#14 | Roundtable: Mothers of Stillbirth and What They Can Teach Us

March 11, 2020

Stillbirth is defined as the loss of a baby between 20 weeks' gestation and birth. Globally 1 in 160 expecting families experience stillbirth, and that incidence is ever greater in the U.S. If this number is surprising that's because stillbirth isn't really talked about. And the effect of the silence is isolation. While society is well-meaning, we're often ill-prepared to truly understand the emotions felt by these parents. Especially the mothers, who tend to have have their own unique set of emotions beyond grief. What does she most need from us? What comments are helpful, and which are hurtful? When, if ever, should you presume it's time to stop asking her how she's doing? To stop mentioning her baby? Our own nervousness and lack of understanding can misreflect the compassion we feel.

March is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. In today's roundtable Samantha, Laura and Jessica are here to share their stories, starting with the births of their babies Alana, Henry and Teddy. If you are pregnant, or feel it would best serve you to skip those details, then you can jump directly to the fourth chapter marker halfway through this episode. If you listen to the very end, you may be surprised to hear appreciation and inspiration make their way into these women's stories, not in spite of their babies, but because of them. You'll also learn that nothing is more important and meaningful to these women than telling their stories, saying their children's name, and honoring their existence. And for giving them this opportunity to be heard, thank you for listening.

Star Legacy Foundation
Stary Legacy Foundation - NY Metro Chapter
Pregnancy Research Project
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
Glow in the Woods
PALS: Pregnancy After Loss Support
Faces of Loss
An Unexpected Family Outing
Still Standing Magazine
How Family & Friends Can Help
Parenting in Pregnancy

* * * * * * * * * *

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Connect with Cynthia and Trisha at:

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Connect with Cynthia:

  • Email: Cynthia@HypnoBirthingCT.com 
  • Text: 203-952-7299 to RSVP to attend a free information session live on Zoom. Upcoming dates are posted at HypnoBirthingCT.com. You can also sign up for our "Fourth Trimester Workshop" or Cynthia's HypnoBirthing classes and weekly postpartum support groups at HypnoBirthing of Connecticut

Remember - we're in CT but you can be anywhere. We serve women and couples coast to coast with our live, online monthly HypnoBirthing classes, support groups and prenatal/postpartum workshops.

Connect with Trisha at:

  • Email: Trisha.Ludwig@gmail.com for online breastfeeding consulting services

We are so grateful for your reviews and shares - we love what we do and thank you all for your support!

Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!

If you enjoyed this episode of the Down To Birth Show, please share with your pregnant and postpartum friends!

Between episodes, connect with us on Instagram @DownToBirthShow to see behind-the-scenes production clips and join the conversation by responding to our questions and polls related to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. You can reach us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com or call (802) 438-3696 (802-GET-DOWN). We are always happy to hear from you and will strive to feature your questions and comments on upcoming shows.

You can sign up for online and in-person HypnoBirthing childbirth classes for pregnant couples taught by Cynthia Overgard, as well as online breastfeeding classes and weekly postpartum support groups run by Cynthia & Trisha at HypnoBirthing of Connecticut

Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!

View Episode Transcript

If nothing else, just saying I remember your baby,

the guilt and the self blame, and the regrets after a stillbirth, our soul shredding, it got to the point like, Am I insane? Am I the only one who thinks has happened right now? Did it? Did I not lose my son? Is this not devastating? And it's like I started to question my own sanity.

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast.
Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

Stillbirth is defined as the loss of a baby between 20 weeks gestation and birth globally one in 160 expecting families experienced stillbirth, and that incidence is even greater in the US. If this number is surprising, that's because stillbirth isn't really talked about, but the effect of the silence is isolation. While society is well meaning we're often ill prepared to truly understand the emotions felt by these parents, especially the mothers who tend to have their own unique set of emotions beyond grief. What does she most need from us? What comments are helpful and which are hurtful? When if ever should be presumed it's time to stop asking her how she's doing to stop mentioning her baby. Our own nervousness and lack of understanding can miss reflect the compassion we feel. In today's Roundtable. Samantha Laura and Jessica are here to share their stories starting with the birth of their babies, Alanna Henry and Teddy. If it would be Serve you to skip those details, then you can jump directly to the fourth chapter marker exactly halfway through this episode. If you listen to the very end, you may be surprised to hear appreciation and inspiration make their way into these mothers stories, not in spite of their babies, but because of them. You'll also learn that nothing is more important and meaningful to these women than telling their stories, saying their children's names and honoring their existence and for giving them this opportunity to be heard. We thank you for listening.

