who die very early on or happen to have complications.
To assume I didn’t know my son when he died 22 minutes after birth is only true to a degree. I didn’t know his favourite colour or food, and I didn’t know if he would be funny or serious. He didn’t get a chance to experience those things but if you could see inside my heart and see the strings that span from mine to his you would see how deeply rooted they are and how much we truly knew each other. We know each other differently and arguably more deeply than anyone else since that was the only way we were acquainted was through our hearts. There is nothing more powerful, deeper or more beautiful than a connection purely from the heart.
All three of these experiences will leave you in a sea of tears wondering if they will ever stop. You question if you were ever really meant to be a Mom. You wonder why me. Your heart is broken, a piece of you is forever lost. Your innocence of becoming a parent is destroyed as you are now aware you are not guaranteed a happy ending.
So as you can see there may be plenty to point out that is different amongst the experiences but what truly matters is how your heart is affected and from that perspective, they are all so similar. A loss is a loss and it deeply hurts.
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash