Category Archives: Health and Beauty

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness



The month of October is just about over and I would be remiss if I did not mention that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month with the 15th being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I candidly wrote about my late term pregnancy loss last year in the post Ambiguous Loss. That was the start of the healing process. Fast forward a year later, I was fortunate to have another child. As joyous as it has been to be a mother to a living and breathing child, I still think about the baby I lost and it still hurts like it happened yesterday.

Throughout the month of October, my Facebook timeline was filled with quotes and articles about pregnancy and infant loss. I decided, now more than ever, to not scroll past the posts. I was going to read and participate in the conversation.

Last year I joined the Facebook group Hannah’s Heart and Love – Baby Loss. I was encouraged anytime I read a post from this group. When they posted an invitation for an event to remember our babies, I made sure my calendar was clear. I’m not one for support groups or openly talking about my feelings but something deep down urged me to go so that I could mourn healthier (yes there are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with grief) and so that I could be emotionally available for my new baby. I’m so glad I went.

As I walked through the door, I was immediately hit with somber music. It took enormous inner strength to not break down and cry as soon as I entered the building. I knew this event would revive some painful memories and I realized, through the interaction of others, that I did not have to be strong all the time. Crying is ok and remembering is crucial to healing.

Breaking the ice was a bit difficult. What do you say to other families whom you know have lost a loved one? One person pointed to the program and asked me which child was mine and I ackwardly asked someone when did she loose her child (she had not lost a child. She was just volunteering). Eventually the conversations started flowing and I was amazed at how effortless these families discussed their tragedies. They discussed everything from hospital experiences, post death pictures, and medical diagnoses. They were happy to talk about their children. They were not ashamed or afraid to share their stories. I met a family who had twins and only one survived, and another family whose baby lived for just an hour. Then there was myself, whose baby was born still.

A year ago, I was offended by people outside of my close circle asking me what happened to my pregnancy. It was personal and their questioning was intrusive. I had no problem discussing the loss with my close family and friends when asked, but I did not immediately bring it up for fear of creating a somber environment and not wanting people to think I was fishing for sympathy.

After talking to the other families, listening to poems, and a message from a clergyman, I realized that no matter what gestational age, a pregnancy loss must still be acknowledged. Too often people will say “I was only a few weeks pregnant.”  Be it 1 month or 6 months, the unborn child brings so much hope and anticipation to families. For women, every pain and discomfort is a reminder of life forthcoming. When that child is gone from your body it is heart breaking. I also learned that we must, including myself, speak about the loss in the effort to help other who are going through similar situations. As an African American women it is even more important. Still births affect African American women at a higher rate than other ethnic groups.

Support is fundamental for the entire family. Although women carry the children, fathers have also lost a child. Other children must be brought into this grieving process as well as other relatives like grandparents.

There are tons of resources for anyone who needs support. Hannah’s Heart and Love – Baby Loss provides care packages for women who have lost their babies as well as books and other useful resources. Throughout this journey, I have also found the March of Dimes to be a wonderful and supportive resource.

Many thanks again to the organizers of Hannah’s Heart and Love – Baby Loss for organizing the event and helping us to remember our babies.

We remember our babies on the tree of lifeimage

Ambiguous Loss


My baby girl’s footprints

Shortly after the Malaysian airliner disappeared, I listened to a podcast about Loss on NPR.  For the families of those who were onboard the plane, their lost was characterized as an Ambiguous Loss; a lost that you can’t quite come to grips with because you just simply do not know what happened. At the time the story aired, I tried to think about a time I felt this type of loss. I did have a few relationships, platonic and romantic, that seemed to end without cause.  I could not, however, compare that loss to what the families were going through.

Fast forward several weeks later…

On April 15, 2014, I went for my routine Dr. visit. The nurse and the Dr. both asked me questions about my baby’s movements. I explained that I rarely, if ever felt her move. They looked at me perplexed. Even when the machines were hooked up to me and told me that she was moving, I was barely able to decipher her movements. The fact that I didn’t feel her move wasn’t alarming to me. Throughout my pregnancy, I had not missed an appointment.  Despite some minor complications along the way (low iron, fibroids, dehydration, etc), I left every appointment with positive news and my test results revealed that baby and I were doing fine.

As the Dr. tried to find a heartbeat and failed, I began to feel lifeless and limp. I calmly grabbed my things and told my parents, who were waiting for me in the waiting room, that I needed to go to the hospital.

“This could not be happening to me. This is just a bad dream”.

Just a few days before my scheduled appointment, my family and friends gathered and put together an amazing baby shower. How can a celebration of life be quickly erased with the thought of death.

Within an hour of my arrival to the hospital, my deepest fear had been confirmed, our baby girl had passed away. The Dr. commented on how stoic and unemotional I was. I was in shock.  When my parents came in the room, I told them matter-of-factly that my baby was dead.  The memory of their reaction will forever be imbedded in my memory just as the reaction of my husband when he came to the hospital from work.  In those few hours, my hopes and dreams were dashed, but I quickly realized that my loss was not my loss singularly,  but a loss to my village of family and friends.

By the time I checked out of the hospital, less than 24 hours after I was admitted, I delivered my baby, held her, caressed her tiny feet and said goodbye with my family, hospital staff, and clergy around me. It was a surreal experience and all I could think about was this concept of ambiguous loss.

I attempted to search for answers as to why this happened to me, what I could have done differently and who I could blame.  I quickly realized that the blame game provides neither comfort nor answers. I also had to realize that I may never get answers and I will have to live with the ambiguity of not knowing, just as the families of the missing airplane.

Nothing and I mean nothing can ease the pain of losing a child (whether they pass in the womb or after you birth them). The only thing that has provided some comfort thus far is knowing that I have a strong support system of friends and family as well as knowing that no matter how short- lived, I am a mother.

Pictures of me at baby shower - a few days before I found out our baby girl had passed.

Pictures of me at baby shower – a few days before I found out our baby girl had passed.