The story of my daughter's stillbirth starts at her 39 week checkup. I had had a perfectly total and normal healthy pregnancy. It was my first baby. Everything had gone wonderfully. And this checkup was no exception. I was a Tuesday afternoon my mom came with me. My doctor did amnesties last four weeks of the pregnancies for everyone. nst is a non stress test where they check the baby's heartbeat and my daughter passed it with flying colors. She I remember the doctor came in and she said, she sounds perfect textbook. So then I had my internal checkup, you check my cervix and she stripped my membranes because we were wanting to get things going. And you know, and then she measured my fundal length that she had done for every week for the last four weeks. And for some reason, this time, it came up a little, a little smaller than last week. And she's like, Oh, that's weird. Just to be safe. Let's go on the ultrasound. And we checked golden ultrasound and everything looks great. So I went home feeling really great. Really excited for my baby to finally come, you know, been a long nine months, the first grandchild on both sides of the family, me and my husband and all of our parents and our brothers were just so excited for her to finally be here. And I lay down for bed that night. And as she always was, she was very active. And but this time it was a little bit it was a little bit different. I I felt movements that felt like, like waves rolling downwards from my belly, and I've never felt anything like that before. I'm like this must be a Braxton Hicks. attraction is supposed to be a real one. So she must be coming really soon. So I was really excited about that. And I wanted my body to do what he was supposed to do. So I just played there, smiling. And when it finally stopped, I got up and I went to the bathroom. And for the first time, the entire pregnancy, I found a little bit of blood. And I thought, well, the doctor had said, that I might have a little bleeding as they strip my membranes today, so I didn't really think twice about it. And I went to bed, and I got to the next day and I have spent the last six years racking my brain trying to remember what happened to say if I felt her move anything. But all I remember is that I just felt a little anxious and I just was trying to keep busy and I did a lot of random stuff around the house and then around dinnertime, I started feeling bored. What were real contractions felt like, you know, like menstrual cramps, and they were getting stronger and you know, I basically labored at home through the through the whole next 24 hours because they were super regular, they didn't feel that strong. And by the next evening, it was around five, five or six o'clock and we decided to call the doctors they knew the office would be closing soon, and just give them a heads up that we might be coming in that evening or early the next morning. And this was the first the first time we had an indication something might be wrong. The midwife who answered said, how's her movement? And I said, Well, you know, I'm really having trouble telling the difference between her movements and the contractions. And she's like, Okay, I think, I think maybe you should come in now. And I was like, you know, I don't I don't really want to want to rush it. You know, I just gotten through a 10 week Bradley method course I'm just like, there's nothing they can do. For me at the hospital if my labor's not progressed, and I don't feel it's progressing yet. And, you know, and she's like, Well, can you can you at least lay on your side and drink some juice and do a kick out for me? I said, Okay, so I chopped down In closing, we had juice, strawberry lemonade, and I laid on my side. And over the next 40 minutes, I felt only for things that might have been a movement, but they were all during contraction. And at that point was when I started to get worried. You know, at this point, I thought that the worst, the worst thing that could possibly happen to me was an emergency c section. So it never once occurred to me that something could seriously seriously be wrong with my baby at this point, this latent healthy pregnancy. So we got in the car, we went over to the hospital. And, you know, I walked out of the house and I remember looking at my cat, and just the look on my cat's face, it was just like, he was just like, new. And I burst into tears and my husband's like, everything's gonna be fine. Everything's gonna be fine. And I'm just like, I don't I don't know if everything's gonna be fine. But still, at this point, I thought I thought that my worst fear and emergency c section was about to come true. So we go over to the hospital and you know, we just we walked down the hall and Then we sat on the ultrasound machine and she pulled it up. And I remember looking at the screen and I remembered from previous ones, there's a little line at the bottom, supposed to show the heartbeat and, and it was just still. And I'm looking at it thinking, shouldn't that be moving? And then and then the midwife takes my hand and she says the words I'll never forget. I'm so sorry. There's no heartbeat. And still, at this point, I'm not processing my husband just burst into tears over my shoulder and I'll never forget the sound of his voice cracking as he said, No. And I looked up and the ultrasound tech was just tears streaming down her face and, and I looked at the midwife like thinking that's like she read my mind. I'm thinking, why aren't they doing anything? And and she just takes hold my hand tighter and she says, if there was anything we could do, you would be in on an operating table already. And From then on, I mean, it's just a blur we are my family, of course, knew that I had been in labor, you know, we had to call our parents and break the news. And I remember my mom saying, That's impossible. That's impossible. And, you know, to our knowledge, it was it wasn't possible. They gave me the choice to either go home and wait it out since I was already in labor, or to go down to labor and delivery and have an induction. And, you know, I just remember thinking, let's, let's just get through this, you know, it just felt like a nightmare that we just wanted to escape from that remember the nurses, the nurses were so wonderful, they were so compassionate. They knew they knew the right things for us to do, but it was so hard for us to process what they were saying. And they said, you're gonna want to take pictures, you know, and we're like, No, no, there's no way so we sent home we had a whole backpack full of clothes for her and our cameras and we send everything home. You know, they said, just get a little bit of rest. It'll probably be about 12 hours, but About four hours later, you know, we didn't really sleep much. But you know, we turned off the lights and tried to rest. About four hours later. The I woke up from a short nap, and I was in transition. And I remember, my mom had my mom was there, my parents come to the hospital at this point. And I remember saying to her, you know, at one point, the midwife nurse walked away, and I turned to my mom and I said, Mom, are they gonna expect me to hold her? And my mom, thank God said, yes, you want to hold her. You know, at this point in my life, I had counted on a number of times, on one hand that I hadn't even seen a dead body. And now I was going to be giving birth to one to one of the person I loved most in the entire world. And I didn't know what to expect. I was just horrified my husband was hort, my husband realized that I was asked to actually give birth to our baby. So he was just absolutely appalled and I'm just so grateful that my mother was there to guide me because she came out and she was just beautiful she was she just was warm and glowing and she looked like she was sleeping. And there was nothing visibly wrong that we could see with her. Just she just wasn't breathing. So I held her for about an hour. You know, my my husband and my mom took her and holding her and and then we said goodbye. And I'm so grateful that the nurses took photos of her because we had a couple grainy cellphone photos, you know, this was 2013. So, they we did not have, you know, the megapixels on our cameras back then that we do now. Over the next couple days. You know, we had the awakened a funeral in a burial for her and it was just like, so surreal. And we found out later that she had a Wi Fi she died of cord compression She had a short, thin, hypo coiled, which means that it's not as spirally as it should be. That's a protective thing. As we saw in my last my last checkup that day, you know, it didn't show up on the nst or the ultrasound. So we know now that she'd actually been bleeding out for the last week or two with my pregnancy. And yeah, that's, that's pretty much it.

So, I had had a very normal first pregnancy with my now my seven year old son Oliver, and we decided when he was about 18 months old that we were going to start trying again, and I remember the night we went out for drinks and decided we're going to start trying, we went home and we are pregnant with him. There second. And you Yeah, I really was it was a very normal pregnancy. I had birth my first one at the birth center and worked with midwives. And I was doing that again. And really, there was nothing. Nothing out of the ordinary until about 32 weeks. I one day didn't feel a lot of movement and ended up going to the eat the emergency room and to have him checked to which I was sent home a few hours later after they were able to get him moving with by drinking some apple juice. So other than, you know, a few occurrences like that everything was great and normal until 30 weeks. You know, just like Sam I had a appointment at 30 weeks and he checked out perfectly. I remember the next day me and my family, you know has been took our older son to the beach, and I said let's take a photo of our last the last time we'll be okay. I only have three and took a selfie on Todd's point. And I, you know, was really just full of anticipation for, for our baby to come very soon. My first had been had arrived at 37 weeks and five days. So I was in my mind like waiting, waiting, waiting. And I remember saying like, I remember being in the car and seeing my husband like, I just wish he could already but but I just want to be healthy. I just wanted to be healthy. And so so that's really all that matters. It's really all that matters. And I guess from there, I just it was kind of just a slow realizing that I wasn't feeling a lot of movement. The day after that.

