Hello, I am Wendi.
I grew up charmed and sheltered. I still have all of my grandparents at age 31 and have never lost so much as a pet. Pregnancy loss was not something I had ever encountered until I began working on the labor and delivery unit at our hospital.
And then, the unthinkable happened… We lost our first baby when I was 37 weeks pregnant. Again, I had coasted through nursing patients on labour and delivery convincing myself it wouldn’t happen to me. This is an ode to all of you dear mothers who also wished it had never happened to you. This is what I want you to know about your loss, and the path you find yourself on.
There are stages of grief, and they are not linear.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross published a widely accepted grief model that is a basis of where to start to understand the grief you will experience. In my opinion, your family and friends should develop an understanding of this too, for it can dramatically affect our behaviour. The stages are: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
I thought I would go through each of these and once I was done, I was through it and would be done grieving. That would be so nice. In my experience however, I bounced back and forth, some of the stages would only last a day or two while others lasted weeks. Now, four years later, the stages come in spurts.
Everyone experiences grief and baby loss differently.
Someone may have lost a baby at an earlier gestation than you and they may seem to be grieving much deeper, or vice versa. Grief is individual and we never know what another person is going through on top of their grieving. Our health, relationships, spirituality, finances, and more are all affected by this tragic event and may all be wreaking havoc on our ability to grieve. So we must all remember loss is tragic and everyone deserves whatever support they need.
It gets better.
I vividly remember feeling a deep black hole in my heart, the grip of grief on my throat preventing me from breathing. But now, four years later, life is easier, grief is easier, finding joy is easier. It is not this way for everyone (see number 2), but I have confidence that with proper support… healing can and will come.
I have a wonderful husband, and we both get to work as registered nurses in Saskatoon. We have two beautiful girls, Aurora (3) and Behati (5 months). There is another child who is missing, his name is Harris and he would be 4 years old.
We lost Harris when I was 36 weeks pregnant, and we will never know the cause. I had a wonderful and blessed pregnancy, but he was taken before we were ready. We believe that he is in heaven, watching over the four of us now and we live everyday to its fullest because of him. We want to make him and our most capable babysitter (Jesus) proud!
One of the things we are passionate about is raising awareness about perinatal loss and helping support other parents the way we were supported. Our family has done an outstanding job supporting, protecting, encouraging and listening in the last four years especially and we want to make sure others have that same experience.
We would also not be where we are today without the local non-profit organization – Empty Arms Perinatal Loss services. The men and women who devote countless hours to the work Empty Arms does are all heroes.
Motherhood is the most rewarding and challenging job I have ever taken on. There are many different kinds of amazing moms – working moms, stay at home moms, moms who are minorities, refugees, single moms, the list goes on. I am a kind of mom I never asked to be… I have a son in heaven.
Being a mom to these two angels with us and our son in heaven is the greatest gift. There is no other teacher like motherhood of love, grace, humility, strength and endurance. I’m so grateful to the mothers in my life who I continue to glean from, and from awesome communities like Ask Mum.