The next several months were full of doctor’s appointments and not much else for me. I enjoyed the fact that I could be home with Jude and go through my emotions alone. I did go to San Diego to visit a friend, and it ended up being a huge blessing that we scheduled it when we did, because it was right before Covid hit hard in the US and right before the March shutdown. We took pics of my baby bump at the beach, and that was the first time I posted and shared that I wasn’t going to hide this pregnancy on social media. At first, the main reason I stayed in was that I didn’t want people to approach me about my growing baby bump. I didn’t want people who didn’t know about Prudence’s diagnosis to congratulate me or ask questions about the pregnancy, and I didn’t want people who knew what was going on to approach me and have to answer them in public when I was just trying to get groceries or pick up mail, or whatever. But after lots of thoughts and prayers about it, I decided to be open and share my experiences. So I created a Caring Bridge website that I used to update a select group of our friends and family on doctor’s appointments, how I was feeling, and ultimately Prudence’s birth and then shortly thereafter, her death. I’m not going to copy and paste everything I shared on that website here, but if you would like to read it or share with someone you think it might help, please comment below, and I’ll send you the link and grant you access to Prudence’s private page.
If you or someone you know is going through a similar situation, here a few things I would recommend that helped me.
- If you know someone who is experiencing a pregnancy or infant loss, ask them how you can support them. Please don’t be afraid to talk to them about their baby. Chances are they will be relieved you opened the door to discussion of their precious one. Here’s what I shared on Caring Bridge about this just couple of weeks before Prudence was born.
Right now I’m reading about the stages of grief… of course it’s different for everyone, but I noticed a common theme that I wanted to share with you all. I know you’re here because you care, and you want to do what you can to help us get through this. So here’s the deal. We want to talk about Prudence. We want to share her with you. Regardless of how long we have her, she’s our child, and we want to celebrate her life and the miracle that she is! So please don’t be afraid to ask about her, even after she is born and passes. Of course I have absolutely no idea what frame of mind I will be in at that time. Right now it still seems impossible that I am going to have to face her death so soon after her birth. No matter how many books I read or prayers I send up, I don’t think I will ever be prepared for that. But either way, I don’t want to be the mom I read about today who went to coffee with a friend shortly after losing her baby, and wasn’t even asked about her! She said it was like her friends wanted to pretend it didn’t happen so she didn’t have to be sad. But it IS sad, and it will continue to be sad, and we can’t pretend it isn’t happening, nor do we want to pretend that we didn’t go through it. All this to say, we love our dear Prudence, and we want to celebrate her, and will do so for as long as we can. So please don’t be afraid to congratulate us on her birth, or to ask about her once she’s gone. She’s our little girl and always will be, and we will continue to love her and want to share her.
- Only share if/when you want to. This is your journey, and you don’t need to accommodate or please anyone else right now. Do what’s best for YOU. Period.
- Get the book, A Gift of Time: Continuing Your Pregnancy When Your Baby’s Life Is Expected to Be Brief by Amy Kuebelbeck and Deborah L. Davis. It’s not easy to read, but it is a big help to hear from others who have gone through this (and survived it).
- Talk to someone. Whether it be your pastor, a genetic counselor, a palliative care nurse, a therapist, or any combination of the above. Get help. You will need it. I used all of these resources regularly, and I honestly think that’s why I am healed enough to be writing this today.
- Don’t make big life-altering decisions right now, *but* don’t be afraid to consider how precious life is, and take the time to examine yours. This experience is one I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, but I learned and grew, and made some huge shifts in my life that are proving to be exactly what I needed all along. No one knows how short life is more than someone in your shoes. Don’t waste that lesson.
- Make time for yourself to heal and grieve. If you have already been through this and didn’t have the support you needed, GET IT NOW! It is never too late to seek counselling or other types of grief support. My heart goes out to all of you who have reached out to me and shared that you wish you had shared your story at the time and been able to heal and grieve the way I am. To you lovely, amazing mothers, it’s not too late. You deserve to mourn and grieve and be comforted, no matter how long ago you lost your baby. Please get the support you need. Reach out to me anytime if you want to talk. My door is always open for you. ❤️