I had

a friend over that one morning that morning. And just kind of in the back of my mind thinking like, I'm not moving as much. I think deep in my subconscious knowing you know, something wasn't totally right. And I remember being at the playground that afternoon and feeling is a really jarring kick. And that was the last moment I ever really felt went home that night and by dinnertime I was telling my husband I, something's something's wrong, I can't feel them, I can't feel him. And so we call the midwife and she actually came to my to our house and took out the heartbeat monitor and couldn't find a heartbeat. So but she was like, Listen, we're going to the hospital, we're gonna we're gonna go, you know, they'll be able to hear it with it with their, you know, machines and got there and saw that horrible, you know, stillness on the monitor. And those same words, there's there's no heartbeat. And we're given the choice to go home and lemur naturally or to be induced and chose to be induced. So we stayed in the hospital that night we had found out at about midnight, and then was given a very strong drug. I can't forget that. I can't remember the name right now.  And within about six hours, I slept and woke up to very strong contractions and gave birth to, again the most just the most beautiful baby boy Henry the next morning. You know, I'll never forget the doctor handing him to me and saying, you know, this hospital doesn't doesn't have a lot of loss. Like we don't have this isn't happening here. And he said, don't try for for six months, let your body let your body heal and then and then you can try again and you know, everything will be fine. I just remember that he didn't even acknowledge my baby that they had just put on me. And it just felt really, really, really insensitive. The nurses were incredible. They took a lot of pictures and encouraged To hold him for the whole day. I remember my parents coming and seeing him. And my dad holding him and my dad died a year later. He just told me that he's the most beautiful baby he'd ever seen.

Yeah, and we went home that night and I'll just never forget the emptiness at night in bed. That little, little boy who who was with me for nine months was gone. And he was supposed to be my arms, but I was just had an empty womb. And yeah, that was. That was like the saddest I've ever felt.

So Teddy was my second pregnancy. My pregnancy before that was healthy. Grayson was born. And I had postpartum preeclampsia afterwards. So that kind of put the doctors just, they put me into another category. I also had a thyroid disorder. So I was immediately kind of put with the Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist. And when I first met with him, it was my 12 week appointment. And he just started listing all these tests that he wanted to do. Okay, fine. Okay, fine. And we started doing all of them, and they were all perfect. But at that appointment, they started quizzing me, and they started asking about family history and all of that stuff. And as I gave him that information, he wrote me a script, and he handed it over and he goes, take that script. And when you're between 22 and 24 weeks, I want you to go have a fetal echocardiogram. And I said, Why that doesn't make sense. He goes, Well, it's based on family history. I said, but I have no defects and neither does my son. And everyone else in my family. There's two of them. I said they had heart surgery. In their 50s and 60s, I don't understand. They said, We just want to, you know, we're just checking everything. So I still remember him handing me that paper and I didn't want to take it from I just kind of stared at it. So I took it, and I put it in my purse, and I just kind of stared at it. And I avoided it. And I avoided it. And I had no desire to call but I'm a rule follower. So I'm like, you got to call make the appointment. So I call the gun appointment for 23 weeks. So my intention all along was to go to the 19 week scan and, you know, ask more questions. And we went to that one. And he came in he was everything looks great. I said, Oh, perfect. Even the heart. He was Yeah. I said, Well, how good you feel about that? It was 95% I said, so you're certain 95% He's like, yeah, with everything I can see. I said well then what's the point of the other pointment Can I just cancel it? And he goes no, that other appointments going to give you another one to 2% so you should just go and I'm like, nothing's ever 100% I don't understand And so I went to the fetal echocardiogram by myself not expecting anything. And he was quiet the whole time and got off the table. He took me over the chair and said those words like, you know, there's always those words that we never forget. He said, Okay, so there is something wrong with the baby's heart. I was like,

okay, it's gonna be something simple. We're just gonna watch it, it's gonna fix itself, you know, little hole in the heart or something, no big deal. And he just started going on and on. And he's using simple terms, but it's still a learning curve. And I'm like, I just, I don't understand what you're saying, this sounds horrible. Like, this isn't something we're going to fix. And I just kept looking around the room. I'm like, there must be a cloud in the corner. There's something here that's going to indicate this is a dream that this isn't really happening. And there was nothing I even remember pinching myself and I realized this this is my new reality. This is this is how happening. And the only thing that I could gather was that it was progressive and there was no cure. And I got the sense from him that we might not even make it to delivery. But that he really needed to send me for a second opinion, not to get my hopes up because he really thought his diagnosis was accurate, but that he needed someone else to assess it and kind of give us a game plan and told us that he would reach out to Columbia Presbyterian, and have their team contact us. And the only thing I could think while he was in that appointment was just stop talking. I need to leave. I need to leave. How am I going to tell my husband, right, because now I have to break the news. And I got out of the appointment. I'm like, just get to your car, just get your car and I couldn't I needed to call him immediately. But I was so panicked. I couldn't operate my phone, and then I started panicking more and now I'm crying. And by the time I finally call him, and he answers I'm just hysterical. He has no idea what's going on. He's asking me if I was in a car x And finally he's able to just kind of figure out that there's something wrong with the baby and he happened to be working late that night so he just got in the vehicle and drove home at nine o'clock the next morning Columbia called and said, Can you get here by 11? I said, I don't know. But I'll I'll, I'll be there as soon as I can. And it was just a whole day of learning about the defect and the different spectrum it could take in that it was a critical one but we were in the moderate level and developing a game plan to monitor me every week because it can turn on a dime and you know planning to deliver down there into the Nick us that the first of the surgeries can be done and that we'd be in the nick you for a month and so it was just immediately pivoting. You know, you're going from having a healthy baby to not having a healthy baby. What does that mean? Okay? It's not natural, you know, organic delivery anymore. It's gonna be very medicalized. baby's gonna have trouble pensions immediately no skin to skin they said, we'll show you your baby and then we're leaving. So it was just constant pivoting of like, Okay, this is our new normal, okay, this is how we can expect it to go. And we just started going down there every week and we started doing research and preparing for Nick you delivery and, you know, ways to help baby adjust and get baby the best chance of survival with reading books and you know, things that smell like you and the best way to, you know, initiate lactation and breastfeeding because you weren't going to be able to do it with baby. And I'll never forget, every time I went, I always looked at the ultrasound because they take about an hour the fetal echoes. And I would always look at the top of the screen where it counted your gestational, you know, weeks and days, and it was always counting to 26 weeks. And I don't know why but I just always kept looking like Okay, I gotta wait till 26 days or I got a week in 10 days. Whatever. It was, and the week leading up to that appointment, I noticed that his kicks had changed. And I told myself, Oh, my amniotic fluid probably increased, he changed position. They were the same frequency, but they weren't strong. He had been such a strong kicker, that I was like, What am I gonna do at, you know, 789 months like, he is so strong.

