This year has been a learning year for me. I've learned about suffering, faith, pain, friendship. But probably more than anything else, I've learned about miscarriages and how babyloss affects those going through it. Here are a few things we want you, if you've never gone through one before, to know.
1. We all handle it differently. Just because one woman shares openly about her miscarriage doesn't mean another woman will do the same. In fact, one woman might react differently to different miscarriages, talking openly about the first loss and shutting down with the next. No one way to grieve is right. No one way is wrong.
2. Just because we don't talk about our baby doesn't mean we don't hurt. A couple of days, in particular, are painful: the due date, the anniversary of loss, Thanksgiving, Christmas, other special holidays, and October 15th (National Infant Loss Remembrance Day).
3. Another child will never replace the one (or ones) we lost. I have a three-year-old son, whom I delivered before any of my miscarriages. Having him doesn't make my three miscarriages any less painful. We're also adopting a baby boy. We are thrilled about him and so thankful he is in our family. Nonetheless, his presence doesn't make me miss my other babies any less.
4. It's never okay to tell someone when it's time for them to "move on." If they need to grieve, let them. Regardless of how you think they should be reacting.
5. If you want to help, one of the best ways to do so is by remembering the child with the parent. Don't offer words of wisdom (believe me, she'll have plenty of people doing this). Don't give advice. Just listen to her, tell her you love her, and remember with her.
6. Babies are babies, no matter how small. One of my miscarriages occurred at 12 weeks, another at 9, and another at 6. In two of them, we saw heartbeats. In one, we didn't. I love each of these babies equally. A longer pregnancy might be more painful (both physically and emotionally because the mother has had more time to plan for the child), but an early loss is a loss nonetheless. Don't treat an early loss like it's not a babyloss. It IS!
And finally, if you want to know what to say, read over this list. And this one. It might give you some ideas.
To those of you who have miscarried, what else do you want people to know about babyloss?