by Amy Green
It is my story, it may be your story, it is the story of some of my friends, and strangers I have yet to know. An undeniable and powerful common thread throughout history for women is the ability to become a mother. The journey to motherhood is where our differences begin, honoring and respecting each other, as we etch our unique story into our lives.
At a loss for words. Silence. Stillness.
These are some of the words that begin to describe the start of one of the most powerful and meaningful moments of my life. The doctor confirmed that I had miscarried. Tears eventually came, streaming down my face, as I tried to collect my thoughts and prepare myself for the journey that now stood before me.
This grief overtook me, felt like it had begun to consume me. My heart was broken open, raw, and I felt powerless. I was grieving what I had hoped for, what I had dreamed of, what was a beautiful experience within me, and what I now knew was gone. As the initial waves of grief passed, I found myself carrying a fear to share my story- fear of being judged, being rushed through grief due to someone else’s discomfort with these feelings, of hearing unhelpful words by someone who is honestly trying to be helpful- all of which isolated me and complicated my grief further.
The duality of having courage and fear in walking through this journey are feelings I know well. Having courage for myself, hope for my future, while being terrified and scared at the same time. I knew creating meaning around this loss was essential for me to move through this experience and forward, also aware that I am forever changed by this beautiful life that picked me to be its mother.
As a social worker and yogi, cultivating continued awareness and practicing self-care were essential.
For me, this meant connecting with others who had walked this journey before, asking for help and support, being present with my emotions and allowing myself to fully feel the loss. As people asked me “how are you?”, this meant not shying away from vulnerability and saying “I am doing fine,” it meant showing up for myself, being vulnerable, brave, and speaking- “I am struggling today” or “I am sad,” and then receiving support from others and allowing myself to find comfort.
According to the CDC, around 6 out of 1,000 pregnancies will inevitably result in perinatal loss. Perinatal loss, for the purposes of this blog, is defined as any loss experienced from gestation through early infant death. In 2015, this is still a story of many women in their journey to motherhood.
An essential component to moving through perinatal loss is awareness.
Internal awareness of where you are and what you need, but also awareness of resources and support within your local community. There are links throughout this article of resources that have been helpful throughout this journey. If you would like more information about how to get engaged or involved in creating awareness of perinatal loss, or looking for other resources please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy Green is a Licensed Masters Social Worker and yoga teacher. Amy received her Masters in Social Work from the University at Buffalo and has studied yoga through Baron Baptiste, the Himalayan Institute, Mindful Motion Yoga Center and Yoga Harmony. She believes in the integration and healing of the mind-body through the application of mindfulness, self-care, trauma informed care practices, and yoga. Amy is a partner and COO of The Love Letter Library, a movement created to celebrate, cultivate, and spread love throughout the world. Amy is currently creating a nonprofit that connects and creates awareness with/for women who have experienced perinatal loss. For information, resources, or to connect, please email Amy at email@example.com.