And we went into that appointment. And typically I would lay on the table, the tech would do everything. And the main doctor would sit back at a screen in another room and review and ask for different images. And she was comparing everything to see whether or not there was progress. And we weren't there for five minutes. And this esteemed doctor from Columbia Presbyterian just comes running in the room saying there's progress, there's progress, and she's washing her hands, and she pushes the other tech out of the way and she just starts scanning the heart and they're talking back and forth and they're trying to understand how much blood The heart still able to generate if it's able to pump any blood out of the chambers and just going on and on. And basically, his heart had progressed to a point where it was just exhausted and it couldn't pump blood anymore. And so there weren't many options at that point in time I was 26 weeks. They really didn't favor an early delivery for him just because of the complications and his gestational age. So we were just kind of stuck with nature. So we have I guess, we had a little preparation because it was kind of a build up, but you still don't expect to end up there when you're pregnant. And gave us gave me some sort of pill to take orally to start inducing labor because I was so early at 26 weeks and sent me home for the next day and said we'll see you tomorrow. So you're kind of stuck in limbo, what what do you do and the thing we could come up with was to just keep busy and you just don't know, you don't know what to do.

And I'm walking in and the nurses quite aren't sure why I'm there. You know, I'm 26 weeks pregnant, and I'm not in labor and, you know, then you have to explain everything to them. And finally, you're admitted, and, you know, things get going. And the nurses, you know, they kind of assemble a special team and the nurses were really great. And I just said, you know, we don't know how long this is going to take. But it's one of those things that you are, you're very fearful of because he's 26 weeks, he's not full term. What is he going to look like? And, you know, again, it's, it's, it's your son, but you forget, all of a sudden, he just becomes a dead body. And it's like, what, what is this gonna be and you're instantly, just so fearful and they asked what I want and they said, Can you I want Hold him I know absolutely want to hold him. But can you just wrap him up first and you know, put the blankets on him? Because I give them birth before. So I know it's usually skin to skin and how that process goes. And so they gave birth and they took him and they wrapped him up and they sat him in the isolette kind of in the corner and they started working on me. And I just I thought I was going to go insane. I just give me my baby now. Like I realized I wanted him immediately, like, there, the fear was gone. I just wanted my baby. And soon as they handed to me, it was just such relief when I saw him. I'm like, Oh, he's perfect. He's perfect. I can do this. I'm just gonna, I'm gonna keep him just like this. I'm just gonna keep him like this for the rest of forever and I will just carry around my tiny baby every everywhere I go, because he's just, he's perfect.

And I remember feeling guilty afterwards because I was so preoccupied with him being dead and that I missed his birth because I wasn't looking at the right way. But that's something that kind of comes from society and our culture but I'll just never forget just how perfect he was. And I had made him a little crocheted octopus because it was supposed to be very soothing for babies in the nick you. So we brought that with us and gave him his little octopus. And we had all picked out books for him. I picked out one and john picked out one and we picked out one that my son could read to him just so that he could start recognizing our voices for the Nick you. And so, my husband, we both brought our books and he read his book to him and I read, you know, my book to him. And we we only spent about three hours with him because you could see he was he was starting to change. And we just we didn't want to go there and we knew that That no matter how much time we spent with him, no matter how long we held him, it wasn't going to be enough. It just it was never going to be enough. So for us it was we said goodbye and we felt we had honored him and and we were starting to grow uncomfortable because when they're boring, they're they look perfect like they're sleeping. But every time I kissed him before I handed him to john, as we traded back and forth, his body just grew colder and colder, and it was just so devastating. And so finally we called for the nurse and we set our last goodbyes and we watched her carry him out of the room and it really struck me because none of the nurses ever carried Grayson, they always put them in the bassinet and they wheeled them because hospital policy can't carry the babies. And she just walked out of the hospital with my baby under her arm because she couldn't hurt him. There was nothing She could do to him. And it just struck me cuz I'm like she can she's doing that because she's not taking him to the nursery, she's taking my baby to the park. And

it was so hard to know that that's where he spent his night instead of with us.

And so after we let him go, they switch just out of that room. And as they wheeled us out, I looked at the door. And their symbol in that hospital for loss was a white ribbon. And so anywhere, anytime there was last month that's on the door, so that anyone who comes in knows, you know, to be respectful and to tread lightly. And I just remember being rolled out going, I was the woman behind that door that that was me. And they will this over into recovery. And I scooted over and john just sat down next to me. We just laid our heads together and we We had probably the deepest sleep of our lives ever and you know, we didn't wake up till like 8am the next day. And you do you just you leave the hospital with a box instead of a baby and it's just such a crappy substitute. And I remember waiting for the car to come around because we're down the city and only valet parking was the only option and you know, we're leaving with no baby. We weren't putting anything in a car seat. And sitting next to me is a woman in wheelchair just staring at her brand new baby as she waits for the car to come around. And it's just it's it's devastating to to be pregnant and, and leave without a baby.

When I left the hospital after my daughter's birth, I actually walked out and I thought that was so strange because it never occurred to me that The reason that a mom gets pushed out in a wheelchair is because she's holding the baby. I always thought it was for the moms benefit. And when no one brought me a wheelchair, I just, it was just it felt like such a slight, you know, I was just like, like I didn't just give birth and walk out of the hospital with empty arms had to walk past the nursery. I mean that that was the hardest Walk of my entire life. I don't know how I managed to walk out of that hospital without my baby. And it was just such. It was such a traumatic experience when I was back a year later, delivering my son thankfully healthy and the nurse came in with a wheelchair. I just broke down she I this somehow this was the only nurse we saw the entire day that didn't know our history. And she was like, why are you crying? Are you nervous about bringing your baby home and I couldn't even form the words to say I'm crying because I was here a year ago. Delivering my daughter and no one brought me a wheelchair.

It's just yeah, crazy experience.

So what next? What happens in life after this? You have to break the news to everybody. Yeah, what's that? Like?

