Grief

Why Announcing Your Pregnancy Before 13 Weeks Is Okay Too

For decades, women have been told to wait until the end of the first trimester before announcing their pregnancies. After thirteen weeks, the chances of miscarriage decrease dramatically and you can avoid the awkwardness comes with having to inform everyone that you are “no longer pregnant” if you lose the baby.

This is one of the main rationals behind this advice.

And I hate it.

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Parenting & Pregnancy After Loss

“Mommy, what if baby doesn’t come out in October?”

We were in the car, on our way to a routine pregnancy check-up when I heard the little voice pipe up from the backseat. At nearly 35 weeks pregnant, we’d been talking a lot about the baby that was due to arrive in a month’s time. My son had accompanied me to each prenatal appointment, listening to the heartbeat and watching my belly grow. With his head pressed up tightly against my stomach, he’d talk and whisper to his little sister, kiss her good-night, and eagerly count down the time until her arrival. There was no doubt that our entire family was eagerly awaiting the birth of this little one.

From the driver’s seat of the car, I smiled. We’d had a conversation about birthdays earlier and I assumed that this was where his question was coming from. I snuck a glance at him through the rear-view mirror, noting the thoughtful expression on his face. “Baby will definitely come by October,” I replied cheerfully. “The doctors won’t let her stay in longer than that.”

“Unless she goes to be with Jesus first.”

My heart skipped a beat.

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Pregnant Mama, Take the Belly Picture

Dear Pregnant Mama, take the belly picture.

You just peed on a little white stick and watched two solid, pink lines appear from the nothingness. You’re barely five weeks along but there’s a child growing within your womb, a little bit of your DNA mashed into an ever-growing and dividing clump of cells.

You place your hand tenderly against your stomach and feel nothing but skin and a little bloat. There’s no evidence that this little one is here. Your stomach muscles have yet to stretch and give way to the life within. Everything is seemingly the same, and only you know it’s all begun to change.

And so, you feel silly asking your partner to take a belly picture. It seems strange to stand sideways against the wall and take a picture of “nothing.” You tell yourself that you have time.

But sadly, not all of us do.

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A Letter to My Husband After A Pregnancy Loss

Last year, while working on a book about pregnancy loss, I had the privilege of interviewing over thirty, fellow, grieving mothers.

A few of the questions I asked revolved around marriage and how relationships with a spouse or partner had been affected by loss. Almost all of the mothers commented on the differences in grieving style — how men and women process and release their grief in such unique and sometimes confusing ways. We don’t always understand the other’s grief, but I was equally encouraged by the many women who shared how their marriage was strengthened and encouraged throughout this time. We found this to be true in our experience too — these differences can ultimately be our strength.

So this letter was written for the marriages in the midst of grief: those still struggling to understand each other and yet, fiercely fighting for something that is so-very-worth-fighting-for.  Continue reading

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