There is a club that no one wants to be a part of and only members know how expensive the dues are. Just starting this article my stomach is in knots and my eyes are getting misty.
I don’t just write this about myself or my experience. I write this having heard the painful stories of many woman, who like me, have had their heart broken by joining “The Club.” I am not referring to the type of broken heart that occurs when a dating relationship ends, I am referring to the type of broken heart that happens when you lose a baby. The type of pain that almost kills you.
My husband and I were soooooo excited about our 1st pregnancy that we made a video that literally went viral and got thousands of hits before I had even seen a Dr. This was the best and worst thing that happened to me after my miscarriage.
My first ultrasound at 9 weeks was very anticlimactic. The tech felt I wasn’t as far along as I had originally thought and told me not to worry about the fact that we couldn’t find a heartbeat. When we walked out of that room I felt like I was literally dragging my heart with me it was so heavy. I was worried but I’m a professional worrier so I convinced myself everything was fine. We were scheduled to see a specialist 2 weeks later and I was so excited to finally see my little baby that I practically bounced into the ultrasound room. I had no idea that by the end of that appointment they would basically be carrying me out. Again, we had an ultrasound and the tech said I wasn’t as far along as I had thought. I looked at my mom pleading with her to help me make sense of it. Her face said it all. The tech said she was going to get the Dr and left the room. I tried to hold onto the hope that my baby was fine and everything would be cleared up once the Dr checked me. He was stern, matter of fact and delivered the news that I had miscarried and my baby needed to come out as soon as possible because of the risk of infection. He told me off for texting my husband while he was talking to me and left the room, shattering my dreams as he disappeared to more important matters. The rest of the day was a blur of pain, deep pain and my husband holding me while I sobbed. He cried with me that day and I will never forget his love and strength in my rawest moment. I was so mad at my body for letting me down and desperately wanted my miscarriage to happen naturally. I hated the idea of a D&C (a surgical procedure also known as dilation and curettage) and waited over a week before the physiological aspect started to get to me. Maybe there is still hope? Maybe the baby is alive? I ended up having a D&C and realized to avoid countless painful conversations, I now had to inform everyone I was no longer pregnant. I posted online late one night that we would have to wait until we got to Heaven to meet our baby and the instant outpouring of love was insane. Hundreds of people contacted me and shared that I was not alone. To be honest, I didn’t realize how “common” (OHHHHH I HATE THAT TERM) it was until I shared my experience so publicly. Funny enough, the people who touched my broken heart the most were not my closest friends or even my beloved family. It was strangers who spoke right to my pain and told me they knew it. The Dead Baby Club is one in which you don’t choose to join, you just find yourself in it. What someone who has not joined The Club cannot grasp is that; it doesn’t matter “how far along” you were. From the second I saw that + result on the pregnancy test I was a mom, I had a baby, my life was forever changed. I had plans and a future with this child. But then all of a sudden it was all taken from me and I was left wondering if I was even able to have children. One day I asked my husband “will this pain ever go away?” His response that day forever changed me. He said “No it wont, but you have to make a choice to keep going.” He didn’t say “move on” or “get over it” he simply said, “keep going.” I can speak for all “Club Moms” when I say, life can stop when you are mourning and its almost bizarre to you that others continue on while you are in a state of personal unravel. His words broke through my mourning that day and reminded me that I couldn’t stay there, I had to continue. That didn’t mean I had to leave my experience or my baby behind but it meant I couldn’t die there too. A part of you does die when you lose someone you love but I was reminded that there was still a lot left of me and that part could still be of use to this world.
I am honored that so many women have shared their Club stories with me. Stories that break my heart all over again. Stories of moms who have had multiple miscarriages, lost full term babies, infants ,toddlers, teens & adult children. You see, age doesn’t matter, you child is your child. It is the most un-natural thing in the world to lose a child and I want to speak out for every Mom out there who aches with longing and holds tightly to the belief that one glorious day they will be re-united in Heaven with the missing piece of their heart.
So here we go……….
What NOT to say to a mother who has lost a child:
(put together by a community of women who have joined The Club)
I can’t tell you how many well-meaning people said things to me that shredded my heart.
Most importantly, I would like to say, if you do not have any experience with loss: DON’T TRY TO GIVE ADVICE, just be an open ear.
1- It was God’s plan
2- You can just try again
3- It is for the best
4- Everything happens for a reason
5- At least you weren’t very far along
6- God doesn’t give you more than you can handle
7- Be grateful for the children you already have
8- You still have so much to be thankful for (can also apply to infertility issues)
9- God needed him more than you did
10- I can only imagine what you are going through
What to do:
One of the most touching phone calls came from a friend who just called and said “Krystle, I don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry” and then just burst into tears on the other end and we cried together. That was so real and so comforting that I have never forgotten that call. (Thank you Tammy C.)
1- Listen: she may tell you the same story100x, just listen.
2- Do: meet the families practical needs (help with food, cleaning, medical bills, etc) offer to make personal keepsakes such as sewing clothing into a blanket or make a scrapbook BUT do not do anything physical without asking her first. Some find certain items too painful to touch or allow others to touch.
3- Share: A mother who has lost a child wants to know that their baby will not be forgotten. Share your favorite memories with her, send her cards on birthdays and holidays and let her know you are remembering her child with her.
4- Wait: Grief is unpredictable and has no timetable. Be patient with her and never ever tell her to “move on.” Just do your best to walk with her in the valley.