I couldn't even call my mother. I sent her text messages. And I said, I'm sorry. This isn't something that should be told to you this way. But I can't say this out loud. I can't form the words. And I told her and I just said, You take care of the rest you let everyone else know because I'm not. I'm not calling everyone else I can't.

So I did the same. I had, um, I called a handful of close friends and I just asked them to please spread the word because I just, I could I mean, everyone that I knew, knew that I was pregnant

as a saying you were so close to the admirer. We're going to start today or she was born two days before her due date. And I was getting text messages from that baby here. Yeah. How's the baby doing? And I just turned off my phone and I said, Please handle it for me. And they did. Yeah.

Yeah, I think my husband took care of letting everyone know, a few close friends were, you know, called that the day of and they were amazing. But, you know, you go through that first week, and it's a blur and you have you do the sort of ceremonial thing that you do. And people come and they show up. And it's amazing. And they definitely say some things that, you know, are, you know, are not necessarily helpful. And then they say some things that are comforting, but it's nice to know that people are there for you and that they're acknowledging your baby. And then then the hard weeks really start where, you know, the ceremony is over and you're left to dealing with your grief and trauma and figuring out a new life with your husband or spouse and your family. It's a new life and you're just like How did I get here? I don't I don't understand. I was pregnant Why is there not a baby here and your mind almost just has trouble accepting the concept even figure anything else out you're just so confused.

Yeah, we came home from the hospital. You know we got in the car and our car seat is empty in the rearview mirror and you know we pulled in the house and there's a fully decorated nursery there's a drying rack in my sunroom filled with baby clothes that I had bought last minute and needed to be hand washed and air dried and I had left them there. When I went to the hospital thinking baby was coming home and we buried her in those clothes.

Henry was born three days before Christmas. So we had to have make sure we gave our old our first son a regular Christmas. But I remember the day before Christmas, going to the mall, walking around and I was Like so, so sore, I could barely walk. But I wanted to get out of the house. And I remember we went into Johnson and Murphy the men's shoes. My cousin wanted to look at some shoes. And the woman came right up to me and my son and said,

Are you gonna have a baby brother or sister soon, and this was like a day after I lost or two days after. And then we had this, we had the service. And after that, my husband, he's just a Dewar. He's like, he always, he always wants to find a solution. And so that was a lot of that definitely became problematic later in the month. But I was very grateful. And in that moment that he suggested getting away and our friends have an apartment in Washington, and we stayed in their apartment for a week. And I literally had like cabbage leaves on my breasts as we were like walking around and taking all of her to museums, museums, still bleeding, starting to reduce milk and it was painful, but it was it was We had to remove ourselves. And, you know, I did smile for the first time again.

So you have the services that you have your baby and all these people come and all this love pours out and all these hugs and all these tears, and then everyone gets into their cars and goes home and it's just starting for you.

Yeah. And then you're adjusting to your new life. So then how do people relate to you after that? And what? What was least helpful as everyone was well intended, no doubt writers, of course. So what surprised you which people in your life, the ones who came through and understood the most were they the ones you expected?

I think you hear this over and over again, for people who've been the situation. The people who are there for you are never the ones you expect them to be. I've heard that, you know, the ones that you expect to are not, are not there. For me. It was tough because I was the first of most of my close friends to have a baby. So most of my friends didn't really relate The experience of becoming mother at all, let alone to becoming a mother to a baby who's no longer in your arms. So that was really hard for people to wrap their heads around. But, you know, I'll never forget I have I have one, one friend, she's now the godmother of my son who called every single day for months. And most days I didn't have anything to say I didn't even pick up the phone half the time which she just kept calling so that I would know that she was thinking of me. I can't tell you how much that meant to me. You know? Because it does the first the first few weeks you're just you're really just in shock. Like it doesn't feel real it doesn't feel like this could possibly be your life. And and then by the time that it starts settling in that that yeah, this this this happened to me and and this is my family now in this shadow is going to handle for us forever. And I don't know how to deal with this. Most people moved on. And, you know, they don't mean to but it's just not their immediate reality like it is for you and and it's so hard because everybody grieves differently and you hear that over and over again you know everyone there's no right one one right way to grieve and, and it's really hard I think from the outside to try to anticipate what the person who's grieving needs. And some people want somebody there. I mean, the thing is really hard even as the person who's grieving you don't know what you want or need, you know, like, sometimes you feel like you just want to be alone but then then the thoughts are just eating away at you and then and then when people around you just you feel like I might as well be alone because I'm just sitting here in my head only thing about my baby and everyone else is acting like everything is normal.

So they probably think they're helping you by acting like a normal. Yeah,

yeah, our loss was was kind of early enough. And

we ended up just kind of, we couldn't fathom any sort of a service. So we we skipped that part. So I think family kind of felt that we were being more private and that we didn't want people in our space. And so I found that mostly people were thinking about us, but they were completely silent. And so I actually, it was right before Easter, I called my mom just like, I rate I'm like, I'm not coming to Easter because the family doesn't care and I don't want to see them. She's like, What do you mean? I'm like, I haven't heard. I really haven't heard from anyone. It's been like a month. And I haven't heard from anyone. She's like, Oh, well, everyone keeps calling me and asking how you're doing. I'm like, that's super. I'm over here. wondering, have I been a crap? Like, does my family not love me? Have I done something in the past to offend them that I'm not worthy of their love and support right now? My friends were silent as well. And so I started, you know, amongst the grief and everything else that you're doing, you're starting to question Do I have friends? Did I make them mad at them? Have I not been the friend that I thought I was? Why isn't my family here? Where is this circle that I was told was going to appear to help me through this? Because they're not here. And even when I was kind of extremely articulate with what I wanted and needed from people, they just, they weren't sure. Do they mention it, too? They not mentioned it, too. They asked how I'm doing what if I'm having a good day and they asked how are we doing upset me and they just their their uncertainty results in just doing nothing? And even my husband for a little while was just kind of like taking my temperature and he's like, you seem good. And so he didn't even mention our loss or child. And it got to the point like am I insane? Am I the only one who thinks has happened right now? Did it did I not lose my son? Is this not devastating?

