Which club am I in?
Am I in the Mom Club? No, the Mom Club’s conversations consist of breastfeeding, teething, bottle feeding, and starting solid foods.
Am I in the Loss Mom Club? The answer is most definitely yes, but even in that club, I feel isolated.
Every mom who has suffered a pregnancy loss has a very unique story. Preterm birth. Slips and falls and car accidents. Genetic problems or fatal diagnoses. Cord accidents. Pre-eclampsia. Problems with the cord or the placenta. The list does not end there.
And then there is gestational age. 4 weeks to 42 weeks. Chemical pregnancies and blighted ovum and molar pregnancies. The number of things that can go wrong at any time in pregnancy seems infinite, and they all come with very unique kinds of pain.
Shortly after I lost my daughter to a cord accident at 32 weeks, I began searching for anyone who had the exact same experience that I had. I met loss mom after loss mom, through mutual friends and social media.
Yet, I could find no one who shared my exact experience.
Even within this club where we all suffer the same pain – the loss of children – I yearn to find someone who feels everything that I feel. I long to feel less isolated within this club that by its very nature, is isolating.
I relate most to those women who lost their baby in the 3rd trimester. Not because the number of weeks has any bearing on the intensity of the pain endured, but because I relate to the false hope these women received for what seemed like a lifetime of pregnancy.
“Just wait till 12 weeks – then you are safe. Smooth sailing from there.”
While I always knew this wasn’t true, the statistics and the certainty of others gave me hope. I became more hopeful and prepared for holding a live baby in my arms when I entered the 3rd trimester.
I started counting down the weeks to when I would see her eyes open and find out what she looked like.
It simply didn’t seem as if I could possibly lose it all in a blink of an eye, but I did.
Don’t get me wrong, even when I was pregnant with Leia, I was always nervous that something might happen. I was generally anxious from the very start of pregnancy. I Googled every food and drink before I put it in my body.
I never wanted to count my chicks before they hatched (a phrase that takes on a whole new meaning for me now), wrongly thinking that detachment would make a loss less painful.
So, I never bought her an outfit. Coworkers would ask me if I had purchased an outfit for her yet. No, I said. I was so frightened that something could go wrong, that I worried I might jinx it by buying her an outfit.
Even though I had gotten through both the first and second trimesters without issue, I was uncertain.
We waited until I was 31 weeks pregnant to send out baby shower invitations. So while I never imagined that I would wake up one day and not feel her moving, I was still wary of taking my pregnancy for granted.
My detachment proved ineffective. A week after we sent those shower invitations, Leia was dead.
Those who could not attend our shower had already sent gifts to the house. When we returned home from the hospital, gifts were waiting for us at the front door, and still continued to arrive for the next few days from those who learned of Leia’s death just a day or two after they mailed their gift.
My attempts to refrain from counting those chicks did me absolutely no good.
So what club am I in? Is there someone else out there whose baby girl died of a cord accident at 32 weeks? Who mailed her baby shower invitations a week before?
Who regrets never purchasing their daughter an outfit or a toy?
Who spent 24 hours in induction before their daughter was born? Whose hospital did not have a cooling device to put in the bassinet, so they spent about 3 hours with their baby before seeing her deteriorate became too much?
Who did not give their baby a funeral and later regretted it?
Whose milk came in 4 days after giving birth, and during those 4 days, dreaded the arrival of that milk, yet wanted it anyway, as evidence her daughter was here? Whose relationship with their baby began after she died?
Who went into a frenzy of projects and fundraisers and facebook posts in a desperate effort to inform others that she desperately wants to talk about her baby, even though it will bring on an onslaught of tears?
Will the members of THAT precise club please step forward?
Until then, I remain in a not-so-specific club. And that’s okay.
Because I know each of the club members also wants to find that one person with that mirror image experience. Someone whose pain reflects their own, so they can know without a doubt that their grief is “normal.”
And in that, we can all relate.