Women speak up during Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month

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With March being Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month, women across the country took to social media to share their stories.

March of Dimes, Pregnancy after Loss Support and other organizations celebrate “rainbow babies” or “sunshine babies” that come after a miscarriage, stillbirth or other death of a child.

March was declared Pregnancy after Loss Awareness month for Minnesota in 2012, accompanied by this statement by Pregnancy after Loss Support:

“We encourage you to join us throughout the month, and specifically on March 15th, as we spread awareness about the courageous struggle of the mom pregnant again after a loss.”

March 25 in particular is known as Say Their Name Day. Using the hashtag #saytheirnameday, mothers posted memorials of their children, commented the name of their future child, and supported their fellow grieving parents.

Screenshot of comments from pregnancylosssupportcanada’s post commorating Say Their Name Day.(courtesy of @pregnancylosssupportcanada)
Screenshot of comments from pregnancylosssupportcanada’s post commorating Say Their Name Day. (courtesy of @pregnancylosssupportcanada)

Tamara Bell, a mother in Lehi, Utah, shared her experiences with eight pregnancies and five living children. Bell experienced her first miscarriage before her oldest child, then suffered two more after the birth of her second child. Her second miscarriage was late stage.

“What makes late stage miscarriages hard is if you say you have a stillborn people know what that means and their heart goes out. If you say that you’ve had a miscarriage, (they think) well, everyone’s had a miscarriage,” she said.

In 2004, Bell miscarried but had to deliver a baby boy. She explained that once people understood that she still delivered her child and got to hold him, only then did people’s compassion and understanding follow. The hospital, however, provided a loving and supportive atmosphere for the grieving parents.

“They had this group come in … that comes with babies lost in the hospital, and they had this little crocheted blanket they wrapped him up in and cleaned him up. So we were able to spend a few hours with him … and they did little casts of his feet and his hands … He looked like (my oldest son). He was tiny, only eight inches and 15 ounces, but he still looked like him,” she said.

Brad and Tamara Bell are in the hospital with their baby boy. January 17 marked 20 years to the day since they lost him. (Image courtesy of Tamara Bell)

After burying their child, the Bells had to deal with the emotional trauma that follows a miscarriage. She said her milk came in, and they had to decide how much to share with their loved ones.

She lost the following pregnancy, marking her third miscarriage. At that point, Bell already had two living children, but she and her husband, Brad, knew they wanted a bigger family.

“That was almost as hard just because I had just gone through this other loss and I was like, am I going to be able to have any more kids? … even though I was only eight weeks when we lost that one … I was a friggin’ hot mess,” Bell said.

Bell was grateful for a supportive doctor that listened to her fears and went above and beyond to make sure everything was okay when she became pregnant again with her third living child. She was encouraged to come in for a check-up every two weeks rather than the standard four.

“I was blessed to have an incredible doctor that handled it so beautifully and just validated all my feelings … some doctors can be a little callous because they see it all the time,” Bell said.

The main difference in twenty years from 2004 to 2024 is social media and communication. Bell said her biggest regret was the lack of a support group.

“I think women are doing a better job now talking about it than in my day. But I can’t tell you the relief I would have when I would talk to someone that had been through it and had kids,” she said.

Websites, social media accounts and hashtags have connected mourning women despite physical distances. This March, women continue to spread awareness and support for all manner of pregnancy loss.

“For all women that have gone through or will go through it there is hope. Your heart will heal, just give it time and give it to the Savior as best as you can … I wish I could go back and tell (my younger self) she is strong and will get through it … but I can’t. However, I can tell those words of wisdom to the younger generation,” Bell said.

Attached below are links to supportive organizations and articles:

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