And it's like I started to question my own sanity. And, you know, I kind of yelled at john that day and he's like, No, I just I don't know what to do either. It's it's very, very challenging because you expect the grief, I don't think you expect the isolation. And the people you normally turn to for comfort, suddenly felt like strangers. Because there was no, they couldn't relate to you on this level, which is where you needed to be right now. And Easter wasn't too long after our loss. And I'm from a large family. There's probably 30 people there that day. And four, four of them came up to me, hugged me and said, I'm sorry, the rest of them did not address the loss at all. And many of them avoided talking to me or even saying hi, because they knew they didn't know what to do. And I'm like, well, do I if I say hi, I should probably dress the last I don't know if I should dress a loss. So I'm just going to opt out and people get so hung up on saying the right thing or obsessing Am I going to say the wrong thing. Be honest, I don't know what to say to you right now. But I'm just you're heavy on my mind. It's it's that it's that simple. And the silence is absolutely the worst.

It does stink when someone says something that they shouldn't have.

But some of my fondest memories are I had a cousin who came up to me and was very awkward, but he's, you know, trying to say I'm sorry for your loss, and I'm here for you. And you could see how uncomfortable he was. But he still did it. I just wanted to like, grab him by the face and kissed them. Because it was just it was so obvious that he didn't know how to do it, but he knew that he had to and he wanted to, and I still remember every person who came up to me that day and they kind of all took their turn and waited till I was like off to the side and came up and hug me in it. It was everything. It really was for me the most helpful thing was always just people mentioning him telling me, I'm thinking of you and Henry, you know?

Yes, just attacks. I'm thinking of you today, Teddy. And it was like that was all you needed. Yeah, people don't realize, you know, when you're grieving the loss of someone, the acknowledgment of that person and the acknowledgement that you're thinking of them means so, so, so much. If nothing else, just saying, I'm thinking of your baby, I remember your baby.

And I feel like people do that if an elderly mother passes away, or an aunt, they're like, Oh, you know, I remembered your aunt or they say something. But suddenly, those kind of social norms disappear when it's a baby. Yeah. Or it's someone who kind of in their mind didn't exist, all of a sudden, it's just absolute paralysis.

There were quite a few comments that were not helpful in those early days? Don't worry, you'll have another one. It was meant to be. He's, he's in God's hands now. And if if he didn't survive, then he probably something probably would have been wrong with him if he was born. Oh, that was the worst and the older generation, like even my own grandmother said, you know, just forget about the baby just move forward. And I know that that's what they were told to say to do. And and it it pains my heart.

Probably the most hurtful thing that people said to me was just speculating on what I did wrong. In like, a roundabout way. Yeah. Well, do you think you Yeah, or maybe you shouldn't have eaten this as well. You know, a really a healthy baby doesn't just die at the end of a pregnancy like that. Like there must have been something wrong, you know, things like that, that as if I didn't have enough of these things. thoughts running around in my head already I mean the the guilt and the self blame and the regrets after a stillbirth are soul shredding you cannot. your your your mind becomes the absolute worst place in the world to be and the fact that any person could think that it was okay to add to that was just absolutely baffling to me.

I think because people are so scared they like they want to know Yeah, it must have been your fault you must have done something wrong because then this Can't I couldn't also be a candidate for this like well, like clear my reason for it because it's too painful to imagine it happened for no reason. But so they're trying to protect themselves. Yeah, what they do have Yes, yeah. And I always want to try to find something to blame something bad that happened on something else. So the universe feels fair.

What are people not getting?

I think this guilt thing is is a big part of it that people don't get you know, I, there's this book that was a lifeline for me and that I always gift to other lost moms now, when they're on that journey in the first year, called You are the mother of all mothers. And it's short, it's basically like a coffee table book with beautiful artwork in it. And it basically says, You did not cause this, you are not to blame. If there was anything at all that you could have done to save your baby, you would have done it. And so many people don't understand that lost mums need to hear that pretty much universal. I've never met another lost mom who didn't have four pages of things that she may have done wrong to cause her baby's death. Right. This is what we do as mothers we're responsible for our children. So of course when the baby dies in your body in the one place you thought that he or she was safe,

you know when you're the only caretaker and

the only time taker Exactly. And I just remember so I got, I have this book and you know, there's always copies of it floating around my house. And I remember my mom picks it up one day and she was reading it and she was just like, but you don't feel this way. I was just like, you don't think I feel this way? I'm just like you, you were you were, besides my husband, the closest person to me and to this baby, you were the person who feels the grief, you know, almost as strongly as I do. And you don't understand that I that I feel how could you not understand that I

feel this way she felt the grief and not the guilt.

Exactly. Exactly. And and it's just, it is it is such a such a hard thing to deal with. And, you know, for me, the thing that really helped and it took a long time. You know, I got involved in the loss community. I'm, I'm a volunteer with the star legacy foundation. And through that, through that work, I have met hundreds if not thousands of other lost mums and in listening to them all tell their story. Over and over again stories which sound just like mine, and who are they walked away making the same clusion I must have done something wrong to cause my baby's death. It finally clicked that this was not the failing of any one individual mother that this is, this is a societal level failing, there's something going on with our medical system. You know there is a lot of a lot of things conspiring to cause these babies to die. And not one of those reasons is their mothers. But it really took years of hearing those stories over and over again to to believe it when it came

to myself. I remember feeling like a failure because I didn't create a healthy baby. And I felt like I failed. Everyone around me because I was pregnant and I promised people, grandbabies. And I promised them nephews and I promised them nieces and I promised them you know a son and a sibling and I didn't deliver. I couldn't produce a healthy baby. And I remember the guilt of that. And I remember in one of my, you know, more difficult motions moments when the emotions were just too much telling my husband that he should divorce me so that he could go find someone who could give him a healthy baby because I couldn't.

And he just said, No, I don't I don't want that I'd rather have you and so I don't know if you guys experienced this but the anxiety that happens afterwards I started to fear that I was gonna lose him next, because you start fearing that you're gonna lose everyone because death is real and it's everywhere now. Just the the ripple effect it's it's so much bigger than, you know, my child died. It's just Yeah, the roots go so much deeper.

I suffered severe post traumatic stress and was in the hospital no less than 10 times at the in the ER convinced that I I was dying of a blood clot in my lungs like I convinced myself that that was what had killed my baby and that I had a blood clot and that I was going to die. And my poor poor husband, I would call him in a panic that I couldn't breathe. And I was taking care of our two year old. He was beside himself of how to help me and yeah, it was a really dark time.

Let's get into how this experience was different for you and your husband's what you've learned.

