Can I Talk About My Babies?

It has gotten easier to talk about pregnancy loss.

watercolor of two sad trees that have lost most of their leaves with clouds in the background
Image created via Midjourney

It's been a busy week. I did a lot of writing between client work, my newsletter, and NaNoWriMo (an annual challenge for writers to write 50,000 words in one month). It's Friday, my brain is a bit tired, and Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend — meaning that the already dark evenings will be even darker.

I also got the opportunity to talk about Nelle and Iris this week. And while that type of conversation always brings my emotions to the surface, I noticed that it wasn't as draining as it has been in the past.

The first was participating in a research study about returning to work after pregnancy loss. I answered questions about how I felt, company policies, what changed in my relationship with work, and more. It's now been so long that I had to think back, trying to remember the details. Some moments are burned in my memory, like the coworker who told me that my grief was "irrelevant" to our work. Others were a bit fuzzier.

Then I attended a SHARE meeting, the first I've been to since before the pandemic. A friend of mine had planned to attend — her first support group meeting — and I wanted to be there for her. I told her that it took me a year to attend my first meeting, but I found it to be so beneficial. The people in the group truly understood pregnancy loss. It was the group of people "inside" - inside that world, that horrible club that no one wants to be part of. Everyone else is "outside."

But my friend got tied up at the last minute. And since it's been so long since I've attended a meeting, I didn't know anyone other than the moderator. They were all much earlier in their grief journeys, from a few months out to the first year or two.

One woman talked about carrying the loss for a lifetime. Seeing people at the Walk to Remember a few weeks ago — people who had lost a baby ten or fifteen years ago — made her realize that she will always be carrying the memory of her daughter.

I acknowledged that this is true. But I told her that it does get easier. Now, seven years later, it's not constant. It's not as hard. It never goes away, but it no longer hits from all sides every day.

Like this week. I was able to talk about my babies for the research study and at the SHARE meeting. In the early days, that would have flattened me. I would have been so emotionally drained that I couldn't do much else. I'd often come home from SHARE meetings and be unable to sleep because my head was swirling with sadness.

But now, talking about my babies doesn't permeate the rest of my day. I'm emotional in the moment but can keep going.

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