One of the very few blessings of having experienced infertility, having a miscarriage, and experiencing the loss of our baby girl is the friendship I've gained with so many sweet and special moms who have also experienced infertility or who have angel babies. These special women have been such a blessing in my life and have helped me get through some of my darkest and saddest moments, and I am so incredibly grateful for that!
I'm always amazed by how many friends I've made and how many friendships have been deepened and strengthened by bonding over our similar feelings of loss and heartache. These friendships definitely helped us through our years of infertility and also my miscarriage, but they were especially important when we learned that our daughter had a condition that meant she would only live an hour or two after birth, at best. I learned of so many long-time friends who had experienced similar loss, and their understanding and wisdom were such a strength to me during those most difficult months.
Different Circumstances, Different Ways to Cope
I also met so many new friends who have also experienced loss, and having these shared experiences helped us to quickly build and strengthen our relationships. Talking with all of these amazing and strong women, I've noticed that each of my friends copes with her infertility or grieves the loss of her baby (or babies) in different ways, not only because the circumstances are often so much different, but also because that mom is different and needs to grieve in her own way.
Knowing this, I think it is so, so important that, as we try to help each other, we allow each other to grieve in our own way. While one mama might find comfort in counseling, another might find peace and comfort by writing in a journal. And while one mom might find it therapeutic to share her feelings and emotions through social media, another might find it most helpful to talk to one close friend. I've also noticed that the needs of a grieving mom can change from year to year, day to day, or even minute to minute.
Those needs can change slowly over a period of time (like I talked about in my post about celebrating our angel baby's birthday) as grief becomes a little less raw and overwhelming, or they can change based on how she feels that day. Because grief isn't a completely linear process—people do tend to get stronger every day, but there will always be days that are much harder than others. And on those days, emotions will be stronger and closer to the surface.
Ways of Grieving May Change
I met one of my friends a few months after the loss of her son (and a few months before our daughter's birth and death) and was so strengthened by the blog posts she wrote sharing her emotions and feelings. It was so nice to learn from her and to read her words because so many of her thoughts and feelings completely echoed my own thoughts and feelings. Then, when she lost another baby boy not much longer after the loss of her first angel baby, she decided she needed a little more privacy as she grieved this time. And I completely understood and respected that. I've tried to be open and share some of my feelings on social media, and I often talk to friends or family members when I'm feeling down, but there have also been many days when I just needed some time alone to grieve.
So if you're struggling with infertility or grieving the loss of your angel baby, I think it's so important to find the best way for you to grieve and cope with your loss. This might change from day to day and might include counseling, journaling, blogging, talking to a friend, or so many other things. And if you're trying to comfort and support someone who is struggling with infertility or coping with a loss, follow their lead and talk to them about how you can help them through this difficult time. Because our experiences and our feelings and our personalities are so different, our methods for coping with loss and heartache will also be different.
The "Over the Rainbow" series is for, and from, mothers who have lost their little ones or experienced infertility. We know this can be a very sensitive subject and is sometimes hard to talk about. We hope we are able to help others through these difficult experiences as we share our stories with you.
Featured Image PC: karliryanphoto
Written by: Angela Walston