I lost a baby, I am the 1 in 4. My husband and I tried and tried to conceive. When we were finally successful, we were overjoyed. We told our families immediately since they all knew we had been trying for so long. This little baby that we had hoped and prayed for had finally joined our family and we simply couldn’t wait to meet him/her. Then it happened. I woke up bleeding heavily. My heart pounded and I told my husband to call the doctor. I knew immediately what was happening. I knew spotting could happen during pregnancy but this wasn’t spotting.
It felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest when the doctor confirmed what I was already sure was happening. How could my body fail me and my baby like this? How could the one place that was supposed to keep my baby safe, nourished and healthy just give up? To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I was 9 weeks along when we lost our baby.
I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it for a year. I asked my husband to tell our families what happened, and to tell them NOT to talk to me about it. I couldn’t bear it. My heart would break all over again at the slightest mention of babies and pregnancy. I hated my body for betraying me and the baby, but what was worse, was that I was mad at myself for feeling so heartbroken. I felt like I was overreacting, that I shouldn’t be this upset since the baby was “only” 9 weeks along. There are so many other people out there with “real” problems, I was just being selfish. I kept waiting for the pain to go away, or to diminish, but it didn’t.
Finally, I met another woman who miscarried at 10 weeks. She told me her experience and I couldn’t believe how many similarities we shared in our emotional reactions to the loss. It made me realize I wasn’t alone and that my feelings were normal.
This October marks the second year anniversary since we lost our baby. As we approached it, I tried to think of what I could do to help others as that woman helped me. I came up with this project idea: I found 11 local women who have also experienced miscarriages but are now carrying a healthy baby. A successful pregnancy after a loss is called a Rainbow Baby since rainbows appear after a storm. I photographed them making a rainbow to celebrate the beauty that can come from such devastation. All of these women experienced their own fertility struggles, loss, and hardship, but have come out the other end with a successful pregnancy and will soon be meeting their rainbow babies.
My goal is to bring awareness to how common miscarriages are and to provide hope for those that are currently struggling with fertility or loss. Infant loss affects 1 in 4 women. That is such a high number and yet many don’t realize how common miscarriages are. October is Infant Loss Awareness Month so what perfect time for me to share my project and help bring awareness to this devastating problem. So many women suffer in silence. We shut down, we blame ourselves, we feel like failures. I want you all to know that you are not alone, it is not your fault, and that this doesn’t have to mean you will never have a child.
If we begin talking about this and sharing our stories, maybe we can help each other to heal and to destigmatize miscarriages. I lost a baby. I am the 1 in 4.
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