I’ve been a member of the loss community for 3 years now.
I’ve “celebrated” Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month for 3 years, since my missed miscarriage.
Since then I have gone on to have a stillborn son at 32 weeks, 5 days gestation and a pregnancy with twin daughters.
After Asher was born still, social media (particularly Instagram), became a lifeline for me. I found myself connecting with so many other parents who knew the loss of a child – people who have lost their child days, months, even years before I lost Asher.
People who I like to call the “veterans,” the ones who have been living with grief longer than me, the ones who helped me so much in the rough initial months of life after loss. Reading about their child/ren and grief helped me process my own.
It confirmed that I wasn’t alone and that my child mattered.
I didn’t have to try to “move on” (I HATE that phrasing) from my son. I could move FORWARD with him.
I learned of so many resources that were at my disposal; non-profits, websites, books, events, etc.
I learned of the community of parents who are missing a piece of their heart, just like me.
They helped me see that it’s okay to share my son and the emotions that come along with losing him.
Instagram connected me with a lot of people who lost children around the same time that I lost Asher.
There are a bunch of us who all lost our children around the same time and went on to have our babies after loss within weeks of each other. We virtually walked the difficult minefield of pregnancy after loss and continued on the road of parenting after loss together.
I’ve connected with parents who have lost children after I’ve lost Asher. I’ve learned from them that my story helped them in their grief; much like the “veterans” helped me with mine. I’ve seen these parents go on to form stronger connections with others who lost a child/ren around the same time as them, just like I have.
Some of my relationships have extended past the virtual world of social media into real life. I’ve exchanged numbers with, gave hugs (in person) to, and mailed little gifts to people I would’ve never known existed without social media.
People who have helped me (I hope I’ve also helped them) after the devastating loss of a child.
Three years in and I continue to see more and more people join this unwanted “club”; days, months, years after I’ve lost Asher. The friend requests come in with recent birth/death dates and it absolutely breaks my heart to know that this pain continues to spread.
Blissful parents continue to have the rug pulled out from under them.
Their lives forever changed.
However, I continue to be amazed by this community.
I’ve seen strong connections made between people who lost a child several years ago and those who lost one only days ago.
I’ve seen lifelong friendships rise from the ashes of such a devastating loss. I’ve watched and personally experienced as these relationships extend beyond social media.
While I wish I never had to know of this community, that my life didn’t know this type of devastating loss, I am proud to be a member of it.
I am proud to say that we all support one another in our pain.
I am proud to say that my son connected me with some pretty amazing people, who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Our connections are a testament to our children’s existence.
I am proud to know that my son has helped others with their grief.
I am proud of us, of our community.
I am proud that we share our stories not just during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness
By doing this, we have helped others and formed connections that we can lean on for years to come and that is pretty amazing
Amy Lied is a wife and a mother to her son, Asher, who was inexplicably born still on February 19th, 2017 and twin daughters. Before losing Asher, she suffered a miscarriage and struggled with unexplained infertility. She has documented her journey from the beginning of her infertility struggles on her blog, Doggie Bags Not Diaper Bags. She is also a co-founder of The Lucky Anchor Project , an online resource for loss families that houses an Etsy store whose profits are donated to loss family non-profit organizations. She hopes to help others by sharing her journey as she continues to navigate the bumpy road that is life after loss.