A Wave of Light – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

I don’t often talk about my own experience with miscarriage. I’ve had three in total, and each has hit me hard. When I was growing up, I didn’t want children. I saw myself as career-driven, wanting to make a difference to the world, and I thought kids were annoying and got in the way of life. But it wasn’t long after my 20th birthday that I realized how much I wanted to have children of my own.

Part of it was that I was diagnosed with PCOS, a condition which can make you infertile. I was told that having kids without assistance was going to be next to impossible for me. When someone tells you that, you can’t help but immediately feel defensive. You want to prove them wrong. And that was exactly how I felt.

Group of burning candles on black background.

My miscarriages all happened in the course of about four years. I was “lucky” in some ways because with all three of them, they happened before I officially knew I was pregnant. One of the problems associated with PCOS is that you don’t have regular periods. So when mine were late, I thought absolutely nothing of it. It was only when the pain and the bleeding were worse than normal that I went to the doctor and confirmed what I thought might be true.

My first two happened around 6 weeks into the pregnancies. Because I didn’t know I was pregnant, I had no real anticipation or hopes before the diagnoses. While it was a shock and a huge disappointment, it wasn’t something that I felt I could talk about or share my feelings on. There were women who had lost babies they knew about. They were farther along than I was. They had more to lament. I felt selfish and stupid for being disappointed.

My third miscarriage happened around 8 – 10 weeks. I had felt something was wrong for a week or two, and I wanted to verify what I thought might be happening. I was too afraid to tell my husband, so I went to a different doctor than usual and had a test done. He confirmed a positive pregnancy test, but by that point, I was already beginning to bleed. I was sent for an ultrasound which confirmed that I had a blighted ovum. The doctors referred to it as a “missed miscarriage.”

I was devastated. By this point, my then-husband and I had not been actively trying for a baby, but we had decided to stop trying to prevent a pregnancy and leave it up to chance. I was ready to become a mother, and this loss felt unbearable. But I decided once again to keep my feelings to myself.

Losing a child at any stage is painful. It can break your spirit, and the grief is overwhelming.

Eventually, I remarried and went on to have two healthy pregnancies and births. When my second son was a year old, I began to fear I was once again dealing with another loss. I’d been breastfeeding for nearly a year, and I hadn’t yet had my period return, so when it came back, I knew I’d have to start taking precautions against getting pregnant again. When my next course was due, I found that I was late.

I took a test, which was positive, but almost immediately, I began bleeding again. My flow was heavy, and I had terrible pain. I assumed I had lost the baby, and I went immediately into grief mode. I told my husband, and he was supportive, but he didn’t really understand. How could he? I cried, but I tried to tell myself it was too early for another baby anyway.

Just as I’d started to accept the loss, the bleeding stopped as quickly as it’d come. Further tests all came back positive, each clearer than the last. Digital tests showed a surge in hormones, and I knew that meant I was still pregnant. A doctor’s visit confirmed it, and when I asked about the bleeding, she said that it could have been anything from random bleeding to an early miscarriage of a twin. There was no way of knowing for sure.

I went on to have two more healthy baby boys, and I am grateful for them every day. But my heart knows that I have more babies in heaven, and I can’t forget them in my prayers.

Throughout my pregnancies, I feared losing my babies. And once they were born, I feared even more. My brother died of SIDS at three months old, and my whole life has been colored by that loss. I was the rainbow baby born after he had died.

Losing a child is the greatest agony I can imagine. I have friends and family members who have had their children die, and it is a loss greater than anyone should bear. It is a constant sorrow they carry with them forever.

So it is with them and all of us in mind that October 15th has become Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. The goal is for anyone who has ever been affected to light a candle at 7pm local time. Leave it lit for one hour in remembrance of those angels we have lost. By doing so, it will create a constant wave of light around the world that lasts the whole day.

To all of you who may be affected, you are in my thoughts today. All those who feel alone – know that you are not forgotten.

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  1. I cried reading this. It has been 7 years since I lost my one and only chance at having my own child. We were never expected to get pregnant, and I was over the moon to have defied the odds and naturally got pregnant with twins. I lost the first one at 22 weeks (we named her Alana – “beautiful dear child”), which was heartbreaking. But we told ourselves we still had our saving Grace. She was born sleeping six weeks later. I had to have a full hysterectomy after this trauma, which was enough to make me suicidal. My heart still feels broken, and I don’t know how to get past it. I pray to the good Lord above to take my pain away so that I can live life fully and tell my babies all about it when I reach them in Heaven. I want to live the life they never got. But I can’t help but wallow in my own misery. My marriage ended because I couldn’t get over what happened to us. My ex husband and I haven’t spoken in four years because it is too hard. I just keep praying for mercy from the Almighty to bring me peace. I would never take my life because I want to see my babies in Heaven. But I pray every day that God either takes my pain away or takes me up to be with my angels.

    1. I am so so so sorry to read this, Nella. I would urge you to contact your doctor and get in contact with a grief counselor or someone you can trust to help you to recover. Seven years is too long a time to feel so desolate. We all grieve in our own ways, and I know time can’t magically heal us – but we can learn to cope with our grief with help. Putting yourself in god’s hands may help you feel better, but remember that he helps those who help themselves. You must reach out for strength if yours is ebbing. I have emailed you my contact details in case you need to talk to someone. Please please know that there is help out there. I’m sending you so much love right now.

  2. It is not only a mother’s loss when a baby’s life is ended. I wish there were more articles written for fathers who have lost their children. I have been heartbroken by my wife’s miscarriages. We are lucky to have two very healthy children now, but each loss was hard on us both. It is okay for a man to cry over a lost life. Especally when it is his own child.

    1. David – thank you so much for sharing this. It is true that there is no gender gap when it comes to the grief of losing one’s child. I am so sorry for what you and your wife have gone through, and I hope that you have been able to find happiness in the two beautiful babies you have been blessed with.

  3. Such a wonderful post. I will be lighting a candle for my grandson.

    And if you read this Nella please do as the author suggests and reach out for help. you deserve to have closure. You don’t have to cope alone darling.


  4. A brilliant post. I have PCOS and was also told by a very uncaring doctor I would probably struggle to get pregnant. However I have now been told that actually that isn’t the case anymore and I’m no more or less likely to get pregnant than anyone else. I can’t imagine the loss of loosing a child, and you’re right it’s one of those subjects that isn’t kinda dealt with. It’s a little awkward. I know a couple of people who are struggling to get pregnant, and have had miscarriages. When I see them I want to ask how they are, if there’s any news? but then I worry by doing so I am over stepping a line and so I don’t and then worry that they think I don’t care! Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

  5. Such a beautiful and informative post.Being pregnant is really exciting, and having a baby is the most amazing thing that can happen in our lives.

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