Well, that and also how society treated them versus how they treated us. People had no problem going up to him and asking him, how are you and how is your wife? But no one would ask me they, you know, text behind my back or go ask him how's Jessica? Like, I just, I was so frail and so fragile that you couldn't even ask me how I was and I found that really upsetting. It's like they treated him like the gatekeeper. Yeah, like I was just too to almost pathetic and weak to even handle How are you? But he somehow was not affected by this like I was. So I was actually frustrated by that. And I was also frustrated because I'm like, Don't you care about him as well. And I also felt like all eyes were on me and not him like, okay, her baby died. What's going on with her, she looked thin she looks she's eating she pale that she looked like she needs extra help. And I just felt like there was always that pressure and that pressure to heal and that pressure to get better because I was the one that needed to have the baby again, and he was just kind of like, free to experiences his grief and take his journey without all of these people just kind of staring him down and wondering if he was doing it the right way or not.

And I think a lot of times unfortunately, you know, the partners get forgotten in this. No people do treat them As the gatekeeper and they come and they say, how was your wife? No one ever asked him how he's doing. Like, it wasn't your baby too.  So for my husband, he very much went into like, fix, fix everything mode, protector mode, take care of everything mode and I think almost out of like self preservation, he went back to work pretty fast, I'd say like three weeks afterwards. And I think that was his way of doing something and taking care of us all. But he very much like you're saying like, compartmentalised the loss because he didn't have anywhere to go, he didn't have anyone to talk to. And he very much kind of figured out his own way through. And, you know, I'm really really, really proud of him five years, five years down the road. I mean, he we started On our profit, which we ran for a little while, and he ran a number of amazing ultra marathons to raise money for stillbirth and to honor our son. And so he he found his his way. But I just remember in those first few months, just a lot of not understanding each other and just just feeling so misunderstood by him. And I know he felt misunderstood by me. And one thing that helped so much was finding this article online somewhere about I think it was a blogger, but she was talking about how her and her husband have experienced a lot of loss. And the thing that they had realized and that had helped them through it was that they found support in places other than through just between themselves out there to suggest supporting each other like that's important. But it's also so important to seek support outside of each other outside of the relationship and that was kind of a catalyst for me to see Lost community and support from other women. And that helped me so much. But we found and I think this is true for a lot of people is that we were never on the same page, like the days that I was having a really hard day. He'd be feeling pretty good and then he would come home and then there I was in a puddle on the floor, having just, you know, been reading loss blogs for the last four hours straight and sobbing. And then I would have a rare day where I wasn't crying and he was just, you know, just want to stare at the TV and and try to escape her life. And it was just really tough because we were never on the same page. And you know, we were we were lucky, I guess at this point that we didn't have any other kids so it was really just us that we needed to to worry about I can't even imagine having an older child. How you guys manage to balance all that.

Did it help?

I think it did. I mean, I look at it as a I was blessed to have him so i i think either way is so hard and but for me it was a good distraction. And I needed him. I mean I remember those those weeks where I was like severely traumatized and going to the hospital. My husband was like, we should get help let's get you in and he was like, I need hit like I need him. He's he is everything to me and I can't have anyone else like watching him right now. So yeah, no, I it was helpful, but it was hard. Having to not not be able to just be in that puddle sometimes.

Yeah, for me, it was kind of a double edged sword like it was, was so thankful to have someone to pour that love because that process happened in your body, you gave birth, everything triggered. So you want like that that instinct is just there to like pat a baby or hold them and being able to just sit on the couch and cuddle with him and watch a movie with everything. But after that, I wasn't able to parent, I wasn't able to make him food, I didn't want to play with him. I didn't want to engage with him. It was just too much for me on that level. And so, again, those feelings come back and you feel like you're failing the one child that you were actually given. You know, you failed the first one because they didn't make it and now you're failing the one that you actually do have, because to some extent, you're just unable, at least for me to, to function and did you feel pressure by people to heal in a certain amount of time? Did you feel pressure from society or from your family or from your friends that you should be?

You should be over this by now you should be back to motherly duties, or did you feel supported?

I didn't necessarily feel pressure but that's because I think everyone just kind of surveyed me and they're like, okay, she's, she's back at work. Grayson's hair is combed, he's dressed, she's good. And I think that's also part of What led to the lack of outreaches? Because instead of asking, they just kind of surveyed safely from a distance and established, she's okay. And I don't think what people understand is just because I'm at work, just because I'm functioning doesn't mean that I'm healed. It doesn't mean that I'm better. In fact, I'm still, you know, crying on the way to work every morning, you know, and then you dust yourself off and you go to work and then occasionally in the beginning there's like a break in the bathroom where you're also crying and then you're coming back out and then at the end of the day, you're you're getting in your car and you're crying on the way home too, but people don't see that so you table it. When did you start to feel like things were going to be okay, you are going to be okay, life was going to be okay.

I can speak to that. So after the initial few months of like shock, and trauma, I started going to support group for loss My parents and really started to feel like I was processing what had happened and and healing a little bit. And for me, I don't know maybe because he was born in the winter, and then it was spring and just with the warm weather and just, I just started to kind of have a shift, I found this quote about anchors and I had been decorating Henry's room with anchors and I had bought the sinker pillow and he had a bunch of anchor clothes and I just decided that the anchor would be kind of our symbol for him. And I got a tattoo and just really made a decision to start living for him and celebrating him and I just realized that, you know, grief is is different for everyone and everyone has a right to to take all the time they need to grieve but I realized I could either like swim in that sort of trouble. And waste the precious time I have here or I could start to look to the light again and start to make the most of my life for him and you know live live for him and make him proud and that was a very slow you know thing over the course of many many months. But that that last group and going to an amazing healing yoga retreat with 25 other women who had experienced loss was was so so life changing. That was the beginning of me feeling whole again and I still you know, we still celebrate Henry you know, on his birthday on Mother's Day on all the holidays and carry with carry him with me always. And to this day, it means so much when people say his name and acknowledge him. So they never you never healed. You're never over anything. You just learned to live in a new way and kind of turned something so awful and so sad into something that, you know, lifts you up and makes your life better.

