My Story, Shared

watercolor a single small christmas tree decorated with gold and white ornaments in the middle of a clearing in a forest
Image created via Midjourney

I wondered what I would feel like writing on Christmas Day.  Would I feel like recounting the day of delight that my big kids feel when they wake up and find their presents from Santa?  Would I reflect on the past two years of anxiety, waking up on Christmas morning, once pregnant with a baby that I would lose, and once pregnant with a baby that I am now holding?

The answer was chosen for me on Christmas Eve, when my story was shared on the Refuge in Grief Facebook Page and Instagram account.  I had submitted my story recently, as part of the community that had been through the Refuge in Grief writing course.  Much to my surprise, my story was selected on Christmas Eve.  What a wonderful gift, and a perfect tribute to the last few months of sending my words out into the world.

Here is my full submission:

Today, our grief love story comes from Anna Burgess Yang (@annabyang):

The doctor's words hung in the air: "I'm sorry but… your baby has no heartbeat." I started screaming. I was 21 weeks pregnant, far beyond the date where I thought anything bad could happen in pregnancy. I was devastated and confused: my two previous pregnancies had been uneventful - how could this happen? Labor had to be induced so I could deliver. On September 4th, 2015, my daughter Nelle Claudia, was stillborn. The doctors said it was a “fluke.” I became pregnant again shortly after. At a routine appointment, I heard those same words again: “I’m sorry but….” I was 16 weeks pregnant. On February 13th, 2016, my daughter Iris Madeline was born. It was incomprehensible that I was being forced to go through that pain of loss, twice. Labor and delivery, twice. Picking up my daughter’s ashes at a funeral home, twice.

Every day, I am reminded of their absence. It can come in the form of the grocery store checkout, and the seemingly innocuous question “How many children do you have?” Usually, the best I can manage is “We have three at home.” Never quite able to finish with “And we lost two.”

I am constantly responding to the outside world. There were insensitive comments, confused reactions, and deafening silence. I had to fight every inch to allow myself the space I needed, but there are still times when I think “Why? Why do I have to fight? Why is the burden put on the person who is grieving?” It became a conscious choice to not only fight for myself, but also to educate others: there is no right way or wrong way to grieve. I took up that fight, in this community, to stand up for someone else who needs that support and space.

#griefrevolution #tribeofafter #itsokthatyourenotok #grief #refugeingrief