In this post: A bereaved parent spotlight with a mom who has experienced miscarriage. Hear her look into child loss and glimpse into her grief journey.
A Look into Child Loss: Bereaved Parent Spotlight on A. Brown
Hello, A! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with miscarriage. I know it isn’t easy, but I know this gives a glimpse into the lives of bereaved parents for those who do not know what it’s like. I hope that this will encourage others to be more understanding, but also empower those who have been suffering through their grief in silence. Can you tell us what happened?
We had announced our pregnancy to everyone. We were so excited, and surprised. We had to try for quite awhile to get pregnant with our first and second daughters. So when we became pregnant with our third, unexpectedly, we were shocked and thrilled.
After weaning off of depression medications, my withdrawal symptoms finally stopped, and the very next day, I lost our baby. It was March of 2017.
How did your daughters react?
Our two daughters were (just turned) 3 years old and 7 years old. That morning is such a blur. I had spent all night in the ER, with robot-like doctors who had zero bedside manner. Our youngest didn’t quite understand that there was no longer going to be a baby coming. Our 7-year-old was devastated after we told her that the baby had gone to be with Jesus.
She screamed and sobbed, “It isn’t fair! It isn’t fair!” And I cried right along with her, as did my husband. Truth be told, I felt the same way in that moment.
That’s a real Psalm-like moment of honesty crying out to God. Thank you for sharing that. That must have been so tough to see your girls’ heartache on top of your own. Did you name your baby?
We did. I had been thinking about the name Bethany since I found out we were expecting, because it’s sprinkled throughout the Bible and it’s pretty. After we lost her, my three-year-old saw a baby in the sky. We could tell by how persistent she was that this was not pretending. She saw a baby in the clouds the morning after I lost our baby. “Mama, there’s a baby up there. Right there! She looks like me!” That told us our baby was a girl. I had no doubt in my mind or heart.
Then my 7-year-old said, “I think her name should be Bethany Rose, Mommy. We all love the name Bethany, and she’s beautiful and sweet like a rose.” We talk about her often. It’s always sweet to hear her name.
Oh, that’s so sweet that your other girls were involved in naming her! And Bethany Rose is a beautiful name! How do you answer people who ask you how many children you have?
My response is always–because I don’t care how awkward it makes people feel–”Two on earth and one in heaven.”
I think many people who have not been through child loss don’t understand how strange it is that they can talk about their children without thinking about it, but it’s completely different for bereaved parents. We do the mental calisthenics of “How is this person going to respond my answer? Do I have time to explain when they have questions? What if they don’t have questions? What happens when they’re just another person who stops talking to me once they hear my loss?” It can be a lot.
I love that you share your answer anyway, no matter how awkward it may make others, because it is the truth. We need to be willing to go through the uncomfortable, difficult things with others. That shows we care. Were you able to find others you could relate to and receive support?
There were many people I could go to, but oftentimes I felt as though I would just bring people down. So I dealt with a lot of my pain by writing, and keeping to myself.
Did anyone else share their story of loss with you?
I had an overwhelming–in a wonderful way–number of people come forward and tell me their stories of loss. I was blown away. I had no idea that many of these women had gone through this. It helped me not feel alone.
Where do other children fit into your story?
We’ve been trying for just over a year, with no luck. I’m not sure a rainbow baby is in our future. We’re giving it to God. He knows what is best for us. During this time of waiting, I know God is good, but my depression has been in full swing. And since we lost Bethany, I haven’t been back on medications for it. I won’t risk having the same complications again.
You mention that you’re giving it to God. How has your faith played a role in your grief journey with your Bethany Rose?
I remember looking up at the sky, in the parking lot after my D&C [a surgical procedure used to remove tissue from inside the uterus after a miscarriage], and asking “Where are You? I don’t understand this.” But I know He was protecting me, and would never wish pain on me. Protecting me from what, I’m not sure yet, but I know that one day I’ll find out.
Yes. Some day a lot of things will make sense, but it isn’t always easy in the meantime. Keep leaning on Him. Were you surprised to learn that pregnancy and infant loss affects 1 out of every 4 women?
Very. I didn’t realize it was so common.
And yet it’s a social taboo. Not everyone will remember to say Bethany’s name, or that October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, but people will have their own version of advice. What is the worst advice or comment you received after Bethany’s passing?
As true as it might be, I HATED hearing, “Everything happens for a reason.” Or, “At least you already have two children.” Made my blood boil.
In conclusion, what would you like others to know?
She existed. Please don’t forget about her. Acknowledging her means the world to me, her father, and her sisters.
Listen to this mother’s heart as she gives you a look into child loss. What most bereaved parents want is for their child to be remembered. Say their name. Ask to hear about them. Give them the opportunity to talk OR not talk about what happened. Just be there.