Yeah, I'd say pretty early on, I realized that while I didn't have a choice in losing him that I had a choice and what I got to do afterwards, and sitting and being mad or jealous of everyone else who had a baby or didn't have to go through that pain wasn't serving me and it wasn't serving or honoring Teddy in any way. And that the best way that I could honor Him and remember him was was to live life full and for him and to choose to make that conscious choice to step out into the light out of the darkness because I didn't have control over the situation, but I did have control over how I moved forward. And while I was pregnant with him, I just always had this feeling of I'm right where I'm supposed to be like, this is my journey. This is where I'm supposed to be. And I didn't know at that point in time, what was coming. But I remember losing him and the pain and saying this is going to hurt right now. But there's going to be an after like, just kind of inherently knowing that it was a storm and I just had to go through it. There was no way around it. And I just I had I had to venture straight in for me, I think around six months, was the turning point. Definitely, you know, I had read in books about grief and particularly about losing a baby that around the four to six month mark is the worst time for many people and I definitely found that to be true in my experience, and I was glad I had read that because I were worried that I was going backwards or something if I hadn't known that that was normal. When I remember around the six month mark was when I finally was spending fewer days per week. Having these long crying sessions than not. And I think the thing that helped me the most along the way was connecting with other lost moms. And I did that, you know, through an in person group, I found some my best friends. They're also online. You know, I never thought I'd be a person who said, I have an internet friend, but I have a wonderful internet friend who I actually met up with a couple years later when I was visiting Chicago. And, you know, she was a little lost mom who would see me comment on a blog and she was just like, I just felt compelled to reach out to you. And she was a couple years ahead of me and she was just an amazing resource. In the last five years, it's really sprung up. There's a huge loss community online, you can find, connect with so many people and people are really open about their grief. It's really helpful. And you know, that's something I'm more involved in in now and helping to kind of lead other people. And I just found that you know, for such a long time, I thought that this ruined my life. I thought that I would forever be the lady with the dead baby, and that any other part of me was gone. And in many ways that is true. I mean, I'm the person that I was when I was pregnant with Alana is not here anymore. And she died the same day that my daughter did. But the person that replaced her it took it took a while to come out. I mean, honestly, I don't feel that I was back to my full mental functioning until 234 years after, I mean, the grief and the trauma. It just it really takes a toll. But, but the person that I've become since then is just worlds away from who I was before. And you know, I always thought that my daughter's birthday would be this somber just painful day and, and now. Now I'm just so I'm so grateful. When her birthday comes around every year, I just think of her and I smile I think of all the good that she's brought to my life and the amazing people I have met because of her and just how much good I have been able to bring into the world in her name is just eclipses anything I ever did before. And you know, I'm, I'm just I'm so grateful to have had her at night. And at one point time, I couldn't imagine ever, ever saying those words or ever wanting anything more than a chance to just turn back the clock. And it's really it's really a humbling experience. I think one of the hardest parts about grief and about this type of grief in particular is just that it's so isolating. I walk out of the hospital feeling like I was the only person in the world that this has happened to, you know, the more I talk about it, the more I learned that I have known people along who have been touched by this, but they never said anything. Because no one wants to talk about this, you know, stillbirth happens in one in 160 pregnancies in the United States, one in that one in 160 pregnancies at 70 babies a day 24,000 a year. It's actually claims more children's lives. This is for CDC data children up to 14 years of age. Then prematurity, SIDS, car accidents, drowning flu, cancer, gun violence, poison fire and listeria combined. Why?

I read that stat. And I'm like, where all the women were all the women were all the women, most of us are suffering in silence. You know, very, very few of us still still speak out. And it's, and it's because no one wants to think that this could happen to them. And so I think the whole thing about community which is so powerful, is when you when you walk into that hospital, without your baby and you feel like this is you're the only person this has ever happened to, you know, to find that there are other The people out there who who not only have been through this, but have survived it, who have found joy again. And who have come out the other side. I mean, it's it's a really powerful thing because you you're just staring into this abyss and you don't know how how you're going to claw your way back out from the bottom of it.

What's the best thing some people could consider doing for that woman because we heard all the things that were not so helpful?

I think your friend who just called you every day, regardless of whether you talk to them or not just showing up every day and what I love the most is just the text. I'm thinking of you today. I love you. I'm thinking of you and Teddy just you weren't asking questions. You weren't prying? You weren't asking anything of me. You were just letting me know. I'm thinking of you, which means you're recognizing my pain.

So let me ask you something because if I were that friend, I have my own insecurities around doing that. So help help address those. One is what Again, back to what you said earlier. What if she's having a good day? So what do you say to the woman who has that fear? And when you Samantha mentioned, the friend who called every day and there were days you didn't pick up, I could feel an insecurity in me bubble up thinking, oh, gosh, I'm bothering her. And she's thinking, let me move on with my life already. She wants me to get the hint. Can you? That's right. Can you please address that? Because I believe you when you say those things are helpful. But can you speak to the insecurities of the people on the other end?

Well, I think I think the first thing to recognize is if you think that the last mom in your life is ever thinking about anything other than her baby, you don't understand what's going on in her head because that is the only thing we are ever everything you'd have even on a good day. Even a roomful of other people. That is, number one.

You can't remind her that she lost her baby.

Again, we're having a good day and you make us cry. It's just part of the process. Like, I never, even if someone said something and ended up crying. I don't ever remember wishing that that person hadn't talked to me or reached out.

Yeah. And And honestly, even the even the people the well meaning people who said the wrong thing might have been hurtful in the moment, but those people were were long forgiven. It's the people who said nothing who To this day, I can recite you list. And I don't want anything to do with those people ever again, you know, the saying nothing is absolutely the most hurtful thing that you can do. And, you know, all you can do is be honest and say, I don't know what to say. I'm just so sorry that this happened to you. You know, I really appreciated the people who said, I'm angry that this happened to you, you know, I'm I'm heartbroken. Like kind of put voice to some of those emotions that early on. When I was in shock. I didn't feel like I had had a right to yet. You know, that was really helpful to me.

Yeah. You You don't even need to say the right words. You can just be the person they're listening. And rather than asking people what you can do for them, just do something. Say drop off the food. Because when you're in the middle of grief and shock, you don't know what you need help with, keep showing up because a month after you know, everyone else has moved on. It's the people who keep showing up. It's really okay to not know what to say. I'm not turning to you to fix my grief. You can't fix my baby's death. You don't have to worry about fixing anything. Just show up. Just show you care.

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I did a lot of gardening that spring I have gardens and it really like you said we came out of the winter into the spring and something came to life like my baby didn't but my garden came to life and I was reading and pruning and it was just, it was just, it was so good to see something have life

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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