I am a firm believer in the sisterhood and tribe mentality. As women, I feel it is part of our magic and strength to support other women. This takes time, patience, and practice. I know I am not perfect at it. But the one place where I tend to struggle most is when I interact with other loss mamas. For me, loss has been so personal and full of lots of difficult and dark emotions. Early on in my grief, I made the mistake of assuming that all women who had suffered a miscarriage felt exactly the same. I had other women make the same mistake with me, and each time it stung. How did we not all feel the same? And why did I feel so upset when we didn’t?
These questions caused me to remove myself from the loss community for a while. It even affected a very important friendship that was born out of my loss. I began to surround myself with noise that had nothing to do with loss. But distracting myself from my childless, grief-ridden reality was worse than acknowledging it. I missed the community of those who understood aspects of what I had gone through. So I became active again in my Facebook support groups and eventually was led to Still Standing, where I’ve been contributing for over a year now. And I have found that when I take the time to listen and hear other women’s stories, it is powerful. It is healing.
Related Post: To My Friend Who Had A Miscarriage
Now I try to continue just having an open heart.
I let go of my attachment to my own loss narrative and try not to bring it into my interactions with other women. I remind myself that it’s okay if someone did not name their unknown baby. That it’s okay if they don’t feel anger or if they feel hopeful. Just because our emotions surrounding loss are different, does not mean that the losses did not impact all of us in one way or another. And even if a woman’s loss did not impact her, that is okay too.
I don’t know why it took me so long to feel this way. Perhaps because my only way through grief was kicking and screaming. Or maybe because now that I have a rainbow baby I realize the vast land of motherhood is made beautiful by the many different types of parenting philosophies. Just as there is no one right way to mother a living child, there is no one right way to mother and grieve a lost one.
Related Post: Finding My Babyloss Mama Tribe
So I just want to say that I am sorry to other loss mamas.
I apologize if I did not speak up if you told me you had suffered a miscarriage. Or if I spoke up but assumed you were devastated. I am sorry for assuming anything at all and not just taking the time to listen if you wanted to share. Being the mother of a dead child is no easy thing. We all cope and grieve and try to heal in our own ways. It does not matter the differences. What matters is that we make space for one another. But from now on I will try to be better. From now on, I will hold a space for each of you should you want it. From now on, cultivating a sisterhood in loss will begin with me.
Feature Photo by Becca Tapert
Heidi Beltran is the mother of Talia Luna, who was lost to a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks in April of 2016, and her Rainbow Baby, Atlas Delilah Rose, born December 2017. You can follow her on Instagram to see her journey.